'Specialist Music' On BBC Local Radio Campaigns News 24th January 2011

All the latest news, info, rumour, gossip, comment and more concerning the Save DJ Ritu's A World in London show on BBC London and Save' Folkwaves' on BBC Radio Derby campaigns!

(This article was originally published in the News section of the Other World Music page of Rainlore's World of Music on 24th January, 2011.)

Both campaigns continue unabated and keep growing in strength, numbers, and all-round support.

Having listened to the third installment of the absolute travesty of a show that has replaced DJ Ritu's A World in London, The Sunny & Shay Show, I regret to have to report that there has been not one jot of improvement to the latter. The presentation is as perfectly unprofessional as it has been from day one, and the content just as sub-standard. (You can follow a 'live' almost blow-by-embarrassing blow account of this on the AWiL campaign Facebook page.) A truly 'grewaling' experience that I have no desire to go over again.

After three doses of this sorry excuse for a show, I am convinced I was listening to a further dumbed-down version of the Asian Network. The content certainly was again almost entirely (South) Asian/Indo-centric, with nothing of interest to any of London's multitude of other communities, nor even trying to engage any of these in any way. As for reflecting London's rich diversity - err, London's what? No such thing exists in the realm of this programme.

The only thing that BBC London 94.9 are achieving with this feeble attempt at a show is that they are making themselves a total laughing stock of broadcasting. And when station head David Robey, defending the indefensible as indeed he no doubt must, then goes on to compare the show's pretend-presenters to true professionals of such calibre as Vanessa Feltz, he is not only deeply insulting to the professionals but clearly leaves himself wide open to charges of lack of professionalism on his own part.

On the Folkwaves 'replacement programme' front, things do not look much - if any - brighter for BBC East Midlands. The (Mon-Fri) Richard Spurr Show still appears to offer next to nothing that could be deemed of a remotely local or regional nature, and certainly offers nothing that cannot be found on a multitude of other, independent, radio stations. That is, basically, 'pulp chat' and 'Golden Oldie' music. And now, on Mondays, 'psychic poodles' Hilda and Tuhula (present only in the form of a pre-recorded 'rough, rough') and their owner, a so-called 'psychic' by the likely name of Linda Lovel.. err, Lancashire, with horoscopes and such perfect nonsense. Talk about times getting rough and radio going to the dogs!

Although The Richard Spurr Show is at least professionally presented and produced, that cannot be too much consolation for station head Stuart Thomas who, like BBC London's David Robey, would appear to have managed to fight himself into a corner from which he finds it increasingly difficult to extricate himself. In no way can the show be deemed to fulfill the stated aims, let alone to comply with the BBC Local Radio broadcasting licence.

While BBC East Midlands may consider folk music to be surplus to requirements, even smaller independent radio stations seem to increasingly find time for it. For example, the delightful Elizabeth Padgett (who also runs the wonderful Spalding Folk Club in Lincolnshire with hubby Martin Browne - no mean folk performers themselves either!) has for some time been presenting a fortnightly two-hour folk programme on local independent station Tulip Radio. The show goes out on alternate Tuesdays between 7 and 9pm and is also available online. The next show is due on February 1st and it alternates with Richard Howell's Blues Show.

I should also like to again draw attention to Mick Smith, who is continuing his country music show (like Folkwaves, axed on BBC East Midlands) online on his web site. There are also some videos available on YouTube. This effort is of course highly laudable, but alas will miss a good number of its audience who do not have (nor, in many if not most cases, do not wish to have) internet access. But, until this excellent programme returns to our airwaves, Mick Smith certainly deserves kudos and thanks for his valiant efforts to keep the show going. Yee-haw!

And while we're at it, somewhere there really ought to be a place for a separate specialist bluegrass/nu-grass etc. show. And more coverage in general world music shows perhaps. The kind of genre-bending that Bela Fleck has engaged in over the years alone would be worthy of a whole programme or two.

But to return to the DJ Ritu's A World in London and Mick Peat & Lester Simpson's Folkwaves campaigns.

The latter has now formed a steering committee which is holding its first full meeting tonight at The Flowerpot in Derby at 7.30pm. And for Monday 7th February, a protest outside the BBC Folk Awards is planned.

If you don't do so already, please join and/or support both of these invaluable campaigns to reinstate equally invaluable programmes like AWiL and Folkwaves. To find out more about the campaigns and how you can help, please go to:

Save' Folkwaves' on BBC Radio Derby on Facebook
Save DJ Ritu's A World in London show on BBC London on Facebook
Save AWiL Blog
On twitter
Save AWiL Online Petition

You can also keep up with DJ Ritu on her own web site.

Do not allow these invaluable resources to be lost - join the fight and stand up for your rights as a license fee payer!

Folkwaves campaign logo

Save AWiL Logo

DJ Ritu Logo

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