'Specialist Music' On BBC Local Radio Campaigns News 1st February 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 1st February, 2011.)

The ongoing and growing campaigns to reverse BBC Local Radio's axing of specialist music shows, DJ Ritu's A World in London on BBC London 94.9 and Mick Peat & Lester Simpson's Folkwaves on BBC Radio Derby (and throughout the East Midlands) need YOU! These unique high quality shows and indeed, invaluable cultural resources must not be allowed to remain victims of BBC Local Radio's cultural vandalism, and your support and help is essential and will be greatly appreciated. There is more at stake than just these excellent programmes. It is also the preservation of diversity of programming, specialist music programming, and indeed the very fabric of BBC Local Radio programming itself.

Please use the links below to find out more about these campaigns and about how you can support them and help:

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

Thank you!

Latest news from the Folkwaves campaign includes details of Monday 24th January's first Campaign Action Team meeting at the Flowerpot pub, a well known music venue in Derby, from Susie Brig. The campaign team currently consists of John Greenwood, Helen Shilladay, Alison Russell, Zoe Hughes, Joanne Landreth, Morag Christie, Andy Hyde, Hugh Slaney, Andy Martin, Gilly Ward, Keith Kendrick, Sylvia Neeedham, Joan Bannister, John Legrys and Susie Brig (chair).

It was agreed unanimously that the overall aim is to have the Folkwaves programme reinstated 'exactly as it was.' Further activities decided upon included 'drawing together a paper to present our case to the BBC, produce publicity with a logo, set up a website and email address and organise further campaign action.'

The Folkwaves campaign's next major activity in the East Midlands is to lobby outside Radio Nottingham, London Road, Nottingham, NG2 4UU, from where the new Monday evening programme replacing Folkwaves is broadcast, on Monday 28th February between 7 and 9pm. A large turnout of supporters is hoped for, so please do go along if you possibly can.

The next meeting of the Campaign Action Team is scheduled for Tuesday 8th February at the Flowerpot Pub, 23-25 King St, Derby, DE1 3DZ . Tel: 01332 204955, starting at 7.15pm.

Furthermore, the Folkwaves campaign also intends to meet outside the venue of the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards on Tuesday 7th February to greet attendees as they arrive from 6.30pm (ahead of the Awards which start at 7.45pm). The event takes place at The Brewery, 52 Chiswell Street, Nr Moorgate, City of London, EC1Y 4SD. London and South East based supporters are particularly encouraged to come, and it is hoped also that supporters of the A World in London campaign will attend in solidarity.

Meanwhile, other folk music programmes 'discovered' now include also BBC Radio Lincoln's 25 min Folk Show broadcast from approx 6.30 - 7pm on Wednesday evenings (with news at 6.30 and a new travel/news slot in middle now cutting the 1/2 hour slot down). Tom Lane has been the regular presenter for many years, with Liam Robinson standing in some weeks. It features folk music and a folk gig guide and has broadcast quite a number of studio sessions by local musicians.

If the A World in London campaign seemed to have gone a bit quiet over the past week, it's because organisers have been very busy 'working on plans to see where AWIL can go now. Watch this space....'

The continued writing of complaints about the loss of A World In London is still very important, and you are urged to address your complaints to:

Boris - mayor@london.gov.uk
Metro - mail@ukmetro.co.uk
TimeOut - letters@timeout.com
David Robey & Mark Thompson - david.robey@bbc.co.uk & mark.thompson@bbc.co.uk
Please copy your complaints to saveawil@gmail.com

You can also use the BBC's complaints form. This is also particularly useful if you wish to complain about the programme that has replaced AWiL (for now!), the Sunny & Shay Show. In this latter context, it will be more effective if you do not mention AWiL but rather just stick to complaining about the fiasco that is its replacement. Also, stick to legitimate, factual complaints without being emotive or antagonistic.

This brings us to that marvel of British broadcasting, The Shiny Shite Show... err, The Sunny & Shay Show. In the interests of objectivity, and of gathering any material that can support objective criticism, I have now endured listening to all four of the first four of these 'shows' in full, and it's been a truly 'grewaling' eight hours. I must confess that this was more than enough to make me question my sanity at times. These have been eight hours that I really would not be in any great hurry to have to experience, or rather endure again.

