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The Glass Box for Friday.

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Eddie Mair | 12:25 UK time, Friday, 20 June 2008

Be your own radio critic! Tell us here, frankly, what you thought of tonight's programme. In the PM office we meet every night at 1800 in this Glass Box:


We talk about the content of the programme and try to give an honest assessment of what worked and what didn't...the things we missed and the places where our ambitions were not met. THIS virtual glass box you are looking at is where you are invited - indeed encouraged - to be your own critic. Comment on our hour by clicking on the comment link. Members of the production team will read the comments, and the editor should comment too. Click on The Glass Box link on the right of the page to read previous entries.


  • 1. At 3:28pm on 20 Jun 2008, Thunderbird wrote:

    ha ha ha, I'm first !

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  • 2. At 3:51pm on 20 Jun 2008, vainly_here wrote:

    I'd like to criticise my own radio.
    My main criticism is that it has a CD player and so I cannot listen to the many tapes I own.
    My second criticism is that sometimes when I switch on the ignition, the sound is very loud and distorted. The only way to deal with this seems to be to switch off the ignition and start again. I tried this once while travelling, forgetting that modern cars have a steering lock that operates when the key is removed. Despite the fact that the keyhole is hidden by the steering wheel spoke, I managed to get the key back in and restart before anything nasty happened.
    My third criticism is that if I tune to a certain commercial station, the Traffic programme doesn't work.

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  • 3. At 4:05pm on 20 Jun 2008, mygloriousleader wrote:

    I wish to make a complaint
    This parrot is dead

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  • 4. At 4:26pm on 20 Jun 2008, mittfh wrote:

    You wish to make a complaint? Take the hard work out of it - let a computer do it for you! If you haven't discovered Scott Pakin's Automatic Complaint-Letter Generator, where have you been for the last 13 years? Go there (pakin dot org slash complaint), have fun, and maybe post a sample paragraph on The Beach...

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  • 5. At 4:54pm on 20 Jun 2008, jonnie wrote:


    It's probably due to the certain commercial station not transmitting the TA Traffic flag - in the RDS data.

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  • 6. At 4:57pm on 20 Jun 2008, jonnie wrote:

    My complaint about Mr. Eddie Mair

    The furor over jingoism has been an acutely frustrating cultural phenomenon: pregnant with great possibility, touching on vital and fascinating issues, yet initially formulated in a one-sided and materialistic manner that will respond to this letter with hyperbolic and uncorroborated accusations and assaults on free speech any day now. What's important to note, however, is that Mr. Eddie Mair's recommendations share many of the same characteristics. In the text that follows, I don't intend to recount all of the damage caused by Eddie's mumpish ventures but I do want to point out that when one examines the ramifications of letting Eddie gain a virtual stranglehold on many facets of our educational system, one finds a preponderance of evidence leading to the conclusion that moral relativism was founded on a world system of enslavement and land theft. If that fact hurts, get over it; it's called reality. And for another dose of reality, consider that some people don't seem to mind that Eddie likes to brandish the word "anthropoteleological" (as it is commonly spelled) to hoodwink people into believing that unfounded attacks on character, loads of hyperbole, and fallacious information are the best way to make a point. What a gloomy world we live in! Lastly, I can't end this letter without mentioning that Mr. Eddie Mair's belief systems are all too often clad in the irascible garb of feudalism

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  • 7. At 5:31pm on 20 Jun 2008, David_McNickle wrote:

    VH 2, Convert your tapes to CDs.

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  • 8. At 5:34pm on 20 Jun 2008, David_McNickle wrote:

    jonnie 6, By jingo, that was quite a read. I blame it on Eddie's haircut.

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  • 9. At 5:37pm on 20 Jun 2008, Thunderbird wrote:

    Thanks for that Jonnie. just one small thing.... What planet are you from?

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  • 10. At 5:51pm on 20 Jun 2008, David_McNickle wrote:

    The first thing I turn to in the newspaper is the letters page. Keep the letters slot.

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  • 11. At 6:04pm on 20 Jun 2008, Sarah wrote:

    Evening all,

    Enjoyed readers' letters tonight.Alan Thomas should count himself lucky it was only his name Eddie got wrong. I've posted one comment so far - on the BBC showing Formula One next year.My comment was read by a man. Presumably political correctness didn't go mad as I am of the opposite sex. In the noughties, women are allowed to be intrested in sport.

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  • 12. At 6:16pm on 20 Jun 2008, jonnie wrote:


    Blame Mittfh at #4 ;-)

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  • 13. At 6:31pm on 20 Jun 2008, normanmugabe wrote:

    It's about family. The good the bad and the ugly.
    Wonderful stuff.

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  • 14. At 6:56pm on 20 Jun 2008, RJMolesworth wrote:

    jonnie 12, Don't apologise it had me laughing out loud. Very few things can do that these days. Eddie does when he's on form like tonight.

