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"Feedback"

PostPosted: Wed Apr 15, 2009 12:18 pm
by Philellinas
"Feedback" is back towards the end of May. About 20 years ago I got the BBC World Service to change their policy when it was raining and they were due to broadcast commentary on a Test match. I don't know if the current powers-that-be at Radio 3 would be equally responsive to a concerted one-man campaign. My success rate is 100% so far...

The third way

PostPosted: Wed Apr 15, 2009 4:36 pm
by Gordon Neill
I wish I had any confidence in the power of complaining or providing feedback. But I'm afraid that I don't. I've come to accept that my role in these matters is to pay my taxes and my licence fee, tug my forelock, and then go and find ways to amuse myself.

I don't want to criticise Radio 3, particularly. Yes, the 'World On 3' programme is in a graveyard slot and the rotation of presenters provides little sense of continuity, little opportunity for the programme to become a fixture for the listener. And, yes, even then, it takes second place to some over-exposed politician like Blair singing from his own hymn sheet (you'd think that, after all these years, he might have learned to lie quicker). But at least Radio 3 gives some space for world music. Thank you Mr 3.

The cynical part of me thinks that it may simply be tokenism, which allows the powers-that-be to tick a box and proclaim their support for non-mainstream music. The graveyard slot then conveniently provides low-enough audience figures to show just how non-mainstream this music is and just how generous Radio 3 is in giving it any time at all. The generous part of me just thinks that the powers-that-be are idiots. But at least Radio 3 gives some space for world music. God bess you Mr 3.

The problem, sadly, is much wider than Radio 3, possibly much wider than the BBC. Paradoxically, we now have a multi-channel media which offers us an infinite choice of much the same. A bit like our political parties. Increasingly, I find myself not watching TV, not listening to radio and, indeed, not voting (but still, of course, paying my taxes). I get repetitive stress syndrome flicking from channel to channel, seeing an endless parade of celebrity nobodies or live coverage of nothing happening. I get bored listening to what feels unervingly like the same pop song played over and over. I get angry hearing easy-listening, content-free, twaddle from the likes of Tony Blair.

I genuinely have no understanding why world music doesn't yet have a regular evening slot somewhere on the radio network. It will happen someday, I'm sure. As the world steadily shrinks, we've become used to seeing footballers from all over the globe and hearing 'foreign' music in soundtracks or adverts. At some point, the BBC leaders will be brave enough to follow. But, in the meantime, thank you very much Mr 3. Much obliged.

Re: The third way

PostPosted: Wed Apr 15, 2009 5:15 pm
by Charlie
Gordon Neill wrote:I genuinely have no understanding why world music doesn't yet have a regular evening slot somewhere on the radio network. It will happen someday, I'm sure. As the world steadily shrinks, we've become used to seeing footballers from all over the globe and hearing 'foreign' music in soundtracks or adverts. At some point, the BBC leaders will be brave enough to follow. But, in the meantime, thank you very much Mr 3. Much obliged.

As so often,Gordon, you have summed up my feelings and as so often, I am grateful to know 'I'm not the only one who feels this way'.

When I started playing Orchestra Baobab back in 1983, I had every reason to assume they would surfa e in much the same way as my immediately preceding 'discoveries', Dire Straits. I still don't know why it didn't happen for them, Nyboma, Mbilia Bel and that whole generation at the time. Oer why British media shrugged its collective shoulders in disinterest as Buena Visat Socia Club sold 8 million copies around the world - more than Gorillaz, more than Coldplay, Radiohead, anybody else you can think of from that period. Not as many as Dire Straits (35 million for Brothers in Arms) or Elton John, or even Nora Jones, but still 8 million is a lot of records and would normally be reflected in airplay.

I agree we should be grateful that Radio 3 gives a little time to world music, but still chaff about Radio 2 giving it none at all (apart from John Armstrong's admirable Monday night programme from Jan to March which was barely commented on here).

PostPosted: Wed Apr 15, 2009 5:37 pm
by Paul Sherratt
Well I'd agree that R3 should be thanked for the fact that the British Island Broadcasting Corporation plays any foreign music at all. That very late-night slot has me totally defeated however - this in spite of regularly clearing the supermarket shelves of Lavazza coffee. As for the rotation system, I think it was a big mistake to send senior producers to that expensive summer Rafael Benítez Maudes management seminar ...

PostPosted: Wed Apr 15, 2009 8:28 pm
by fRoots
Some possibly relevant comments, though so far proving to be of very little interest to people, logged here: http://froots.net/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=4312

PostPosted: Wed Apr 15, 2009 9:04 pm
by will vine
I don't live in London so I don't know the situation, but what would surprise me much more than the BBC not giving World music it's coverage, is the absence of a pirate radio scene for the stuff. For pirate radio see pressure group, and see how the BBC brought a lot of the hip hop/reggae crowd on board when they saw a genuine cry from the street.

World music "suffers", in terms of convenient definition, from not having a definable demographic, any great scandals or controversies, a fashion or a great dance craze. It also has too few high profile champions. It is, in its Radio 3 guise, decent, discussable, music to delight decent people.

I still contend that it needs to be jammed up against the adverts and the drive time dedications before it will be what I want it to be.

