Archives for December 2011

Children's Home at Christmas

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Jo Meek | 11:43 UK time, Friday, 23 December 2011

Christmas presents


5 live is to push the boat out this year by producing an ambitious live show on Christmas Day, broadcast direct from a children's home.

The 25th December, of all days of the year, is the one most of us associate with home and family, particularly children. But what about those children spending an unconventional Christmas, perhaps in a home that isn't their own, or being looked after by adults other than their parents?

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The Year in Radio: What Were Your Highlights?

Heather Davies Heather Davies | 14:31 UK time, Thursday, 22 December 2011

This Christmas Day (Sunday 25th December) at 7pm, 5 live will be broadcasting a two-hour programme about the year in radio.

To some of you this will seem like an obvious thing to do, but some of you may be wondering why we're doing it at all - 5 live is the home of live news and live sport on BBC Radio - so where does a programme about radio fit in?

Well, 5 live's Service License states that its "programming should be designed to inform, entertain and involve." This means providing more than just the news and the sport, but looking at the wider cultural world to help bring context to recent events.

In the current schedule, there are regular slots where panellists discuss the latest newspaper headlines, magazines, TV programmes, books, comedy shows, and there's even a dedicated weekly film review show. Only very occasionally do any of these programmes look at radio. And if you flick around the dial, you'd struggle to find another network doing it either. Radio is lumped under the banner "Media" and seldom discussed, unless there is a breaking news story.

Why is this? Well, there's something to be said for not seeming too inward-looking. One of radio's great strengths is the direct and personal relationship we can have with our listeners - getting right to the heart of the issues that matter to them, being that trusted guide - if we spend too much time thinking about the nuts and bolts of "Radio", do we put listeners off?

Secondly, radio stations have in the past been quite protective of their listenership. They don't want to lose listeners to other networks, so when there have been obvious cross-over moments they've not always been highlighted.

However in the last couple of years things have really changed. We've seen the development of a new type of radio presenter who enjoys breaking down the barriers between themselves and the listener (Richard Bacon on 5 live, Shaun Keaveny on 6 Music, Gemma Cairney on 1Xtra, Alex Baker on Kerrang!) - using things like social media to connect with their audiences in new ways. Being a presenter has become a 24/7 job.

New technology means that radio listening is also different - this year we've seen the launch of on-demand radio via the Radio Player, a cross-industry initiative where you can access the online stream or previously broadcast programmes from most UK radio stations via a keyword search (such as "rock music") - making it as easy to find commercial station Planet Rock as it is to find the Rock Show on Radio 1. As listeners this enables us to be more choosy, and jump around between networks, programmes and even features. And it seems this is a good thing.

In 2011, Radio is in the strongest place it has ever been. More people are listening to the radio than ever before with 90.7% of UK population tuning in to the radio every week and total listening hours up 2% year on year (RAJAR Q3 2011). Technology and fresh talent will be playing a part in this, but 2011 has also been the year of some dramatic breaking news.

We started the year with seemingly endless snow, which made listening to your local radio station a must - which roads were open, were the buses running, had the school decided to shut? There were big stories internationally with the Egyptian revolution, earthquakes in New Zealand and Japan, the deaths of Osama Bin Laden and Colonel Gaddafi. Back at home, we had the Royal Wedding, the riots and the death of Amy Winehouse - all of these stories broken first on the radio.

But radio is also our trusted guide, the companion that makes the housework go a little quicker, or that drive to work a bit more fun. Radio is incredibly important to lots of us and as a result surely it makes sense to talk about it - where-else - but on the radio.
And so earlier this month BBC Radio 4's Jane Garvey and Key 103's Mike Toolan sat down in a radio studio (with producer Ben Green at the helm) to talk about the year in radio. We covered the big industry stories - the move to Salford, consolidation, Sound Women, local radio - and were joined by radio experts, critics and head honchos - but we also spoke to some big names about their highlights from the year in radio.

Here's BBC Radio 2 and 5 live presenter Simon Mayo with his radio highlights from 2011.

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What was your radio highlight of the year?

Heather Davies is one of the Radio Academy's 30 Under 30 and also works on Sounds of the 20th Century for BBC Radio 2. Heather is @heatherrhian on Twitter.
Radio 2011 is on BBC Radio 5 live on Sunday 25th December at 7pm and repeated on Monday 26th December at 5am. You'll be able to hear it online shortly afterwards and it will also be downloadable as a podcast.

