iPlayer Radio What's New?

Announcers have super-powers

Thursday 21 May 2009, 18:46

Alan Smith Alan Smith

super-hearing

ANNOUNCERS' WEEK: DAY FOUR

Friends are always telling me I have the best job in the world. "You spend your entire working day listening to Radio4!" they say. Well, that's true, but only partly true. You see, we hear the programmes, but not in the same way we would at home. All the announcers have developed a weird, secondary sense of hearing - one where we're just aware of what's going on, while concentrating on other things.

The other things could involve testing the lines for Any Questions, checking the audio levels in The Archers or making sure we know who's presenting Front Row. On top of that, we field calls from producers making sure their programmes are ready to go, the Met Office with updated shipping forecasts or the team in the office with material for our announcements, so there's little time to actually listen to the programmes!

But this secondary sense of hearing is amazingly effective and kicks in every time there's more than 2 seconds of silence on air. When that happens, we all drop whatever else we're working on and jump to action. Was the silence just part of the programme, or has something unscheduled happened? 99% of the time it's the former, but every now and then we have to step in and sort things out (that's when your pulse races a bit too!).

So we do hear the programmes, but we can't always listen to them. There is one great secret the announcers have though, and it concerns that secondary sense of hearing. Away from work, we can listen to what someone is saying, while evesdropping on another conversation. So if you find yourself next to a Radio 4 Announcer, beware - they might be listening to your every word!

Comments

Jump to comments pagination
 
  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 1.

    "But this secondary sense of hearing is amazingly effective and kicks in every time there's more than 2 seconds of silence on air. When that happens, we all drop whatever else we're working on and jump to action. Was the silence just part of the programme, or has something unscheduled happened?"

    Indeed many people don't realise just how long 10 seconds, of silence, really is - and by 15 seconds it really is starting to be "The Dead Air Show" to those listening...

 
 

This entry is now closed for comments

Share this page

More Posts

Previous
Book at Bedtime? I wish!

Wednesday 20 May 2009, 17:09

Next
Stay tuned...

Friday 22 May 2009, 07:01

About this Blog

Behind the scenes at Radio 4 and Radio 4 Extra from producers, presenters and programme makers.

Blog Updates

Stay updated with the latest posts from the blog.

Subscribe using:

What are feeds?

Follow Radio 4

Follow BBC Radio 4 & BBC Radio 4 Extra on Twitter for programme highlights and interesting retweets. 

Woman's Hour Power List 2014

Identifying the top ten game changers operating in the UK today.
See the latest on our blog
Find out about this year's panel and theme
Woman's Hour Power List judges, 2014 Woman's Hour Power List judges, 2014

 

Identifying the top ten game changers operating in the UK today.

 

See the latest on our blog

 

Find out about this year's panel and theme