Friday 24 November 2017

Just when you think radio can't surprise or move you...

Darragh McManus

Darragh McManus

Well, what do you know? On the very day my cri de couer about 'what to do with 2FM' is published in this paper, that station goes and surprises me with a really good piece.

Dave Fanning's Saturday afternoon magazine show looked at the topic of literature in pop songs, with the host and music journalist Phil Udell together reminiscing about classics like The Cure's Killing an Arab and Kate Bush's Wuthering Heights. (She has just got the rights to include some of Molly Bloom's soliloquy on a song.)

I really liked this. I especially enjoyed hearing the great Killing an Arab played on the radio for the first time since, ooh, around 1981 I would estimate. How could you not love a song based on Albert Camus's classic existentialist novel The Outsider? It appeals to the moody rebel in all of us.

I'm also very much liking Radio 1's World Report. Possibly the shortest programme of the entire broadcasting week, it goes out every Sunday morning for a bare 20 minutes, but is packed with interesting and informative pieces on world affairs. This week they looked at Japanese kids returning to school after the tsunami disaster; the election in Peru; the EU bailout situation in Portugal; and most fascinatingly of all, how a plague of cane toads in Australia is being used to encourage aboriginal children to go to school.

This show is a bit like a radio version of Time or Newsweek or National Geographic; it's like the world news round-up in the paper. Precise, detailed and thoroughly engaging snippets on interesting events around the world.

And, as a welcome change from the norm, the emphasis isn't always on the bad.

The most heartbreaking moment of the last seven days -- maybe the whole year -- came on The John Murray Show. He interviewed Jeremy Prince, father of tragic Phoebe, the Clare teenager who took her own life in Massachusetts in January 2010. The trial of those accused of bullying Phoebe (among other crimes) begins soon.

What a terrible story -- just absolutely, ineffably sad, on every level. This should have been the best year of a young girl's life; it turned out to be the last.

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