Wednesday 24 Sep 2014
In 2011, BBC Radio 2's commitment to specialist music and documentaries continues to flourish. Today (24 February) the network reaffirms its commitment to specialist music programming with some key changes to the weekly schedule. And documentaries will now be broadcast four times a week, with some exciting new announcements.
From Monday 4 April, three long-standing specialist music shows will move to an earlier timeslot of 9.30-10pm.
In the summer, Radio 2 will also be introducing a new weekly strand of specialist music short series, featuring musical genres not already covered on the network, and ensuring there will be more specialist music content on the network than ever before. More information will be released about these later in the spring.
Bob Shennan, Controller, Radio 2 and 6 Music, comments: "Specialist music is at the heart of Radio 2's music output. And the change to the scheduling of three of our long-standing shows, along with the network's fantastic range of blues, country, folk, jazz, soul, not to mention concerts, exemplifies our commitment to bringing these specialist genres to our audience."
The schedule change also brings with it more documentary slots, including documentaries in a regular place every Monday through to Thursday at 10pm, up from three times a week currently.
This year, listeners can look forward to The Mozart Of Madras about Slumdog Millionaire composer A R Rahman, named as one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time Magazine, Stuart Maconie telling the story of legendary entertainer George Formby, programming marking the 40th anniversary of The Old Grey Whistle Test, a two-parter commemorating Malcolm McLaren, and special seasons marking the 30 years since the death of reggae legend Bob Marley and the 70th birthday of folk hero Bob Dylan – but this is just a snapshot, there'll be lots more.
Bob Shennan comments: "I'm hugely proud of the diverse range and scope of Radio 2's documentaries. There's an inspiring mix of programmes coming up this year and the regular 10pm slot means listeners will know where to come for their music knowledge fix."
These schedule developments follow the recent announcement that Jo Whiley will present a new show from Mondays to Wednesdays, 8-9.30pm. Jo will be the listeners' trusted guide, steering them through a broad range of popular music based on her recommendations and including album tracks as well as unearthing musical gems that are rarely heard elsewhere on Radio 2.
On Thursdays from 8pm to 10pm, Jo continues to present Radio 2 In Concert whose recent gigs include OMD, Jamiroquai, Paolo Nutini, Rufus Wainwright, Seal, Scissor Sisters, Manics, and Paul Weller.
Through the week, The Blues Show with Paul Jones (Mondays), Best Of Jazz with Jamie Cullum (Tuesdays), Folk And Acoustic with Mike Harding (Wednesdays), The Country Show with Bob Harris (Thursdays), and Music Goes Round with Desmond Carrington (Fridays) will remain at the core of the evening schedule from 7pm to 8pm.
At the weekend, Huey Morgan (overnight from Saturday 2 April, midnight till 3am) raids his personal record collection. Elaine Paige On Sunday (1-3pm) entertains with a programme packed full of songs from the shows. Alan Titchmarsh plays a mixture of popular and classical music (Sunday, 7-8.30pm), and Russell Davies celebrates the art, craft and inspiration of the popular song (Sunday, 9-10pm).
Other recent music highlights include Radio 2's Folk Awards, Young Chorister of the Year Awards and Young Brass Soloist Award, plus a special from the 2011 Celtic Connections festival in Scotland hosted by Deacon Blue's Ricky Ross and encompassing world, folk, Americana, traditional, bluegrass and everything in between.
Documentary highlights from this past year have been on a diverse range of music-based subjects ranging from Desmond Carrington's Icons Of The Fifties and The Musical to Come To The Cabaret and The Santana Story.
And Radio 2's presenters continue to be recognised across the world for their commitment to music. In 2010, Johnnie "Pirate" Walker won Gold in the Best Regularly Scheduled Music Programme at the New York Festival, a show which encapsulated the pirate radio spirit of the Sixties. And in February 2011, Paul Jones's Rhythm And Blues Show was the recipient of the International prize in the Blues Foundation Keep The Blues Alive annual awards ceremony in Memphis – an honour rightly deserved in recognition of Paul's commitment to his much-loved show.
Listeners can catch all their favourite shows on the Radio 2 website at bbc.co.uk/radio2.
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