- 30 Oct 06, 01:23 PM
Visit London’s Aldwych on an evening and you’ll see loads of folk milling about in dinner jackets. Who are these people? Theatreland party guests or BBC World Service continuity announcers waiting to start their shifts?
Well, the former, of course but the image of immaculately dressed ladies and gentlemen addressing the world from London is an enduring one. Indeed, it is said that BBC studios were designed so that starched cuffs couldn’t inadvertently knock important controls.
This weekend we look to the future, however, as we search for a young continuity announcer for our forthcoming “Generation Next” week. It’s all about seeing the world through the eyes of the planet’s under-18s.
We invited UK schools who had recently run licensed radio stations to nominate students and this Saturday a bunch of them will come to Bush House for coaching from some of our professional broadcasters. They’ll also record audition material for their bid to be a finalist. More than forty million listeners could hear their work so it’s a pretty big deal for them.
But we have a dilemma - some of the entrants we’ve heard demonstrate maturity, authority and a vocal resonance well beyond their years. They will sit very well on air and bring youthful insight to our journalism. But if they don’t actually sound young and recognisably different to our listeners, what’s the point of all this you might argue.
Well, we’re inviting World Service listeners to influence the judges’ decision by commenting on their favourites by text and email. I’ll let you know when it’s all up on the website in case you want to join in… and of course I’ll let you know if any of the hopefuls turn up in black tie.
Steve Martin is on air editor, BBC World Service