Across a lot of the north of England and the south and east of Scotland the ‘oldies’ stations are mainly owned by Bauer Media and all broadcast exactly the same programming. It generally comes from Manchester. Each of the transmitters it goes through uses a different radio station name to give the illusion of localness, but is relaying the same ‘greatest hits’ network.
Clever trickery means that a pre-recorded “It’s Radio City 2…” will fire off in Liverpool whilst “It’s Radio Aire 2…” fires off in Leeds, and so on in all of the dozens of locations. The idea is that the presenter’s sentence starts with that pre-recorded phrase and then continues with whatever it may be he (for it’s virtually never a ‘she’) is saying. In theory the ordinary listener shouldn’t notice the disjointed inflection as he tries to match the ‘bounce’ of the recorded phrase. And of course, since nobody’s actually listening (as opposed to having the station on in the background) nobody notices when he predominantly fails to ‘match’.
Sadly, presenters are only allowed to speak after every three or four songs have finished playing on ‘the greatest hits‘ network. He will usually trot out a bit of standard on-line show-prep about a survey that says how many hours we must sleep in the day in order to live to a hundred. Or how many Queens in history have enjoyed Marmite. Then of course, he will list the artists due to be played, and go to a very long commercial break.
After the adverts finally shut the feck up, then the songs play one after the other devoid of any presentation of anything to make the listener feel special or the radio station appear compellingly ‘unique’.
The one exception to the tedious and lonely format was the weekly show presented by the legendary Tony Blackburn. Tony served his listeners with a very personalised fun filled selection of songs and infectiously interacted with the songs and the listeners. His listeners.
With Tony, the songs are indeed played back-to-back, but with his voice darting around them to read out dedications and pass on information. Then he gets out of the way to let the song actually play.
Sadly, Tony Blackburn has now left Bauer’s Greatest Hits Network.
So, now the station has nobody presenting radio shows. Just song after song after song and then somebody boringly talking three times each hour. The Greatest Hits Network has now completely died.
The situation is slightly better in Liverpool on Radio City 2 only because it has to have some local shows with people such as Rick Houghton & Simon Ross from Liverpool who used to be on Radio City, then it also has the Pete Price phone-in and in the networked output a soul and a country show, but agree overall, the neighboring Key 2 & Rock FM2 just has the networked schedule, they probably drop the travel updates and local news in and that’s about it. Previously of course before Bauer did the 1, 2 & 3 stations, these 2 stations were networked as part of the Magic AM network with only a local breakfast show, now they don’t even have that even whilst under relaunched local names.
They should definitely allow presenters more freedom and to talk more often, I only listen to the Liverpool output on Radio City 2, no wonder why!
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