Thursday, 11 January 2018

Can I Take That Again? - Part 4

This post should be subtitled The Sound of Silence. When this week's Jamie Cullum's Radio 2 show was unexpectedly truncated - a beginning and an end but seemingly the middle section had dropped down a digital black hole - and the 'emergency tape' kicked in it didn't go unnoticed; social media and the fact that it's the biggest station in the UK saw to that. [The full pre-recorded version of Jamie's show is no online]  

The use of playout automation and voice-tracking have long been a feature of radio station output and, for the most part, work seamlessly so listeners shouldn't be able to spot the difference. But when Radio 2 adopted the VCS Autoplayer in September 2012 for a while it was a case of 'mind the gap'.

Radio 2 was aiming to make efficiencies and the use of automation was noticeable in the evening and weekend programming when, one assumes, technical staff were thin on the ground. Most of the early teething problems involved the junctions out of news bulletins with the next programmes fired off at exactly three minutes past the hour cutting off newsreaders in their prime. 

The network's problems were compounded when in January 2013 two programmes played out at the same time with Michael Ball and Russell Davies's show both simultaneously competing for about 15 minutes of airtime. Later that year, in October, we got two Bob Harris's for the price of one when the end of BST seemed to send the system haywire.

Here are a few example I collected at the time.



Note the jokey but rather pointed comment from Richard Allinson "normal service ... well that went out the window ages ago" was made around the time in 2012 when the old team of newsreaders was phased out and the automation came in.

The news at 1:10 is very odd. This is Susan Rae, on 23 September 2012, presumably reading the 2-minute 11.00 pm Radio 4 bulletin but on Radio 2! Hence we get a full minute of silence before the trailer kicks in.     

At 6:19 we get part of the infamous Bob Harris show from 27 October 2013 with two parts being played out at once.

At 8:24 it's the Ball/Davies cock-up.

And finally at 12:49 from 22 June 2015 Jeremy Vine signing off and Steve Wright loving a technical fault.

Needless to say Feedback picked up on all the drop -outs. On 28 September 2012 they dealt with one minute silence the previous Sunday night which was blamed on an "internal broadcast circuit" plus other losses of lines on Any Questions? and Today.  The 1 February 2013 edition called Radio 2 controller Bob Shennan to account who puts it down to 'human error'.  

Sunday, 7 January 2018

Sports Report Turns 70

In January 2013 I wrote about Sports Report and Saturday afternoon sports coverage. This month we've now hit the 70th anniversary of that venerable radio institution which has prompted me to have a dig around in my archive and uncover past anniversary editions.

I've previously posted the 40th anniversary edition of Sport on 2 with Peter Jones but this is now uploaded to YouTube.  



For the 50th anniversary there was a special edition of Sport on Five with Ian Payne. It seems I only kept the Sports Report sequence which was pretty much business as usual though there are some reminiscences from Cliff Morgan towards the end.   



On 3 January 2008 Mark Saggers presented a special edition of 5 live Sport to mark the 60th. With Mark thoughout the programme are Des Lynam and the late James Alexander Gordon. You'll also hear Mark Pougatch, Mark Clemmit, the Grimethorpe Colliery Band, Jenny Pitman, Ian Payne, Cornelious Lysaght, Sir Henry Cooper, Sheena Mackay, Pat Nevin, Pat Murphy, Stuart Hall, Tony Adamson, Eleanor Oldroyd, Stuart Jones, Jimmy Armfield and Mike Ingham.  



As for the 70th anniversary last Friday (5th) on 5 live Daily Chris Warburton gathered together some familiar voices, speaking to Mark Pougatch, John Murray, Jim Rosenthal, and producer Mark Williams.

The recording then shifts to Saturday (6th) with the start of 5 live Sport on FA Cup Third Round day presented by Mark Chapman and then Sports Report, just a 30-minute edition to allow for commentary on the evening match between Norwich City and Chelsea. 

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