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Melodies For You to end - August 2011
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Andy W



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PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2011 6:02 pm    Post subject: Melodies For You to end - August 2011 Reply with quote

The BBC have announced that Alan Titchmarsh is to step down from Melodies for You and that the programme itself will end on Sunday 28 August.

Alan Titchmarsh will continue to present on the network and the station is currently in discussions with him about presenting a series on operetta and hosting a run of Friday Night Is Music Night the world's longest-running live music performance programme celebrating 60 years of the BBC Concert Orchestra, both in 2012.

The last show will be broadcast on Sunday 28 August. In the short term in that timeslot, listeners will hear a variety of new commissions, as well as another chance to listen to some of Radio 2's classic series. On Sunday 4 September, the network will present an exclusive programme featuring singing legend Barbra Streisand in conversation with Oscar-winning lyricist Don Black. Recorded in Los Angeles this month, Barbra talks about her illustrious career as well as her new album.

Other series to be broadcast in the next few months include Barry Manilow's They Write The Songs which includes episodes on Gershwin, Irving Berlin, Rodgers And Hammerstein and Leonard Bernstein, Tony Bennett's Great American Songbook, The Bob Hope Trail, and The Alan and Marilyn Bergman Story featuring their music from classic movies and Broadway hits. In the longer term, Controller of Radio 2 Bob Shennan will be looking at opportunities to increase the audience to this range of music across the network.

Bob says: "I'd like to thank Alan for his contribution to Sunday nights for the past four and half years, and I'm delighted that Radio 2 will continue to work with him in the future.

"This was a tough decision but, with Alan's contract coming up for renewal, I am taking the opportunity to review the way that Radio 2 presents popular classic and light music, to make sure we bring it to the widest possible audience in a way that best delivers value for money. I know that many listeners enjoy popular classic and light music, so we will initially broadcast some classic series on Sunday evenings while we look at further ways of celebrating the music on the network."

Alan said: "Its very sad as Melodies For You has always had a very loyal listenership who clearly cherish the programme, and I'd like to thank them for their steadfast support during the past four and a half years. However, I'm heartened the music will continue to be broadcast on Radio 2 and Im looking forward to working on other programmes on the network."

Melodies For You features a mix of popular classic and light music and over the years has been presented by Richard Baker, Brian Kay and Sheridan Morley as well as Alan.


http://www.bbc.co.uk/pressoffice/pressreleases/stories/2011/08_august/18/melodies.shtml
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Helen May



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PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2011 7:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh I'm very sorry to hear that Andy. I've listened from when he first took over.

I had the pleasure of meeting Alan in our local bookstore a couple of months before it started. He had done a show over the Christmas/New Year Holiday and asked if he was going to do another one as I often listened to the recording I made. His very words to me were "Well you won't need to listen to your recording after Christmas as I'll be doing the show every Sunday and you are the first person I've told!"

Apart from Alan leaving, it's a shame that Melodies For You is coming to an end. I've found it rather pleasant to listen to in part for more years than I care to remember.

H
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littlepieces



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PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2011 7:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A friend of mine has worked with Alan and says that he is a really nice guy
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Nickbucks



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PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2011 7:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Another stupid decision by Shennan as another specialist music on R2 programme bites the dust. I drive a lomg distance on Sunday evenings and MFY made for pleasant listening while sitting in the regular traffic jams on the M40. I am too old for R1, and R3 is too heavy going. I hope Classic FM seize the opportunity and introduce a programme of light classical music and film scores in this time slot.
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MadeinSurrey



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PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2011 7:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bang goes another one of the VERY few shows I listen to on R2. What is wrong with these people? They are clearly out of touch with what we want, but then since when did TPTB at R2 care. Very sad.
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ColinB
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2011 8:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I know what's wrong with BBC senior management - they're all thick (whether or not they're Oxbridge educated).

The story over the last couple of days is that the corporation is now considering "slimming down" (what does that mean, precisely?) BBC4 - one of the few BBC TV channels I actually value - in favour of putting more resources into BBC3. No, I can't work that one out either.

What's a mystery to me is that the BBC is slowly chopping away those programmes that are out of the ordinary and which don't pander to today's fashion for blandness and celebrity-focused mediocrity without really considering which age group is now in the majority.

Thank heavens for online media.
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littlepieces



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PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2011 8:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree about BBC4 they have some good stuff.Melodies for you is not my cup of tea but from old MB's and here i know it's quite popular
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FleetingEileenM



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PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2011 10:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The thing I like about Melodies for You is that Alan plays such a wide variety of items. There's no other programme in which you could hear light classical, operetta, show songs, comedy songs, older popular music, monologues etc, none bearing any relation to the next.

