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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

"It's night time in the city"

The Bob Dylan Theme Time Radio Hour business is truly rum. I understand why Sirius signed him up in the States – to lure people to their satellite service instead of XM. (Having spent like drunken sailors the services are now being forced to merge so we'll have to see how long this goes on.) I understand why he did it – they paid him a lot of money. I don't understand how the programmes come together. He might like to give the idea of some lone wolf deejay holed up in the middle of the night like Wolfman Jack in American Grafitti, but this is clearly the most produced bit of music radio on any airwaves anywhere. I don't believe he picks the music. I think he approves the policy but broadly it's put together by somebody else and he reads the links, most of which are so prosaic they'd be considered a little bland on Heart FM. What makes them interesting is his over-enunciated delivery (he plays with words for his own amusement just like he does with his own songs)and the arcane way he says things like "this was made in 1940 and 6". But because it's Bob Dylan, Radio Two blow half their programme budget buying it in and it ends up on 6Music. Now if you went to either of these services and told them you wanted to play Arthur Prysock, The Dixie Hummingbirds, the Skillet Lickers or Uncle Dave Macon, wouldn't they call security and have you thrown out of the building?

2 comments:

  1. Pedantic fact correction: it was XM that signed Dylan in the States, to lure listeners away from Sirius, not the other way round.

    I agree with your speculation about how it's produced, but I'm still pleased that the Skillet Lickers have made it onto 6 Music, irrespective of how they were smuggled in. There's only so much Killers and Kaiser Chiefs that these two ears can take.

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  2. Rum indeed. I heard someone call him the Great Pretender the other week. No-one's complained about the music selections though, and those people that I gave CD-burnt downloads to, ring up to ask for more. Which indicates that as usual, our radio stations are underestimating what their 'customers' are actually capable of listening to.

    Here's a novel idea.
    Why doesn't someone take a dullard local BBC station over, rebrand it with a three-letter name, fill it with knowledgeable and witty presenters and adopt a grown-up musical policy for daytime shows. That'd be a good place for a show like TTRH.

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