'Specialist Music' On BBC Local Radio Campaigns News 23rd 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!

Some more really good news with regard to DJ Ritu's A World in London. If you have been suffering from severe withdrawal symptoms - and who hasn't! - you can now enjoy a repeat of both the first and second halves of the excellent show broadcast on 4th December 2010 with the superb special on Iranian popular music with the equally excellent Fari Bradley as DJ Ritu's studio guest in the second half. Due to technical complications, Part 1 is on Soundcloud, Part 2 on MixCloud. But as both are embedded at right for your convenience, this shouldn't really matter at all.

Feeling better already hearing the mellifluous tones of DJ Ritu's voice and her fabulous show again? Well, feast some more with the Armenian Music master class from AWiL 10th July 2010, uploaded to YouTube by Music of Armenia director Hasmik Movsisian in three parts:

Part 1      Part 2      Part 3

One of the Armenian musicians mentioned by Hasmik Movsisian, duduk master Tigran Aleksanyan, is already very familiar to this site, and a profile of him can be found here. For the last several years, Tigran Aleksanyan has also been doing great things in collaboration with experimental folk musician Andrew Cronshaw. (Incidentally, something like 90 per cent of Armenian surnames end in some variant or other of -ian or -yan - thus, Charles Aznavour was originally Aznavorian.)

A World In London by DJ Ritu, dec 4th 2010 part 1 by djritu

Dj Ritu/A World In London. Part 2, Dec 4th 2010 by Djritu on Mixcloud


Also, DJ Ritu is working hard on a temporary new show to be hosted on MixCloud very soon! All this and so much more can be found on DJ Ritu's web site, of course - go there to keep in touch with what's developing!

From The Campaigns...

While here in Blighty, we have to fight to keep, or regain, invaluable, excellent and popular local radio shows like DJ Ritu's A World in London and Mick Peat & Lester Simpson's Folkwaves, over in the normally pretty short-sighted, blinkered US of A an excellent world music show directed and hosted by radio and world music veteran Chris Heim, and produced by KMUW, Global Village has just gone nationwide and is being distributed to public radio stations across the United States, as the World Music Central web site reports.

How come US public radio leads the way where the BBC has become completely blinkered and axes shows like AWiL and Folkwaves and others? (Including in March also the World Service's Mark Cole's World of Music - if memory serves, the longest running BBC world music show, originally presented by Andy Kershaw and then the late Charlie Gillett.)

The AWiL campaign is at last about to gain its 1,000th Facebook supporter, a pretty decent achievement given that general world music doesn't have the extensive and close-knit network of mutual support that 'folkies' enjoy through folk clubs and personal contact.

Both aficionados of general world music and of folk music will be aware of Mosi Conde, a griot originally from Guinea Conakry, who 'drummed up' support at the recent Folkwaves protest outside the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards as part of the AWiL contingent that attended in solidarity. Already a guest on AWiL last year, this outstanding musician's debut album Kaira Kora Afrika with his ensemble of the same name is this week reviewed on Rainlore's World of Music, complete with a sample track/clip to whet everyone's appetite. Have a look and a listen, it's a fabulous album that I for one wouldn't be without anymore!

After last week's howling mad episode of The Sunny & Shay Show - the sixth in a row that I braved! - with psychic dogs and all, I really had enough. More than! So, instead, this week I once again gave my full and undivided attention (at least, as far as humanly possible) to the show that replaced Folkwaves and several other 'specialist music' shows on BBC East Midlands Radio. Yes folks, it was last Monday's Richard Spurr Show!

Mad Dogs And Englishmen

Or rather, one mad female of that species and Englishmen, I should say, for the dogs concerned can't be blamed for their owner's madness and this being projected unto them. Yes, Monday is 'LL and the PPs' night on the Richard Spurr Show. Linda Lancashire and the psychic poodles. (Some people really should not be allowed to own animals, other than incidental parasites, perhaps.) But more of the barking LL and her lipstick-wearing (?!) woofers Hilda and Tululah later.

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Let's go over the first two hours with a 'live' blow-by-blow - give or take - account first.

Seems like a good way to start the show - The Bangles and Manic Monday. Given the context. Ah, loads of 'what's coming up' waffle - ok, nothing unusual really, pretty much standard procedure on any programme. Ooh, another track already, Travis and Flowers In The Window. Slightly obscure, perhaps? And more about what's coming up already, but no beef. Geez! Oh no - not the comfy chair, pleeaase! Andy Williams and Can't Get Used To Losing You - nice if you like bland MOR, otherwise, torture! Starting to lose concentration already...

Some twaddle about food or canteen food and chocolate bars (bad for you Spurr, don't you know!). Oh, and some meat of a sort - we're introduced to The Railway pub in Leicestershire, starting with a lengthy chat about pub food between Spurr and the landlord - stretches things out nicely, I guess. Annoying echo on the line, it seems. And swiftly, more MOR/GO music. Yawwwn! Back to The Railway and the Pub Quiz questions! Wow, this is fascinating - 1) what is the second heaviest land animal, 2) Tragedy is an anagram of which word? (hmm, isn't anagram a rather taxing word for the kind of people who listen to this?), and 3) How many numbers between zero and 99 contain the letter A? (Sod me, that's a tricky one - is that decimal system or hex, I wonder?) Wow! Are these questions going to require an Einstein?

