Saturday, May 26, 2018

Acceptable in the 80s

Along with the Jo and Simon Show, Radio 2 has some new jingles, clearly aimed at dealing with the Director Radio & Music's view that audiences aged 35-55 for the station are 'flatlining'.  To help you with the maths, a current 55-year-old would have been 18 in 1980.

The energetic chorus work harks back to Radio 1 jingles of the 1980s, supplied by JAM, based in Dallas, Texas. Here's a song from Jam, lifting the lid on their rather repetitive work, singing the themes again and again, modified for hundreds of US stations.

Friday, May 25, 2018


Mmm. A new podcast coming from Simon Mayo, barely two weeks after his R2 forced 'marriage' to Jo Whiley.  The announcement doesn't contain the letters 'BBC'.

Mixed nigri

Healthy-eating Beeboids in Broadcasting House should note that Abokado in Great Portland Street is offering up to 50% off sushi, salads and desserts from 6.30pm to closing time at 9pm. Fans include Alan Yentob - though 'Yum Yum' has been through a learning curve, finding that local pubs don't favour customers who bring rivals'  takeways to their tables.


Renaissance BBC woman Emma Vardy has been confirmed as Ireland Correspondent.

In the past, she's told Twitter followers she wanted to be a Bond Girl (when she was 10), or a circus artiste or an F1 Grid girl. She plays the xylophone, but turned down the Royal College of Music for a journalism course at Falmouth. She surfs, plays netball, runs - and performs acrobatics.

She comes to the Ireland job via Sky News, as an editorial assistant, sports reporting and presenting for Radio Cornwall, reporting and presenting for BBC South, working in Northern Ireland and reporting for The Daily Politics.

Out of here

Research by Nielsen in the States shows that under-35s may not be fleeing linear tv in quite the numbers first thought. They're just not watching it in the living room at home.

Nielsen started offering an 'out-of-home' rating service this time last year, and first client was the sports channel, ESPN. Viewing in restaurants, bars, gyms, health clubs, on trains and buses, and in the office, adds 8.5% to ESPN's traditionally-measured audience. And the bulk of this extra viewing - 39% - is by the under 35s.

Free stuff

Some of the two-million odd users of Freesat have been shaking their heads in puzzlement over the last six months. The service, which offers 'over 200 free-to-air tv and radio channels' via dishes and set-top boxes, has lost a number of favourite channels.  It's run jointly by the BBC and ITV.

The latest to leave is Vintage TV, founded by music lawyer David Pick. It claims to be the most prolific producer of music tv in the UK, adding 30 hours a month, to an 800 hour back catalogue. It says that Freesat has upped its carriage charges; Freesat says not, though there is a new charging structure. “Freesat’s aim is not to make a profit from these changes but simply to cover its operational costs. We believe that the redistribution of fees for broadcast channels makes it a fairer system for all our partners."

Earlier this year Freesat lost 4Music and Kiss TV. Channel 4 also pulled its main HD service, saying it faced 'a significant cost increase' for carriage.

There are some new channels: the African channel, Yanga, and TRT World, the Turkish news channel.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Left field

The next outing for Agatha Christie at the BBC will feature John Malkovich as Hercule Poirot. Whilst we take that in, the director will be Alex Gabassi, a Brazilian, who comes to the genre from The Hypnotist Series 1 and 2 ( a project from HBO Latin America) and The Frankenstein Chronicles Series 2, for ITV Encore and the A&E Network.

What the pair will make of a plot that finds a serial killer at work in Andover, Bexhill and ?, leaving copies of the ABC rail guide at the scene is anyone's guess.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018


Now this deserves 2 billion views...

Sign up

Those petitioning to get the Simon Mayo show on Radio 2 back the way it was are in danger of dissipating their efforts.

At, "Bring back Simon Mayo and the dream team" has 3647 signatures (at time of writing); on the same site, "Get Jo Whiley out of Simon Mayo's show" has 59. Over at 38 degrees, a previous lost cause, "Save the Radio 2 Book Club on Simon Mayo's Drivetime" has 1472.

Mumsnet's thread on the topic has 91 comments, with some unsisterly remarks about Ms Whiley.
A petition to Parliament, "BBC Radio 2 needs to reflect the interests of listeners - Fire Lewis Carnie Now !" has been rejected, directing complainants to the BBC. Before rejection, a number of MPs signed up, including  Mark Tami, Naz Shah, James Cleverly, Michelle Donelan, Neil O'Brien, Gavin Shuker, Pauline Latham, Mark Lancaster, Paul Flynn, Lee Rowley, Kit Malthouse, David Warburton, Robert Buckland, Neil Parish, Kevin Foster, Chris Ruane, Valerie Vaz and Faisal Rashid.

And the BBC must have had a few, because they've offered a response online.

"We made an editorial decision to pair up two of our most popular and much loved presenters in an exciting partnership. We were delighted that Jo and Simon responded positively to this idea, having known each other for over 25 years. We’re aware that Radio 2 has a very special relationship with its audience and we acknowledge some regular listeners are unhappy with the changes. Every new show needs time to settle down and so we hope listeners will continue to listen and give it a chance".

See ? It was an editorial decision, not just a plain decision, and you can't argue with that.  Ner ! No backsies.


NBC's investment in Euronews is beginning to show. Yesterday saw the launch of a new breakfast offering, Good Morning Europe, with presenter Tesa Arcilla (formerly of RT), and a regular social-media-debunking slot called The Cube. The half hour show comes 'live' from Lyons (though it gets a few repeats). All this is under the guiding hand of Deborah Turness, now back in London, in charge of NBC International.

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