There’s something about the radio that fascinates me. I love putting the radio, on a favourite channel I know will play the sort of music I like, leave it on in the background, always there, keeping me company. I can not drive without the radio on, I find myself singing (out-of-tune of course) to songs I like, songs which sometimes take me back to a certain time and place. It’s happened to me before – not remembering what I did last Monday, but remembering the exact feelings I felt when hearing a song from way back in 1997. Yes, music is the definite memory-trigger. It may be a good memory or a painful one, but there’s nothing like a good song to take you back.
To have a good radio station, you need decent deejays. After all, these people have to keep you entertained for hours at end, so a half-decent deejay is a must. My favourite radio station here in England, is BBC Radio One, not necessarily for the type of music they play, but for their great presenters. Have you ever listened in to the Chris Moyles Show? If not, I suggest you do, either live or on a podcast. The show is presented by Chris Moyles and his crew – Comedy Dave and Aled amongst others. Their show is a morning show, full of witty interviews, playing pranks on each other, great games (Car Park Catchphrase is a favourite) and basically people not afraid of taking the mickey out of each other. And at the end of their show, enter the ever-so-cool Fearne Cotton with her daily ‘Good Moooorning!’ and starts off her show. I have a secret crush on Ms. Cotton. I love her style, I love her way of presenting, and even though I don’t know half of the songs she plays, I find myself warming to them, just because she talks about the artists in such a dedicated way, that you can’t help yourself liking them too. Fearne Cotton is the epitome of everything cool and trendy.
During the weekend, we tune in to Italian radio – RDS to be exact. Saturday mornings are Football Mornings on RDS, and not that he needs to (because he does so on a daily basis), but hubby feels the need to catch up on the Italian football scene, who signed who, for how much etc etc. I love RDS too for the simple reason that the deejays are knowledgable ones. They know their songs, they have great radio voices (the husky sort if you know what I mean) and they talk about other things besides the song name and the artist.
And when we’re in Malta we listen in to Maltese radio.
Did you sense the drop in my voice tone and enthusiasm as you read the previous sentence?
Yes, Maltese radio is one big slump. I know it’s not fair to compare the low-budget radio stations Malta has with the up-market ones other countries have, but come on! Have you ever heard a Maltese deejay talk about something during a programme other than the song name and the artist, in something other than a monochrome-like sort of voice? I sometimes think that all the deejay does is pop in a mix CD and read off the artist’s name and year of release. Because other than that, no deejay seems to have any other skill. They definitely don’t converse with other co-presenters except for stupid banter suitable for infants, not adults, and are generally not capable of keeping their audiences entertained with anything other than playing the next tune on the mix. And believe it or not, they even manage to get the singer’s name wrong at times! I kid you not.
When you manage to find an interview being conducted on a radio station, you’re in for no real treat really. The interview is as orchestrated as an opera at the Royal Albert Hall. The questions are read off a sheet of pre-approved questions, the interviewee answers them by reading his/her prepared answers and overall, the interview is as interesting as watching paint dry. And have you heard some of the newscasters the ‘young’ radio stations have? I have to advise you to listen in very carefully because with their super-sonic speed of reading, you can very easily lose track of what they’re saying. The readers adopt this bored tone of voice and super-speedily reads the news as if to say, ‘Do you really think I give a toss as to what I’m reading out to you?!”
During our last visit to Malta, I turned on the radio at 10am in the morning on a Sunday, and found myself listening in to hard trance music – that sort of music which gives me an headache even on a Saturday morning, let alone a Sunday morning. When I lived in Malta, I remember Bay Radio and XFM played decent tunes appropriate for the time of the day – not so anymore it seems!
And the cherry on the cake goes to the call-in radio shows. Be it agony-aunt sort of programmes, competition programmes or a general call-in programme. Every, and I mean EVERY, phone-call goes along these lines:
- “Bongu, min ghandna fuq il-linja?”
- “Bongu Peter, jiena Jane”.
- “Bongu Jane, kif int?”
- “Mhux hazin grazzi Peter. L-ewwelnett, prosit tal-programm“.
And I’ll stop there.
My humble advice? Clear out your radio memory, buy a CD and play that instead. I’ll promise you’ll be better off that way!