F U2 Bono and Why In The Name Of Love. Can't stomach these self-anointed pop star 'saviors.' And now Spurr repeats the PQQs - on the spur of the moment, perhaps? More music, why not, but Elton John's super-saccarine Candle In The Wind? Do me a favour. (Ever wondered what would happen if you broke wind over a lighted candle? No, for goodness' sake, don't try this at home!) Oh dear, it's Mr. Spurr's favourite for karaoke singing - quick, the man needs therapy!

We have another phone guest it would seem, 'Foody Blogger' or something (the attention is wandering more and more) - how utterly fashinating. Yawwn. Something about parking charges differing in different parts of the country as well now - might as well get every last bit of mileage out of the conversation. Wow! Another track. Ooh, looks like there've been a few texts re: the PQ. Some more waffle about possible quotas for women in exec jobs and Royal Mail wasteful use of rubber bands, anything to keep going I suppose, before 'Foody Blogger' or whatever finally goes forth and multiplies (or not).

More music again, Baby I Love You, can't remember and didn't get who - I mean, who can keep concentrating on this? More waffle on what's coming up - yawwwwn. And New Order with Regrets. Already regretting spending my time listening to this. At least with the S&S Show, it's possible to have some fun with heavy urine extraction, but this is just so dull... Another PQQ texter. More music - Got My Mind Set On You, George Harrison. And Gerry and the Pacemakers, How Do You Do It. (Well Gerry old

son, when a mommy bee and a daddy bee... Oh, not what you meant - phew, thank goodness!)

End of the first hour at last! Something vaguely interesting - news (could have come from London for all it's worth) and traffic.

The second hour starts with some (pre-recorded, of course) woofs, supposedly from the psychedelic pooches. And Whitney Houston, I Wanna Dance With Somebody. Well, as long as it's not with me babe, don't know where you've been! More waffle about what's still to come on the show. Yawwwwwwn. We're really stretching things out, aren't we? Repeat of PQQs, and now Bill Withers and Lovely Day. Not here it isn't - boring night more like.

Another phone guest - Craig Deakin, sounds like. Some falsetto singer. OK, so he wears trousers that are too tight. Hmm, got urinated on by a tiger... Whatever gets you through the night. All this stuff has already turned into just so much background noise, it's just too boring. And more music. CD's a drag queen also, character name Silver Jubilee. Very imaginative. Should I phone to suggest Ms. Cupid Stunt? (I'll never forgive Kenny Everett for stealing that one from me!) Ah well, too late anyway, not listening live. Snore. Yet another reminder of the PQQs.

The Eagles, Lying Eyes. Always thought it sounded more like lying a**e. Weather. It's February, what do you expect? Couple of texters for the PQQs. Yawwwwwwn. What? Oh, Blondie, Heart of Glass. Followed by three more texters for the PQQs. Snore. Just then a caller at last! Wow! A male trucker (immediately reminds of the ancient and venerable I Like Trucking song from the Not! The Nine O'Clock News folks) - complete blur, boring, and I can't get that song out of my head now. Truck off already, will ya?

And more music, Sandy Shaw attempting Always Something There To Remind Me. Lot of waffle, it seems. And yet another track, feck (it's a nice Irish word, btw, not what you think!) knows what, too distracted to care. End of second hour! News, traffic.

We're coming to the real beef at long, long, long, long last! LL and the PPs! Can't wait anymore! The psychopathic - err, neurotic - Linda. Lancashire, that is. And her, oh alright, psychic poodles. (Never actually in the studio anyway. Just a pre-recorded woof effect.) Oh get on with it instead of all this waffle and more music. Some woofing, and those darn PQQs again. Yawwwwwn! More music, more PQQ texters. (Beginning to wonder if they're real or made up by the production team?) Snore.

It's 9.13 pm and at last Ms. Lancs. puts in an appearance. Oh dear, something about the pooches having had a booster jab and feeling under the weather today, not even talking to anybody. Feck! They talk? Hopefully something more intelligent than the gobsh**e LL espouses. Horoscopes Aries to Leo, or whatever. More music, and yet again a reminder of the PQQs!

And back to Ms. L.'s pooches pooh. What's this?! The psidekick poodles wear what? Lipstick?!?!?!?! And they put it on themselves?! Feckin' clever bitches! (No kiddin' - didn't imagine this!) Should be in showbiz. Some more horoscopes, more music, more bovine manure with LL and yet more horoscopes (same thing, of course).

And The Byrds (yay! Electric folk rock!) and Turn Turn Turn. Yep, sure is enough to turn any semi-intelligent creature's stomach, this Linda L. plus Hilda and Tululah sh**e. Oh no - the PQQs yet again. Some power problems in between it seems, and now again. More music.

