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PostPosted: Sat Sep 13, 2008 1:31 pm
by Ian A.
Rod B. wrote:So does anyone know the reasons behind this. Who actually pulled the plug? The BBC I assume, but does anyone know (or can speculate in an informed way) on why?

The plug was pulled from the top by Roger Wright, head of Radio 3, but it should be remembered it was him who enthusiastically adopted the awards scheme when I took it to him in 2000 and he supported it for seven years, so it was always his ball to play with. He also has taken pains to stress Radio 3's continuing programme support to World Music, which he was responsible for expanding when he took over the station. They are now evolving other plans to support the music through broadcast projects, but apparently it will be some while before they are in place.

There have been hints about the difficulties the BBC is facing over anything involving competitions and voting - the Blue Peter syndrome - but yesterday I had a lengthy conversation with the organiser of the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards and they have come through a difficult examination process by the suits intact and been given the go-ahead, with a much less transparent voting process than that used by the World Awards. I've also not heard any word of the Jazz Awards being dropped.

Other suggestions have included - most likely - budget cutbacks (which have certainly been experienced by the BBC Radio 2 Folk coverage). Then there's overworked staff, Roger Wright's new dual (and presumably time-consuming) role as director of the Proms, or the fallout from an unfortunate behind the scenes dispute earlier this year when all the non-BBC partners found ourselves united in disagreement over a particular policy decision. The probable answer is that all these things contributed in some way, but it's likely we'll never know.

A meeting took place yesterday of representatives from all the past partners in the BBC awards, which went through a number of interesting possible options for future positive evolution. The good news is that there was unity and full agreement on co-operation, with a number of interesting models being looked at. However, it was clear that the annual timescale is much too short to mount anything significant this year.

What will be continuing is our extensively researched Album Of The Year Poll that was incorporated into the BBC awards from 2001 but has been in existence for more than 20 years. Radio 3, via Charlie's programme, will give decent broadcast coverage to that, and we are looking at other ways to keep its profile as high as possible with cross-industry support. As ever, evoking the "spirit of '87", the meeting seemed to accept that "unity is power".

It may be that after this blip, something better still may evolve.

PostPosted: Sat Sep 13, 2008 2:43 pm
by Charlie
nikki akinjinmi wrote:I forgot to add that in some way the non-classical output of Radio 3 is probably what is keeping the station going.

No, probably the opposite.

I think that world music was introduced alongside jazz and the classical core in the hope of bringing new listeners to the station, and significantly increase the audience size. That may have happened at first, but the figures have apparently settled back to be more or less what they were before. In other words, the same number of people listen to World Routes or Late Junction as would listen to classical music in the time slot. Whether they are different people doesn't make much difference, if the people drawn to listen to World Routes don't stick around and listen to the classical output.

I guess this is the reason for pushing the timeslot back for Late Junction (and World on 3) by an hour, allowing the station's core classical listeners to finish off their evenings listening to their preferred choice of music.

World music is 'safe' on BBC Radio 3 in that it is part of the station remit to present it in the form of records, sessions and documentary coverage 'in the field'. Unfortunately, one by-blow of this is that BBC Radio 1 and BBC Radio 2 both shrug off any responsibility to include it in their programming, apart from Gilles Peterson and Mark Lamarr, implicitly suggesting that this is the province of Radio 3.

And so the younger audience that never tunes to Radio 3 continues to be oblivious to world music. On the other hand, Radio 1 is going to offer full coverage of Africa Express on October 22 from the Forum in Kentish Town. I don't have further details, but hope to do discover more in a programme on October 17 with Marc Antoine Moreau, manager of Amadou & Mariam and a prime behind-the-scenes mover in Africa Express.