I've heard old familiar records from way back as well as music new to me but often hugely enjoyable.

I have emailed Radio 2 to express my disappointment. It won't make any difference to the current decision but at least I'm making my feelings known and if enough people do the same it just might influence future plans.
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ruddlescat



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PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2011 10:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd like to see the show replaced by a programme playing proper decent classical music or by an out and out rock show which for years has been lacking on Radio 2

Having said that I think that Alan Titchmarsh is a very competent and knowledgeable presenter of whom there are currently a diminishing number on the network so I hope his talents can be used elsewhere as has been promised

The suggested replacement output does appear rather mediocre so I'm certain it will still be the Double Top Ten Show for me at that time on Sunday evenings
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Helen May



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PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2011 10:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Classical music already has a station - Radio 3. Alan's show is light classics, the melodic parts that many people know and light music that isn't heard elsewhere on Radio 2.

H
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Andy W



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PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2011 10:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Whenever they use the term "reviewing" or "resting" a programme you know you're unlikely to hear it again.

Some may remember Melodies for You as a Sunday morning programme with the likes of Sam Costa, David Jacobs and Richard Baker as hosts. The first presenter, though I don't remember it personally, was Eric Robinson.
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Helen May



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PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2011 11:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't remember it being on in the morning, but recall Richard Baker presenting it not long before he left, and then the presenters who followed him. It was usually only the first half hour that I listened to back then.

H
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Ian Robinson
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2011 11:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I do enjoy Alan's show, it's a nice pleasant listen at about the right time of the weekend. Plenty of lovely music, and I'll be sad to see it go - especially if it's just going to be replaced by old documentaries.

Anyway, I've listened to more Radio 3 in the last week than in my entire life so I think I'm going to head there a bit more. I went there because they had the BBC Concert Orchestra doing a live show on Friday night - something their own show on Radio 2 barely does anymore!
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ruddlescat



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PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2011 11:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I recall the show being on in a morning - I think that would have been early to mid 60's but of course in those days the old Light Programme was a very different kind of station from what is is today probably catering in the main for the types of music which Alan Titchmarsh plays now

There used to be a dedicated show on Radio 2 for many years at 9pm on Sunday evenings playing serious classical pieces called 'Your Hundred Best Tunes' hosted by the great Alan Keith and later by Richard Baker which in my view was far superior to the mediocre middle of the road output which replaced it and which seems to be comprised entirely of modern film scores TV themes and songs from bland modern musicals so there certainly is a precedent for having some decent classical music output on Radio 2 - the difference from Radio 3 being that it is well known stuff rather than obscure items for classical purists

Many people talk about the desirability of having specialist shows on the network especially in the evenings and I would agree with those views but it seems odd to me that Radio 2 has never had a regular specialist rock show or reggae show or even Tamla Motown and Soul Show despite the fact that all these genres are probably far more popular than things such as Listen to the Band or The Organist Entertains

If we are going to have these specialist shows let's cover every area of music and not just the pre 60's period as seems to be the case at present
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Angela W



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PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2011 1:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ColinB wrote:
I know what's wrong with BBC senior management - they're all thick (whether or not they're Oxbridge educated).

The story over the last couple of days is that the corporation is now considering "slimming down" (what does that mean, precisely?) BBC4 - one of the few BBC TV channels I actually value - in favour of putting more resources into BBC3. No, I can't work that one out either.

What's a mystery to me is that the BBC is slowly chopping away those programmes that are out of the ordinary and which don't pander to today's fashion for blandness and celebrity-focused mediocrity without really considering which age group is now in the majority.

Thank heavens for online media.


I hope they don't, BBC4 is our most watched channel. Will they leave anything worthwhile on TV or radio?
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John W



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PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2011 1:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh dear, another of the very few r2 programmes I try to listen to regularly.

I've enjoyed Alan's shows though as someone above said much of it was middle-of-the-road light-classics, and I did prefer Sheridan Morley's show together with Richard Baker and Alan Keith's Y100BT which actually played more than the popular 100 (listeners used to vote and a 100 'chart' was published at the end of each year).

So it remains to be seen if I'll tune in to whatever replaces MFY.
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Ian Robinson
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2011 7:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I always dread April and September because it seems to be when the contracts come up for renewal - you never know which favourites are being dropped, and which horrors await us.
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Helen May



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PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2011 10:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was wondering what else they are going to do to the Sunday schedule as well. From what I can see they are mainly repeats but the Barry Manilow series was only 1 hour long and MFY was 90 mins........