Looks like LL and the PPs are lost in the power cuts. Perhaps, dare one hope, for good? More chatter with feck knows whom - who cares. Rod Stewart when he could still sing with Maggie May. Looks like power cuts/technical probs have been resolved. More PQQ texters. And another caller, female! Does that make, what, two callers? Wow. I'm impressed. Yawwwwn. Ooh, she's a feckin' genius and all, gets all three PQQs right! 1) rhino, 2) gyrated, 3) none. (Hmm, 'rhino gyrated none' - some sort of hidden code?) You learn something new every day! Feck off to caller, waffle, George Michael and Faith. Wham, bang, thank you... Well, it's the end, thank goodness. Big sigh of relief.

Right, time for a little analysis. Chat and news oriented show? Chat, of sorts, news - just a bulletin on the hour. Lots of mainly mainstream, MOR/GO music. (GOs - golden oldies - are actually acceptable under the terms of the BBC's local radio broadcasting license.) But where on earth is the local/regional content? The Richard Spurr Show is even carried on BBC Radio Shropshire - now by what stretch of the imagination is Salopia in the East Midlands? With that in mind, would one really expect local/regional content from the East Midlands?

Over all, this is the kind of show that can be found on dozens of commercial radio stations, local and national, only - worse. It lacks any kind of substantial content, and there aren't even enough listeners to provide a phone-in caller base. And the LL and the PPs segment really does take the biscuit. Or rather, the urine - it insults any semi-wit's intelligence.

On the positive side however... The show is well produced and within professional standards. I know most Folkwaves campaigners can't stand his guts (so stop eating them will ya!), but actually, Richard Spurr is a good, professional presenter who seems to be doing the best of a bad job. (For all we know he might not even like his current job himself, but hey, a man's got to eat...) Objectively, Spurr himself comes across as fairly affable, and importantly, reasonably intelligent, and thoroughly professional.

The only front on which this show can be criticised is its lack of local/regional content, thus violating the terms of the BBC's local radio broadcasting license, and generally poor content. I really can only suggest abstaining from criticising Richard Spurr personally. (I also doubt that he has much, if any, input on the show's content.) It is pointless and in my opinion can only be counter-productive. It wasn't his call to axe Folkwaves and the other shows.

This situation is a completely different one to that applying to The Sunny & Shay Show, the programme that replaced DJ Ritu's A World in London on BBC London 94.9. There you have a couple of completely inane, inept, rank amateurs playing at being presenters and being allowed to do so by an equally inept and unprofessional production team. (For more detailed comments see previous installments of this campaigns news, either on its own pages or in the news section of the Other World Music page.)

Devon Folk

We learned this week that Richard Digance's Devon Folk show on BBC Radio Devon came to an end on 13th February, and with a repeat show as well, apparently. Another one gone!

Although it would seem that Digance left as he wanted to pursue other interests, the question arises why BBC Devon didn't find another presenter for the show and instead replaced it with a classic top 40 show.

Folkwaves Campaign Logo

AWiL Campaign Logo

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The note on the web site of original presenter of Devon Folk Jim Causley, concerning his leaving of the show, throws some revealing light on the attitude of Radio Devon.

Your 'Specialist Music' Programme Needs YOU!

Support The Campaigns!

The loss of Richard Digance's Devon Folk show illustrates yet again why much more than just the reinstatement of the brilliant A World in London and Folkwaves shows, but rather diversity and 'specialist music' programming itself are at stake with the respective campaigns.

You can find out more about the campaigns and how to join/support them here:

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
AWiL On twitter
Save AWiL Online Petition

Also, don't forget the SOS Skues on Sundays campaign - details can be found in last week's news.

Please sign the AWiL online petition above if you haven't done so already. It's really simple and easy to register, and the whole procedure only takes a couple of minutes!

And of course you can also keep up with DJ Ritu on her own web site!

Other Campaign News

Don't forget there's less than a week to till the Bring Back Folkwaves Protest which takes place outside BBC Nottingham, 7-9pm, Monday 28th February (the time Folkwaves went out) and where its replacement is produced, and where Stuart Thomas wielded his axe. There'll be protest songs, Not Nigel's gig guide, live music, dancing and more. The campaign are inviting the media. Bring your voices and instruments. Be there if you can!


Meanwhile, a number of other folk and related programmes have turned up that may need adding to those listed on 17th January. Here's a list 'in the rough':

http://www.radiowey.co.uk/ Bob's Folk Show - Tuesdays 9pm to 11pm
http://www.wcrfm.com Roots & Branches - 10pm Thursdays midnight repeat Sunday
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p001d7lt Genevieve Tudor's Sunday Folk Show - 7pm to 9pm
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p001d7z8 The Johnny Coppin Show - Sunday 1pm to 2pm
http://diversityfm.co.uk Off The Beaten Tracks - Friday 1pm + repeats
http://www.expressfm.com/rooting-around-293063 Scattering The Roots 4pm - 6pm
http://www.speysoundradio.com/?q=node/15 Folk 'n' That Wednesday 8pm - 9pm
http://www.americana-uk.com/ Bob Patterson check website for details
http://www.forestfm.co.uk/ Forest Folk Paul Burke - Monday 8pm to 10pm


And again, please support the campaigns! Take heart from what people are achieving in North Africa and the Middle East. Together, we CAN bring about change!

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