The man in charge: Alan Davey

Can Radio 3 escape the digital squeeze?


The new controller of Radio 3 has at last been appointed. Alan Davey (not to be confused with the former bassist from Hawkwind) comes to the BBC from the Arts Council and a career in the Civil Service. This will… Read more

Mary Beard vs Jeremy Paxman Photo: Getty

Mary Beard vs Jeremy Paxman


‘Did you find it a good read?’ asked Harrriett Gilbert. An incredibly long drawn-out sigh from Mr Paxman. ‘I think it’s really unsatisfactory,’ he at last replied. ‘But Jeremy,’ retorted Professor Beard, ‘I don’t think you’ve read it carefully enough.’… Read more


The sofa that became a work of art


Last week on Front Row (Radio 4) the singer Joyce DiDonato recalled the advice she gave the new graduates of the Juilliard School, just about to embark on their professional careers in music. It’s a hard life. They’re asked to… Read more

Andy Warhol, Time Capsule 262 Photo: courtesy of The Andy Warhol Museum

Warhol’s ‘time capsules’ contain everything from toenails to previously unseen paintings worth millions


‘I don’t know what I think,’ says Lenny Henry, echoing what many of us who were listening were probably also puzzling over. ‘Part of me thinks it’s art by the sheer fact that an artist has decided that something like… Read more


Radio 4 deserts the British bird. Shame on them!


A strange coincidence on Saturday night to come back from the cinema, having seen a film about a woman fighting to save her job while suffering from depression and thoughts of putting an end to it all, only to switch… Read more


Who needs drugs when you have Radio 3?


I’m willing to bet it’s only on the BBC’s Radio 3 that you’ll find yourself listening to a programme quite like Words and Music (Sunday evenings). You might want to disagree. Surely, it’s just a few bits of music stuck… Read more

A technician mends the broken glass of a landing light at Tempelhof Airport in Berlin, during the Berlin Airlift, 1949 Photo: Getty

Ambridge recovers its sense of humour — finally


‘Isn’t that charming!’ Carol declares at the height of the great Home Farm cocktail party, after being subjected to Jennifer’s somewhat over-enthusiastic description of her wine storage unit. Just three words but such a lot of meaning. Carol Tregorran’s resurrection… Read more

6 Music's success can be attributed to seasons from Bob Dylan, visitations from Jarvis Cocker, Alex James and more recently Iggy Pop

Why is Radio 3 still leaderless?


It’s happened almost by stealth but the number of listeners to 6 Music has now overtaken Radio 3, creeping up to 1.89 million per week (just .05 million more than the classical-music station). Actually the margin between them is probably… Read more


Two lessons in listening


Our hearing is the first of our senses to develop while we are in the womb. It’s the first connection we make to the life around us, and to other people. In a new series of The Listeners on Radio… Read more


Glasgow and the Commonwealth go back a long way; Radio 4 explores a murky past


What’s been missing from the schedules during the Commonwealth Games has been a straightforward reminder about who makes up the roster of nations and why. When, for instance, did it suddenly become OK to talk about the Commonwealth without that… Read more

Roger Wright Photo: Getty

Does Radio 3 need a new controller?


Where next for Radio 3? Last Friday was the First Night of this year’s Proms season but it was the last night at the Proms for Roger Wright, who for 15 years has masterminded the station and for seven of… Read more

The Bay City Rollers (Photo: Getty)

The two men who walked barefoot to the capitals of the four nuclear powers on a peace pilgrimage


You might (if you’re over a certain age) still think it pretty amazing that TV not only allows you to watch Mario Götze put in that amazing goal, live, as it happened, in Rio de Janeiro’s Estádio Maracanã, but also… Read more


The next new presenter of Woman's Hour should be a man


It seems incredible now but when the BBC’s youth station, Radio 1, was launched in 1967 there were no female presenters. That’s right. Not a single woman’s voice to leaven the mix of Fluff, Blackburn and co. One-half of the… Read more

Bob and Roberta (Patrick Brill) at the RA Photo: Benedict Johnson

Why I'm switching to Danish radio


Out there in the great ether there’s a whole new world of radio beyond the stations of the BBC and the FM dial. This week I found myself listening to a programme in Danish. I know. It sounds mad. But… Read more

Soil arrives for Flanders Fields Memorial Photo: Laura Lean/PA

The gardener-soldiers of the First World War


First, a confession. Even an ardent radio addict can enjoy a fortnight away from the airwaves, disconnected, switched off, unlistening. On return even the programmes that are usually ignored because they’ve become so familiar catch your attention. I grew up… Read more


What's happened to children's radio?


