Happy Birthday BBC – The Listeners Archive

Forgot to say Happy Birthday BBC – a stately 90 as of a week or so ago – and with all the Savile & DLT stuff (sadly used as a hammer to beat the Beeb with by Murdoch et al as revenge for Levenson & Hackgate) it seems rather muted celebration. Apart from a song by Demon from Blur (woo! err…) there hasn’t been much about it.

That changed this week with two shows about the Listeners’ Archive. The BBC had an ‘amnesty day’ (as if it’s like guns or knives!) for tapes of BBC radio shows back in October  – and uncovered recordings going back to the 1940s, which unlike nowadays where everything is recorded/podcasted etc. a lot of shows weren’t preserved and it’s a rare resource. I hope BBC takes better care of it than they have their archive previously. Nice that Trevor Dann was behind this, he’s one of the Beeb that got podcasting too, met him at a Podcamp aeons ago.

So for the first time in about 2+ decades I listened to a Radio 2 show (I listen to all the other numbers but Radio 2 is verboten from my dial, err, iPlayer) as well as waking up to the 6Music Listeners’ Archive music show. There was plenty of Peel, and even some Kuddly Kenny Everett, Chris Morris’s evil take on Tony Blackburn, and I’d forgotten about the likes of Jack Jackson whose cutups were very much copied by the likes of Jon Holmes and was always on Radio 2 last time I listened, and Chris Evans’s first R1 Breakfast show which I remember listening to. Also Gert & Daisy & Max Miller – OMG!

As you might have guess by the name and many blog posts over the years I’m a complete radio geek, I don’t own a television but I still listen every day. And still record radio and keep shows to answer the comment at the end of the R2 show. It might not be cassettes and microphones now, but get_iplayer and other related systems make it far easier to keep the BBC legacy for future years. Because Auntie might be brilliant, but like any 90-year old Auntie she does seem to lose and forget her marbles, well, shows.

Amazing that even shows back in the 90s weren’t recorded, whereas I hear now there is an open source system that records everything put out in real time. About time! Let’s hope it continues (I’m not holding my breath).

(image from profilebrand.com)

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Tim B Written by:

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