Tuesday, January 17, 2012

My own downward spiral of listening enjoyment...

Bob, your comments over the years about BBC Radio 3 have always resonated strongly with me and I don’t even live in the UK. They have great relevance to my own downward spiral of listening enjoyment of CBC Radio 2 (in Canada), and I share Scott’s sentiments (in the previous post on this subject). One used to be able to learn something from CBC Radio 2 programming; now it’s some bimbo who self-identifies as “the girl with the hair in the chair” and whose pithy commentary is pretty well limited to “ewwwwww, doesn’t that send chills up your spine?”. (To be fair, the IQ rises 20 points for two hours afterwards with another host, and on Saturday and Sunday.)

I am most grateful for your flogging this issue as I am sure there must be at least one producer at the CBC who reads your blog. Let the hills echo with the sounds of complaining. Radio 3 and Radio 2, in the UK and Canada respectively, have lost their way. Clearly people aren’t listening, in Britten’s sense and as reflected in audience numbers.

Best, Tom Hogan [Disclaimer: I have no association with the CBC or any broadcast entity.]

P.S. Before pressing SEND, I can't resist asking you what Norman thinks about all this.........?
Tom, many thanks for that email. There can only be two possible explanations for the resounding silence elsewhere on this topic. Either other commentators are in complete agreement with the direction that classical radio stations are taking. Or the commentators are not prepared to bite the hand that feeds them. From my own point of view it is wonderful being retired because your pension provider cannot fire you. All of which reminds us yet again of the insidious power of the classical radio stations.

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3 comments:

Mark Berry said...

This commentator certainly is not in agreement with the path Radio 3 has taken, which is why, with considerable regret, he listens to the station far less often than was once the case. I remember as a schoolboy learning so much from it, whether from the broadcasts, other programmes including the interval talks (whose topic might well have nothing to do with the concert, but be of interest in its own, often quirky, right) and even by perusing the listings in the Radio Times. Indeed, it was on the suggestion of my music teacher that I persuaded my parents that we should take the Radio Times. The banal 'chat' that passes for conversation, let alone discussion, drives me mad; the insistence upon concerts fitting slots, rather than the other way round, is reprehensible.

Yes, as in all things, there is a very good case for some programmes catering to the uninitiated, but by the same token, why should everything be immediately 'accessible' to everyone? If I am to approach a subject about which I know nothing, for instance, quantum mechanics, I should try to begin at the beginning, but should never expect or insist that every programme or every book would do likewise. Part of the impulse to explore further is an encounter with something one does not immediately 'understand'. What goes for mechanices goes for Schoenberg. And even at beginners' level, perhaps especially at that level, there is absolutely no need for the broadcaster to patronise.

Pliable said...

Mark, many thanks for that and I can only echo your experience of "I remember as a schoolboy learning so much from it, whether from the broadcasts, other programmes including the interval talks (whose topic might well have nothing to do with the concert, but be of interest in its own, often quirky, right) and even by perusing the listings in the Radio Times".

When will they ever learn?

I should also add that Mark writes the widely read and influential Boulezian blog - http://boulezian.blogspot.com/

Pliable said...

Via Facebook from Antony Pitts: Mr Berry (and anyone else) might like to listen to 'Bach and the Art of Bee-keeping' on BBCRadio3 on Sunday 29 January 7.45-8.35pm - which touches on both quantum mechanics and Schoenberg...
http://www.goldenradio.co.uk/sounds/trails/BatAoBkTRAIL.mp3
http://www.bbc.co.uk/mediacentre/proginfo/2012/05/bach-art-bee-keeping.html