    Very good programme tonight. I thought the renewables interview was excellent. Very well structured and revealed some interesting agendas. Selling Scottish tidal power to Europe being one. I think I understand the rationale behind that but the cost of the grid upgrade (4 billion) must be factored into the cost of generation. A fair proportion should be paid out of the generator’s profits.

    An admission that communities should get a piece of the action was a bonus (can you see the government allowing that to happen). Electricity generation is so important we need a programme, possibly a series of programmes on the subject to flush out the vested interests and see the wood for the coal burning generators.

    Letters was good. Good decision to keep it.

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  • 15. At 8:24pm on 20 Jun 2008, Fifi wrote:

    It did strike me for the first time (I'm a bit slow these days...) that asking listeners to TELL you whether to keep the Letters Slot would tend to bring in responses only from those who SEND emails or blog postings anyway.

    Listeners who just listen wouldn't participate in your survey, would they?

    I still think it was better when you had Letters in EVERY programme, not just a load of them on Friday, though.

    Good prog tonight generally. A fine mix of light and dark topics. Especially welcome on a day largely wasted on dealing with my car's fallen-off wheel!

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  • 16. At 8:25pm on 20 Jun 2008, Fifi wrote:

    Other hazelnut and chocolate bars are available.


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  • 17. At 9:39pm on 20 Jun 2008, sacrebleu1 wrote:

    Do keep the letters, please.

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  • 18. At 10:08pm on 20 Jun 2008, Deepthought wrote:

    Ah, the PM theme. How I miss it, not.

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  • 19. At 00:51am on 21 Jun 2008, Amanda Lewis wrote:

    Hello, Friday's editor here
    Thanks for your interest in the programme. It's been fun reading the comments on this and the other threads today.
    A few problems to cope with during the show - Our Europe Correspondent Jonny Dymond was hoping to interview a guest at the EU summit in Brussels, but the guest didn't appear. We couldn't get the quality ISDN line to work so had to speak to Andrew Neil on the telephone. And when we called our UFO expert for the final item, the switchboard where he was blew up, so we had to speak to him on his mobile.
    Amanda Lewis

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  • 20. At 10:21am on 21 Jun 2008, annasee wrote:

    Amanda - reading the list of disasters above, perhaps it's time for a new weekend programme from the PM team, of "The News you SHOULD have heard" ? All the interviews you couldn't use, the stories that were cut at the last minute, and lots of dramatic dialogue recorded from the control desk when things went wrong - a bit like the aircraft black box recorder.

    Now that would be unmissable listening!

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  • 21. At 10:40am on 21 Jun 2008, David_McNickle wrote:

    Am I the only person to scroll to the bottom of the list and work my way back up?

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  • 22. At 1:00pm on 21 Jun 2008, jonnie wrote:

    Poor Amanda, so much to cope with - but the programme was remarkably good.

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  • 23. At 2:03pm on 21 Jun 2008, Amanda Lewis wrote:

    jonnie (22) and annassee (20) - Thanks for your sympathy. I'm sure I've looked after far more disaster-filled programmes than yesterday. Despite the setbacks, things were still rather calm in the little dark cubicle where we sit. That said, I'm not convinced many black box style recordings would be broadcastable when things go really wrong. Too many bleeps required.

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  • 24. At 5:32pm on 21 Jun 2008, Gillianian wrote:

    Amanda (19) You all obviously thrive on the ''seats-of-the-pants'' stuff, and it's amazing how you manage to get it on air without any apparent signs of panic(at least to the listener).
    I appreciate there's little to be done when an interviewee doesn't turn up, but sometimes a well-prepared story has to be dropped at a moment's notice.
    I'm remembering the e-Bay story from 2 or 3 weeks ago which had to be dropped, in spite of Roger telling us that ''the interviewee had some good stuff to say''.
    On such occasions, isn't there a way you could record the interview and do the item the following day?
    I'm sure with something of general interest it wouldn't matter if it wasn't ''hot off the presses'' - it seems a pity to let a good piece go to waste.

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  • 25. At 12:08pm on 22 Jun 2008, Aperitif wrote:

    David (7), How does one go about doing that? I have two tapes that I should like to be able to listen to in the car -- which only has a CD player...

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  • 26. At 12:43pm on 22 Jun 2008, RJMolesworth wrote:

    Aperitif 25

    You need a cable to plug in to your cassette payer's headphones socket that also pugs into the microphone socket of your computer. Then you need program for your computer that allows you to record and save the files in a digital format like MP3. There are many others but I use one called AM Editor.

    If your car CD is newish, it may play CDs writen in MP3 format (very compact). If not you have to convert the digital files files to CD Audio format (a lot less compact so more CDs may be needed). A program like Easy CD-DA Extractor (or others) will write the digitally recorded file in either an MP3 CD or Audio CD format.

    Its quite a lot of effort for just a few tapes but, as tapes get chewed up over time it is a way of preseving the content.

    There are other ways. I think you can buy a tape deck that plugs into the USB connector of you computer. I know you can get one for converting vinyl records.

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  • 27. At 1:04pm on 22 Jun 2008, Aperitif wrote:

    Thank you RJM, I shall investigate.

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