Grumpy old don
In between the news from Egypt this week (the son has plans to return on Sunday...???), I did find time to have a look at the BBC Trust's report on Radio 4. Now some of this was rather sensible; credit where it is due. They are right, for example, to point to the dominance of the USA at the expense of Europe in foreign news reporting (not entirely unconnected with the fact that (most) US politicians seak English, I suspect). But the fixation with broadening the listener base and capturing the 'replenishing' at an earlier age sends shivers down the spine.
Who ever would argue that Radio One ought to be aiming to reach more elderly listeners (more oldies and Vera Lynn)?
So why are we much bothered if the Radio Four audience tend to the more mature of us? So long as people turn to it eventually, and it gets a good audience that is fine. And maybe it wouldnt be surprising, given the shifts in contemporary culture, if the audience landed on Radio Four's doorstep slightly later.
But the really frightening thing was the steps being recommended to attract this younger audience.
Like: "Continuing to develop the general tone of the station away from formality and
perceived didacticism towards spontaneity and conversation."
Or: "Similarly, the tone of some serious documentaries will be refreshed, making them
sound less studio-based in order to appeal to a wider audience not weaned on
Radio 4, but interested in intelligent speech."
We all know what that word "refreshed" is a euphemism for. It's the kind of thing that changed the good, serious, Reith lectures into a Sue Lawley hosted chatshow.
And while in the grumpy mood, can I alert you to the plans (long standing ones, apparently) to relocate the Cambridge War Memorial (at the top of this post) from its site at the bottom of Station Road to some park somewhere.
It's a great bit of urban design, planned for this spot. The soldier is marching into town, but looking directly up to the station . . . for his other mates to come back, or not.
The reason it has to be moved is apparently that is create a traffic blockage!
Funny that, I thought that the whole point of the traffic management schemes in Cambridge at the moment was to create such blockages (try Grange Road...!) -- to slow the traffic down and discourage people from getting in their cars. This Tommy seems to be doing the job rather elegantly.