PostPosted: Sat Sep 13, 2008 4:15 pm
by Philip Ryalls
Charlie - can you remind us what is the sticking point with Radio 3 producing proper podcasts of World on 3, LJ, Jazz on 3 etc? I am sure podcasting will increase both listeners and CD sales or downloads. I never listen to any Radio 3 programmes as they are broadcast, having instead to rig up a digital recording from the iplayer and conversion to play through an ipod. I have a weekly pecking order starting with Jazz on 3 and Jazz Library, and rarely these days do I have time to get beyond these two. This last week I have had some spare time and spent 12 hours yesterday on an aircraft - time which I could have used to work through a series of stored podcasts and no doubt I would have logged onto Amazon on return. As it is I usually buy a CD on the basis of something I enjoy at a gig - Ghada Shbeir - mentioned by Garth at the top of this thread was one of those. I bought a few CD's after Cambridge - by artists such as Laura Marling, Martha Wainwright, Heidi Talbot, Beoga, Elizabeth Cook, Kila. Radio 3 may be playing these artists - I really have no idea.

I personally think World Music should go forward in two directions. The two best shows I have seen this year are Honest Jon's Chop Up at the Barbican and the Sufi night at Womad. Traditional music such as the Sufi presentation would fit with the classical Proms setting whilst the more popular and dance styles could be presented for an audience that would not normally listen to Radio 3. Popular and dance styles would also benefit from being freed from Radio 3's sometimes rigid in-house production style. It doesn't have to be that way - Jazz on 3 isn't.

If Radio 3 broadcast any of the Sufi night then I missed it, as most of their Womad programmes seemed to go out in the week after the festival, when I had no time to listen or even record their programmes.

Awards for World Music

PostPosted: Sun Sep 14, 2008 12:18 am
by Simon Broughton
Jonathan E. wrote: Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu. Not only is it $49.99‚ but it isn't even in stock!


$50 is far too steep for his CD, but Gurrumul (as he's known) is well worth checking out. Skinnyfish, the Australian label that record him have got a distribution deal in the UK and I hope we'll be hearing a lot more of him. He's got a soulful voice and a tasty left-hand guitar technique. Certainly a rising star and was featured in the article we did in Songlines #54 on indigenous music in the Northern Territories of Oz. In fact you've still got till Oct 1st to enter the competition to win a trip for two out there and hear him yourself!

PostPosted: Sun Sep 14, 2008 11:47 am
by Charlie
Philip Ryalls wrote:Charlie - can you remind us what is the sticking point with Radio 3 producing proper podcasts of World on 3, LJ, Jazz on 3 etc?

The problem is entirely caused by the fear of 'rights owners' (ie, record labels and music publishers) that podcasts of shows playing records would compete directly with potential sales of those records.

So they are demanding high fees from the BBC (or any potential amateur podcaster) to compensate for potential loss of revenues from sales of records or downloads.

The situation is at an impasse, so far as I know.

The BBC has managed to get permission to archive each show for seven days, on the grounds that this is not a permanent item and therefore may still result in a listener going off to ebuy the original artefact.

I notice that Ian A does does a podcast but have never asked him how he gets around the problem of paying fees. Ian?

PostPosted: Mon Sep 15, 2008 5:27 pm
by Dominic
Tom McPhillips wrote:The one artifact of the R3 Awards that made an impact on my world has been the compilation CD - I wonder how many of these sell, and how that number compares with Charlie's yearly collection.

There was no Awards For World Music CD this year. I assume that the amount of work involved in clearing rights etc was too much compared with sales, especially given the low(er) retail price.

PostPosted: Tue Sep 16, 2008 5:10 pm
by Rod B.
Ian A. wrote:
Rod B. wrote:So does anyone know the reasons behind this. Who actually pulled the plug? The BBC I assume, but does anyone know (or can speculate in an informed way) on why?

The plug was pulled from the top by Roger Wright, head of Radio 3, but it should be remembered it was him who enthusiastically adopted the awards scheme when I took it to him in 2000 and he supported it for seven years, so it was always his ball to play with...


Thanks very much, Ian, for taking the time to explain that so fully. From my secondhand sources, I get the impression that the BBC is now a very different animal from what it was when Roger Wright felt able to adopt the awards in 2000.

PostPosted: Wed Sep 17, 2008 4:34 pm
by Ian A.
I wrote:What will be continuing is our extensively researched Album Of The Year Poll that was incorporated into the BBC awards from 2001 but has been in existence for more than 20 years.

Don't know why we didn't do this before, but we now have the full 22-year list of top placings on our web site at www.frootsmag.com/pollwinners