After this fourth installment, I have to report that there has not been one iota of improvement. On the contrary, if anything the two wannabe or pretend-presenters' skill or rather lack thereof in handling studio guests can only be said to have hit a new all-time low in relation to Susannah - I didn't catch the lady's last name, sorry - who had come on the programme to talk about the Chinese New Year and Chinese food. Now it is only natural that some people are less at ease behind a mic than others. Susannah seemed extremely ill at ease and had obvious great difficulty in talking fluently about her subject, about which she no doubt had a great deal of interesting and informative things to say. Any professional presenter worth their salt would have gone out of their way to make this dear lady as much at ease as possible and facilitated her maintaining a good flow of the chat. (The role of a presenter/interviewer - outside the 'hardcore' political arena - in relation to their guest/s on the show is first and foremost that of a facilitator, surely.) Not a bit of that here. Poor dear Susannah was left to stumble on on her own, when she wasn't being interrupted or overwhelmed by Mr. and Mrs. G.'s self-obsessed chatter. But then, there is nothing the Grewal's seem to like more than the sound of their own voices.

For a real-time 'blow-by-blow' account of last Saturday's appalling two hour 'spectacle,' you can go to the AWiL Facebook page for my commentary. (I might also re-work this into a separate article here as an object lesson in how not to do a radio show, and especially one that is meant to be 'inclusive and easily accessible' and to be addressing the 'rich diversity of London.' If I can find the time that is.)

Overall, last Saturday's The Sunny & Shay Show was still as South Asian/Indo-centric as ever, even with the inclusion of the abovementioned segment on the Chinese New Year (goodness, there really are Chinese people in London as well?! Well stone me!) and another on Burns Night (what, Scots too? Wow!). Real gems of clangers included Sunny's fatuous remarks that the Chinese New Year happens every year (gosh what a revelation!), and that Nelson Mandela is well. Yup, one of mankind's true heroes is 'well' when he apparently is/was still recovering from an unspecified lung condition. Not so much as any kind of well wishes from Mr. G! Oh and let's not forget, Mr. G. has evidence of an afterlife! Well stone me! Of course, he missed the perfect chance of a world first and exclusive there by not presenting this 'evidence.' Ummm... Psychic poodles, anyone?

Yes, that is 'Sunny and Shay talking about the rich diversity of life in London,' to quote the station blurb. Last Saturday, in addition to topics already mentioned we were treated to such gems of London interest as Sunny's impending minor eye op, women earning more in a relationship than the men, pre-nups, a 'beauty consultant' on, well, moisturising and all kinds of life-or-death issues like that and finally even going into the subject of skin bleaching with a casual attitude of it being a 'personal matter' (excuse me?! Many if not most of the skin bleaches that are often still openly to be found, or at least 'under the counter,' have been illegal for yonks and are highly dangerous to people's health! And even use of the legal, less harmful variety at the very least displays a less than healthy mentality. What on earth does it matter what shade of what colour anybody is? From albino white to darkest black, are we not all human beings of the same value regardless? If you prick us, do we not bleed?) (Now here they completely missed talking about an issue of real relevance to many of London's communities in a responsible and relevant way.), more about one or the other Grewal's dad, spring cleaning and throwing out their 'old' clothes, women 'seeming' to cope better with pain than men, advocacy of people going to theatres/cinemas using deodorant, and advocacy of tattoos (they both have - figures, somehow...).

Music on last Saturday's S&S Show? Two desi tracks, one Cee-Lo Green, and The Police's Every Breath You Take, twice because, presumably, it is so good (as well as Mrs. G.'s fave). Or was it perhaps because Sting needs the royalties?

So yes, a show that was full of rich talk-oriented content specifically relevant to Londoners and fully reflective of the rich diversity of life in London and London's many diverse communities. Not. When it comes down to it, there's also precious little talk of any real value in there, more a whole load of utterly inane babble.

How on earth David Robey and BBC London 94.9 can possibly imagine that The Sunny & Shay Show meets the remit of the BBC's local radio broadcasting license, or even their own stated aims, truly beggars belief. This pathetic excuse of a show with its even more pathetic excuse for 'presenters' does nothing but make a complete laughing stock of BBC London 94.9.

For sanity's sake, bring back DJ Ritu's A World in London. And Mick & Lester's Folkwaves in the East Midlands, and all the other specialist music programmes that were axed there alongside it.

Please join the campaigns and help preserve specialist music programming on local radio!

Just a reminder:

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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