Additional reading:
Independent - Radio: The lost sons of our wars live on in their playlists
Telegraph - From The Archers to Vanessa Feltz: Radio review of 2011
Radio Talk Podcast Review of the Year

5 live's sprinkling of great listening for Christmas...

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Natalie Mace | 14:34 UK time, Wednesday, 21 December 2011

5 live's Christmas podcasts 2011 

After you’ve finished watching the Queen’s Speech, but before you head to the kitchen for a late-night turkey sandwich, why not download some of the sparkling content you may have missed on 5 live over Christmas and New Year ?

Bookmark the 5 live Christmas Specials podcast link for the best news, sport and entertainment content from 2011. It will be updated daily over the next fortnight.

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Sound of 2011: Celebrity Secret Santa

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Jamie Stangroom | 13:51 UK time, Wednesday, 21 December 2011


Jamie Stangroom and Alice Cooper


For some reason, best known to absolutely nobody (not even myself), I decided to do a ‘5 Live Rock Star Secret Santa’.

Possibly in a bid to create something to act as a very un-secretive visual gift to promote my 5 Live festive programme: ‘The Sound of 2011’. Which is all about the music of 2011. I kid you not. Or maybe to demonstrate that it’s not just a certain Italian footballer that is (allegedly) capable of random acts of kindness under the guise of ‘Santa’.

And I like to think that the latter at least has been achieved here.

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Fighting Talk: 5 live v 6 Music

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Will Cooper Will Cooper | 16:34 UK time, Wednesday, 14 December 2011

On Christmas Eve Colin Murray presents a special inter-radio station showdown between 5 live and 6 music with a festive and musical twist.

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All aboard the four-hour World Football Phone-in special

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Oliver Dearden | 11:39 UK time, Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Barcelona's players celebrate after Real Madrid's Brazilian defender Marcelo scored an own goal during the 'El clasico' Spanish League football match Real Madrid against Barcelona at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on December 10, 2011

If you’re not a regular listener to Up All Night on Saturday morning between 2.30am and 4am you’d be forgiven for asking what the World Football Phone-in is. But if you’ve never had the pleasure of tuning in before, then you’re missing out.

Not in any way to detract from our 5 live brethren at 606, who will discuss at length the twists and turns of that day’s play on UK pitches, I believe the World Footy phone in really is something special.

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Parking the British bus on the European Union road

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Chris Mason Chris Mason | 14:14 UK time, Friday, 9 December 2011


So, it really was the Lionel Richie shift. All night long. I am a bleary eyed zombie, in a room full of bleary eyed zombies.

Everyone’s conversation starter is how little sleep they’ve had in the last 24 hours. I managed one hour five minutes. And I am grateful for that five minutes.

Tom sitting opposite, a producer for Sky, managed a glorious 90 minutes. Geoff, a veteran British reporter based here in Brussels, has Tom and me both in the lily livered category. He never stopped. And he is still going strong.

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End of year honour for 5 live podcasts

 A boy writes in the book of condolence in front of the AWD Arena on November 11, 2009 in Hanover, Germany. Enke, 32, goalkeeper for Hannover 96 and the German national team, was struck and killed the day before by a train at Neustadt am Rubenberge. Police confirmed that it was suicide.

Two of our podcast seriesFighting Talk and 5 live Sport Specials – have been selected by iTunes as among the very best of the last year in its annual Rewind list.

We’re obviously very proud when our programmes are recognised for their quality, but it’s even more so in these cases due to how they’ve evolved through the year.

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Gone midnight - and the night feels young

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Chris Mason Chris Mason | 23:23 UK time, Thursday, 8 December 2011

It is what Nicky Campbell has called the Lionel Richie shift. Yep, it could go on all night long.

Sitting here in the main press room of the European Summit building in Brussels, the wait goes on.

In front of me, a yawning, cosmopolitan morass of weary looking reporters, nibbling the rims of cardboard coffee cups - and waiting.

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Euro 2012: England expects?

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Will Cooper Will Cooper | 11:10 UK time, Friday, 2 December 2011

An England fan puts up a flag ahead of the EURO 2012 Qualifier match between Bulgaria and England at the Vasil Levski National Stadium on September 2, 2011 in Sofia, Bulgaria.

5 live will be live in Kiev later for the draw for Euro 2012 – a competition that comes at a pivotal time for the English game.

England are in Pot Two, and will be looking for a favourable draw that could see them in the same group as Poland, Greece and the Czech Republic, increasing their chances of getting through to the latter stages.

Progression beyond the group stage in Poland and Ukraine next year, and ideally to victory, is arguably more important than ever for England.

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