H
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mark occomore



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PostPosted: Sat Aug 20, 2011 7:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The BBC are trying to save money across TV and Radio and looking like Alan contract was a big money one. Radio 2 should stop spending on celebs, but they want talent to host shows.
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ColinB
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 20, 2011 8:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

mark occomore wrote:
The BBC are trying to save money across TV and Radio and looking like Alan contract was a big money one. Radio 2 should stop spending on celebs, but they want talent to host shows.


I can't see that Titchy's contract was worth huge bucks when compared to other talent. And, anyhow, it's false economy to cut off star entertainers' contracts too much because - like it or not - they help to create the draw for audiences in the first place.

The BBC, more than any other UK broadcaster, is stuck between a rock and a hard place in this respect; it has to attract a sizeable audience share on prime-time progamming in order to justify its financial subsidy yet it can't be seen to be spending money on the things that help to increase audience share. Commercial organisations can pretty much do what they like (franchise conditions withstanding, of course) because they're not spending public money.

Like it or not (and I don't, as it happens) but shows like Strictly Come Dancing do help to bolster audiences and get the BBC large volumes of programme sales. The real money is not in direct programme sales any more but in format licensing - and Strictly makes a lot of money from the sale of the format to other broadcasters around the world (the same is true for the X-Factor, Big Brother, I'm A Celebrity, etc).

However, the BBC does have a Charter commitment to catering for the widest possible range of minority interests in its output, so its senior management have a fine line along which to tread.

Personally, I believe they're getting it all wrong and are attempting to increase market share among the one age-group that is the least interested - the 18-35 group. They seem to be forgetting that it's the 40-somethings who are now in the majority and the ones with the ability to boost or deplete audience figures. It seems that BBC senior managers are too stupid and blinkered to realise this - and Bob Shennan appears to be one of them (especially when considering the appointment of that gormless rent-a-gob to the breakfast slot).

If Radio Two lets Titchmarsh go completely and the MFY format disappears with him, then Shennan really is an idiot. Perhaps the Pope really is a Catholic, too.
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Helen May



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PostPosted: Sat Aug 20, 2011 10:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ian Robinson wrote:
I always dread April and September because it seems to be when the contracts come up for renewal - you never know which favourites are being dropped, and which horrors await us.


Strange thing with this so called 'contract renewal' is that Alan's show didn't start until I think end of January (I've a recording somewhere of some of them) and I know it was the end of November/early December when I met him and he had just been asked to do MFY.

I think the excuse is a bit lame, and in anycase Alan's contract for Chelsea Flower show is for the next 2 years, I read that in RT earlier in the year. Maybe he'll have more time for gardening shows, as he is the best one for GW.

H
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Ian Robinson
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 20, 2011 10:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Maybe Alan was contracted from a certain point, but only able to work from another point? He's a very busy man!

I'm surprised he's able to do Chelsea, with his mega-bucks ITV deal (which made him move the chat show recordings from BBC to ITV studios, plus the gardening show, documentaries and tie-in books). It's this deal that prevented him going back to Gardeners World when they asked him last year.
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Nickbucks



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PostPosted: Sat Aug 20, 2011 1:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It is the demise of this type of programme which concerns me and not the presenter. Within reason, to save money, anyone competent could present- it is the music which matters.
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Andy W



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PostPosted: Sat Aug 20, 2011 6:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've posted a brief history of Melodies for You here:

http://andywalmsley.blogspot.com/2011/08/melodies-for-you.html

You can also hear some short audio files from the last 30 years of the show
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Helen May



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PostPosted: Sat Aug 20, 2011 6:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you for that Andy! I'd no idea so many people had presented MFY. My first recollection is of Richard Baker and it must have been his second stint.

H
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John W



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PostPosted: Sat Aug 20, 2011 9:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great blog page Andy, I must update the R2 Timeline!
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Andy W



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PostPosted: Sat Aug 20, 2011 9:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you John. I'll email you with some exact dates where I have them.
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Number Six



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PostPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2011 12:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh well. That's it for radio 2 on Sundays, Titch is the oinly thing we listen to and now that's gone. I can remeber the time when I used to listen to nothing but Radio 2. Now it's become a minority station for me
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iwarburton



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PostPosted: Sun Aug 28, 2011 2:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, Andy W, for such a comprehensive history of MFY. I well remember the show when Eric Robinson was its presenter and he frequently conducted on it, too.

So that's another nail in the coffin of light classical and light music. When will R2 get the message? Meanwhile, I'm grateful that there's light music in quantities on Spotify.

Ian.
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iwarburton



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PostPosted: Sun Aug 28, 2011 2:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Meant to add--one wouldn't want to boast, of course--that Classic FM have been kind enough to publish a letter from me in the brand-new October issue re the possibility of increasing their own light music output. At least their initial response is positive. Now let's see if they deliver.

