Saturday, 10 May 2008

Internet killed the Radio Star

Radio6am, I awake to the BBC World Service radio broadcast (88.9MHz FM). I get 5 minutes of world news, then Newshour (lasting 55mins if you are counting). It's what you would expect from the BBC and is old-school world news: disasters, the UN, plane crashes. Intended for a global audience, you do have to suffer such explanations as "the British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown" but occasionally you get gems like a piece on road tolls where they decided to survey "black cab drivers". Sunday morning you get 30min of From Our Own Correspondent which tends to be more insightful and off-beat.

Technology though is creating some amazing opportunities. Years ago, I used to listen to Virgin Radio (pop music) and BBC R4 (for intelligent conversation). Then I dropped Virgin in favour of iTunes where I have about 50 days worth of music on random access without adverts. Now I'm dropping R4 in favour of podcasts and Internet streaming radio. I briefly dallied with the Listen Again feature for things like I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue but I tend to forget and kept missing episodes.

The Today podcasts keep me in touch with the core UK political scene and I like Melvyn Bragg's In Our Time. Then I have all the technology, business and language podcasts which I can put on the iPod if I want, or just listen to in batches as the mood takes me. I've no idea what Singapore radio sounds like but I think they are all commercial stations and I no longer suffer adverts.