This is the first of two articles about the BBC World Service. I spent some time working there, and it features in my new book Radio’s Legacy in Popular Culture. The second part of this online mini-series is published in June 2022. You can sign up for an e-mail alert by clicking the blue "subscribe" … Continue reading The BBC century: the World Service and the Cold War – part 1 of 2
This article is part of a regular series of monthly features about the joys of radio. However, this edition brings details of a warning from the early days of British radio. It's from 1931, when the BBC's broadcast headquarters was a series of rooms on the upper floors of a back-street building down by the … Continue reading 100 Years of Radio: When it all goes wrong – a broadcaster’s fear of failure
The BBC – and radio in Britain – is now celebrating its centenary. But almost from the start the official broadcasters: initially the BBC then later the commercial ILR companies fretted about competition from pirate stations. First there was home-made equipment in the 1930s, then in the 1960s we had the offshore pirates, and from … Continue reading 100 Years of British Radio: Why do we love the pirates so much?
Click this image to see a sample chapter The BBC has, throughout its one hundred years, had a delicate relationship with politicians and governments. From the standpoint of early 2022 that sentence may seem to be something of an understatement. Let me fill in some historical context, and explain how I've been researching other ways … Continue reading The BBC at 100: how the Corporation, Auntie Beeb, is talked about
It’s a question that I’ve been considering for some time. My research has taken me into music and film archives. I’ve walked around art galleries, as well as browsed along library shelves. Click on the book cover to read a preview of my work. So, what does go through our minds when we switch on … Continue reading So, what do you think about – when you turn on your radio?
Martin Cooper. So, after forty years in the broadcast media business, including two decades teaching young journalists about the arts of the trade, I’m still finding that I have to explain what “writing” has to do with “radio”. Over the course of listening to hundreds of hours of BBC and commercial radio output for my … Continue reading Writing for radio: it’s what we do…
In this series of articles so far I’ve considered what BBC radio producers, presenters, and TV editors have thought about their audiences. The people they’ve been broadcasting to for a century who’ve sat there quietly listening and watching this stuff every day. Were they ever even listening or actually paying attention? Since radio’s earliest days … Continue reading Broadcasting into the void… (part four)
Parts 1 and 2 in this series of articles are about how the BBC appeared to spend the early part of last century not really knowing who was listening to the radio and why. You can read both parts here and here. In this episode Charlie Harper of the punk band the UK Subs rubs … Continue reading Broadcasting into the void… (part three)
This is a series of articles about what broadcasters think of their audiences. In part one I established that, probably, radio producers haven’t really got much of a clue. In fact, some of what they do has been based on guesswork – for almost one hundred years. You can read that first article here - … Continue reading Broadcasting into the void… (part two)
One reason why I like listening to the radio is that - more often than not - it’ll offer me something I’ve not heard before. That's particularly true in the realm of popular music. So, these are some notes from the archives – past echoes reverberating in these curious times. This article, and the one … Continue reading Broadcasting into the void… (part one)