Friday, 22 January 2010

Why Radio One just isn't poptastic any more

As I seem to spend most of my spare time driving teenagers around, I get exposed quite a lot to stations on the wireless playing the music of popular beat combos. In these parts there are really only three options - BBC Radio Wiltshire, Heart FM and BBC Radio 1.

Radio Wiltshire we can dismiss straight away, as they aim at an older audience. So here's the thing. Neither Radio 1 nor Heart really make the grade, so we end up with the teenagers irritatingly flipping between the two with goldfish attention span regularity. This cannot go on. One of them needs to pull their musical socks up before I am driven round the bend.

The problem with Heart is that their music buying budget is about 10p and their taste is fixed in the 1980s. So often we suffer 80s disco monstrosities. When they do pick up something new, they play it over and over. And they only really like it if, like Charlene Spiteri's Xanadu, it is indistinguishable from an old track. (Actually, I think the play the Olivia Newton John track, as it's cheaper, but no one can tell the difference. Why on earth did they think this song was worth covering with an identical rendition? It was terrible to start with.) The teenage verdict - the music is rubbish.

So we flip over the Radio 1... and someone is talking. You can guarantee this. There's more speech on Radio 1 than on Radio 4. When they do play music there are interesting new bands and the tracks the teenage passengers really want to hear, but most of the time this station can't be bothered with the music. That's because the DJs on Radio 1 think they are celebrities, and we want to hear them drivelling on about themselves. No we don't, and more specifically, no my teenage audience don't. They'd rather listen to the adverts on Heart than yet another Radio 1 DJ rabitting on.

So here's the challenge. Either Heart get some decent music (and change your playlist more than once a fortnight), or Radio 1 sack all your self-centred DJs and get some (cheaper) people who concentrate on playing the music. Now, please. Teenagers have no patience.

Just to really make your day, here is the original Xanadu. Hands up if you can tell the difference:


  1. Brian - be a man. Stand up for yourself. It's your car. You should dictate what gets played. In Caroline eVolvo the choice is between Deep Purple's 2005 album 'Rapture of the Deep', or 'Ghost' by Dana Kerstein. Or nothing.

  2. Just wait until your two are nearly 16...

  3. I was quite dismayed on a visit back to the UK a few years ago when I realised that all my favourite songs are now on Radio 2. Oh, the horror!

  4. Oh yes, Cath, the migration of the catalogue from Radio 1 to Radio 2 is inexorable. But 16-ish-year-olds' heads explode if they listen to Radio 2. It's scientific fact.

  5. dad you will have to put up with us untill you by us a car each !

  6. dad you will have to put up with us untill you by us a car each !