Much praise has been lavished on Radio 2’s 500 Words short-story competition, the winners to be announced on Friday’s Chris Evans show, live from the Hay Festival. Quite right, too. It’s a brilliant way to encourage children aged 13 and… Read more

British writers John Lehmann and Leonard Woolf Photo: Getty

When Virginia Woolf's husband ruled Sri Lanka's jungles


Tucked away in the schedules, just before midday, just after midweek (on Thursday), just four lines in the Radio Times, was one of those radio gems. Nothing remarkable on the surface, but every so often sparkling with insight, or a… Read more


The best blues singer you’ve never heard of


A rustle of paper as the sleeve is removed. A clunk and click as the needle arm is swung across. The needle hits the vinyl, bringing it to life. At first there’s a lot of crackling in the ether. Then… Read more


Nothing beats Book at Bedtime


There I was trapped in the bathroom at 10.55 p.m., unable to leave for fear of missing anything. The time it would have taken me to get to the bedroom, touch the screen of the digital radio, encouraging it to… Read more


The Archers hit a new low by letting Tom dump Kirsty at the altar


Did you hear those bloodcurdling screams from Kirsty? Those long-drawn-out wails that echoed horrifically through the ancient walls of St Stephen’s Church last Thursday — in a strange, unwelcome echo of Nigel’s unfortunate descent from the roof of Lower Loxley… Read more

Dolly Parton Tour -  Sydney

Dolly Parton’s secret for surviving decades of celebrity


It’s a shame Dolly Parton has never gone into politics. She’s someone who’s lived her life very much in the public eye and yet has never lost sight of who she is, of her claim to fame as a country… Read more

Crucifixion by Michele da Verona - 1501 (Photo: Art Archive/ DeA Picture)

BBC radio gets Easter right


Given the decline of Christian belief in the UK, it’s surprising to discover there’s quite so much about the Easter story on the airwaves this week. You might have assumed that no space would have been found in the schedules… Read more

Pickets in Thoresby (Photo: STAFF/AFP/Getty)

Police and miners clash again over Orgreave on Radio 4’s The Reunion


Four could have been dubbed the Frank Radio network this week as the sharp skills of Sue MacGregor, Alan Dein and Fi Glover teased out some stark opinions and revelations. MacGregor was back on Sunday morning with a new series… Read more


Radio that makes you feel the wind on your cheek


After a walk in Richmond Park beset by rush-hour traffic, the Heathrow flight path and a strange swarm of flying ants (strange because so early in the year), it was unsettling to come back in and switch on and listen… Read more

Mark Kermode and Simon Mayo

How Radio 5 Live transformed the airwaves


It’s amazing to think that it’s 20 years since the launch of Radio 5 Live. But it was bright and early on the morning of 28 March 1994 (long before Princess Diana’s death, 9/11, the Iraq war, the London bombs,… Read more


Lives captured in transit


It’s such a simple idea. Take a tape recorder. Hang around at the entrance to a railway station or in the departure lounge of an airport. Look for an intriguing face, an unusual couple, a dashing outfit. Rush up to… Read more


The sound of growing rhubarb


When the BBC proposed to do away with 6 Music a few years ago, the media-savvy fans of the station created such a fuss on Twitter and Facebook that the Corporation caved in. Threat of closure was exactly what the… Read more

Over half a million people were massacred in Rwanda by government forces, militiamen and nationalist Hutus Photo: Getty

Listening to genocide – and what came next


It doesn’t take long for an international event of historic importance to fall off the news agenda. Ukraine is still there, making headlines, but soon it will be forgotten as the political drama in Kiev, Sebastopol, the Crimea is overtaken… Read more