PostPosted: Wed Apr 15, 2009 10:15 pm
by Hugh Weldon
Paul Sherratt wrote:

As for the rotation system, I think it was a big mistake to send senior producers to that expensive summer Rafael Benítez Maudes management seminar ...


Well at least they are not (yet, anyway) in the habit of substituting Charlie with ten minutes to go.

froots wrote

Some possibly relevant comments, though so far proving to be of very little interest to people, logged here


With it so easy to comment instantly these days, the deafening silence is a bit odd. Apart from the dedicated hardcore, perhaps we just don't listen to the radio in the same way. Of course if there was a world music station as opposed to an obcure slot on a relatively obscure network, things might be different. Charlie is always publishing lots of comments received on his World Service programmes, but I guess that's because its a worldwide audience.

PostPosted: Thu Apr 16, 2009 12:01 pm
by Charlie
Hugh Weldon wrote: Charlie is always publishing lots of comments received on his World Service programmes, but I guess that's because its a worldwide audience.

The frequency and enthusiasm of these comments to the WS show (always from people who had not communicated before) is a huge contrast with the relative apathy of Radio 3's audience, which is said to be about 100,000 people at the time of this programme.

But I don;t think it's simply a matter of audience size. A much more lively response used to come from listeners to Radio London, who were said to number only about 20,000 to 30,000 at the time of my show although it felt like many more. I never trusted RAJAR's methods or its results.

Re: The third way

PostPosted: Thu Apr 16, 2009 7:15 pm
by David Flower
Charlie wrote:Or why British media shrugged its collective shoulders in disinterest as Buena Vista Social Club sold 8 million copies around the world - more than Gorillaz, more than Coldplay, Radiohead, anybody else you can think of from that period. Not as many as Dire Straits (35 million for Brothers in Arms) or Elton John, or even Nora Jones, but still 8 million is a lot of records and would normally be reflected in airplay


back in the heyday in 2000 BVSC outsold Elton when they played different nights in Hyde Park - which was rather pleasing at the time, not that I've got anything against Elton. We pulled something like 15000 to his 12

Although I'm worried too, I wonder if we need to rely so much on radio to have a thriving scene. It's not much better in France but their live scene more than makes up for it. Just heard about a Burkino Faso musician Victor Deme who I'd never heard of but who sold 30,000 copies in France last year and was highly praised.
Having said that all the splurge of new festivals in the UK don't seem to be booking much from our world this year. I'm struggling to get the likes of Latitude, Cambridge, Bestival and many others to book our stuff, and by the line-ups announced it seems I'm not the only one

Re: The third way

PostPosted: Thu Apr 16, 2009 10:31 pm
by Charlie
David Flower wrote: Just heard about a Burkino Faso musician Victor Deme who I'd never heard of but who sold 30,000 copies in France last year and was highly praised.

He's on Harmonia Mundi, plugged in the UK by forumista Mike Gavin. I confess to being among those who did not fall for his charm on first listen, although when Jamie Renton played a track by him at the last Sound of the World Relay, I had to go and ask who was that? I liked it after all.

PostPosted: Fri Apr 17, 2009 5:19 pm
by Dominic
It would have made a good LP - side one, as it were, is slow but sweet, side two picks up the pace in a lovely rumba-ish way.

Or to put it another way, the ball is moved around nicely in the first half, but the goals come after half time.

PostPosted: Fri Apr 17, 2009 5:48 pm
by David Flower
I see he's at WOMAD, so I'll turn up halfway through his set then

PostPosted: Sun Apr 19, 2009 1:26 pm
by Andrewq
Most of us are consumers, so we don’t have a promotion budget, but I’m constantly surprised at how little marketing is done by the management and promoters of world music.
How easy would it be to post links on web sites to Charlie’s programmes. – in fact that Radiokijada clip was begging for it.
Oumou Sangare's concert at the Barbican will be a sell out but how many other “productsâ€

PostPosted: Sun Apr 19, 2009 2:28 pm
by Charlie
Andrewq wrote:So for your next Ping Pong guest Charlie, invite Drogba ( he made an appearance at the World Music Awards a couple of years back ) or one of the other international footballers for starters - the beeb would have to do a trailer for that show.

I would be delighted to have Didier as a guest, but have no idea if he is at all interested in music. The biggest gaffe I ever made was to invite the Zimbabwe cricketer Henry Longa to play Radio Ping Pong without having checked out that his taste veered towards Sting and Stevie Wonder. Having been brought up in a private school, he had never heard of Thomas Mapfumo or Lucky Dube. So what do we know of the musical direction of Didier Drogba? No point in having such a guest just because he's famous. In any case, I'm not sure anybody at Radio 3 would be interested in marketing a show just because he was the guest.

Incidentally, I had a long, apologetic phone call from a manager at Radio 3, assuring me that they were very dismayed at my show having had to be cut twice in recent months to accommodate over-run live concerts. The planners were trying very hard to see how to avoid it happening again.

PostPosted: Sun Apr 19, 2009 5:43 pm
by David Flower
a few years ago at the ILMC - big London annual bash for the live music pop and rock industry - everyone was surprised to see Jimmy Van Hasselbaink there as a delegate, representing some music tourism initiative of his. Mind you that doesn't mean his tastes woudn't veer towards Sting and Stevie Wonder