Ian.
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unclebuck



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PostPosted: Sun Aug 28, 2011 6:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just heard Alan announce his departure - the end of another great show. I always found it interesting, even when the music wasn't strictly to my taste (maybe that's why I found it interesting), and I always thought this show was a perfect composition and fit for the time-slot on a Sunday.
There is now almost nothing left for me on Radio 2. It is increasingly repetitive, formulaic and unimaginative.

Someone should start a national radio station to serve the non-classical but too-old-for-radio-1 section of the population in this country. We could pay for it out of the license fee.
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mark occomore



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PostPosted: Sun Aug 28, 2011 6:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A lot of the old shows at the station seem to be gradually fading out over time. I suppose this is the future of Radio, but the station needs to keep the oldies who listen in sweet..
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Angela W



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PostPosted: Sun Aug 28, 2011 7:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

unclebuck wrote:

There is now almost nothing left for me on Radio 2. It is increasingly repetitive, formulaic and unimaginative.

Someone should start a national radio station to serve the non-classical but too-old-for-radio-1 section of the population in this country. We could pay for it out of the license fee.


There is nothing much left for me either now. I wish someone would start a new station too. I think radio is at its most dire and I would love to see another pirate type revolution.
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ColinB
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 28, 2011 8:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mark occomore wrote:
A lot of the old shows at the station seem to be gradually fading out over time.


They're not "fading out" (as if it were a natural process of evolution) they're being dumped by the clueless idiots running the various BBC channels.

mark occomore wrote:
I suppose this is the future of Radio, but the station needs to keep the oldies who listen in sweet..


The oldies are pretty much in the majority now. Even the BBC1 controller has at last acknowledged that the channel needs to shift its programming to cater for the largest audience group - the over 50s. I have to say it's taken long enough and very much a case of yet another "manager" stating the bleedin' obvious.

(See here: http://goo.gl/i3tP7 )

Perhaps, with that in mind, somebody with influence will see the folly of putting Shennan in charge of Radio 2 and install somebody who better understands Radio 2's core audience.

And perhaps, just for starters, that person can kick the breakfast gob out of his current slot in the process!
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FleetingEileenM



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PostPosted: Sun Aug 28, 2011 8:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well I've just emailed Radio 2 again to state my displeasure at the loss of Alan and the delightful and varied selection of music he plays (played Sad )
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ColinB
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 28, 2011 8:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There's a big bin outside Shennan's office door which is labeled "Don't wanna know, don't give a toss".

It'll end up in there. Honest!
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becky sharp



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PostPosted: Tue Aug 30, 2011 1:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

FleetingEileenM wrote:
Well I've just emailed Radio 2 again to state my displeasure at the loss of Alan and the delightful and varied selection of music he plays (played Sad )

I did a similar one,Eileen....I was very sad to hear of the end of this programme...

I'm listening to the last one as I type Sad
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igs007



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PostPosted: Fri Sep 02, 2011 8:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ruddlescat wrote:
Many people talk about the desirability of having specialist shows on the network especially in the evenings and I would agree with those views but it seems odd to me that Radio 2 has never had a regular specialist rock show or reggae show or even Tamla Motown and Soul Show despite the fact that all these genres are probably far more popular than things such as Listen to the Band or The Organist Entertains

If we are going to have these specialist shows let's cover every area of music and not just the pre 60's period as seems to be the case at present


There have been specialist shows of the above in the last few years (Bruce Dickinson's Monsters of Rock, Stuart Maconie did a Northern Soul show, Norman Jay's Funk Factory, and someone else had a Soul Show about 3-5 years ago but can't remember the name) but sadly they've come and gone. We can add Mark Lamarr's excellent shows to that list. As good as some shows still are at nights, it seems more standard fare, less revolving series (bring back Susie Q!!) with greater variety.

When I first heard the news about Melodies, I thought much the same as above posters; having re read the statement, I'll remain quietly optimistic about Bob's intentions to grow the audience for this type of music. I just hope this means putting more on in the weekday schedules, and not the occasional series which surely would be contrary to his statement of intentions and not really adhering to the BBC Trust review last year?
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ruddlescat



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PostPosted: Fri Sep 02, 2011 11:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I take your point and agree with much of what you say
The problem is that most of these type of shows have been very intermittent
Considering how influential for example rock music has been over the last forty years we really need a specialist show as they used to have on Radio One - and that probably applies for other genres of music

I'm fed up of people with Radio 2 thinking that specialist music shows should not start later than the 1950's

I don't mind earlier music being covered but we need to be aware a great deal has happened over the last fifty years and it needs to be properly covered
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 03, 2011 8:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Let's face it, radio 2 is a complete mess and really not worth the bother for much of the week. There are so many better sources of listening these days that I've now reached the point where I don't care any longer.
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