Sounding Off

`While over on Radio 2...' Pierre Perrone on the words Radio 1 will never say
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The Independent Culture
WITH 14 HOURS of live broadcast from the Glastonbury festival this weekend, Radio 1 had a half-decent schedule for a change. But this is very much the exception to the rule. Of late, the Saturday line-up of journeyman DJ Mark Goodier, laddish Chris Moyles, Lisa I'Anson and moonlighting A&R soul man Trevor Nelson has looked very weak against a Radio 2 team boasting the delights of Brian Matthew's Sounds of the Sixties, Johnnie Walker's new afternoon show and the supreme Paul Gambaccini with America's Greatest Hits. Although you can still count on Alan Freeman and Steve Wright to let the Radio 2 side down.

However, an increasingly insular tendency has taken hold of the two networks, which should be working in conjunction with each other. Three weeks ago, Radio 2 broadcast from the Fleadh a live set by the Corrs; it was something Radio 1 listeners, fed on a recurrent daily diet of the Irish group's cover of Fleetwood Mac's "Dreams", might have enjoyed. On Saturday evening, while One FM was hoisting its flag to the Glastonbury festival mast, Gary Barlow was in concert on Radio 2. Conceivably, some of Radio 1's target teenage audience might have tuned in to the former Take That singer. This one-hour show did not even warrant a mention on the other side.

Neither of these stations seems to be cross-trailing the other. Instead of fighting their own corner, BBC radio controllers should maximize our enjoyment of the airwaves and enable us to get the most from our licence fee. In fact, they often seem to do the opposite to the detriment of the riches within their own schedules.

Radio 2 has positioned itself as The Daily Mail of the airwaves and its forced jollity does grate at times, not to mention the way Terry Wogan still crashes the vocals on half the records he plays (surely DJ supremo Paul Gambaccini can give him a few pointers).

Throughout its daytime schedule, to paraphrase its slogan, Radio 2 is, at best, only "different every other time". However, the evening schedules are a Pandora's box of improbable delights. Blues, folk, country, soul, early rock 'n' roll - all of today's music roots but unfortunately scheduled against Radio 1's only cutting-edge shows (John Peel and Steve Lamacq).

Meanwhile, Andy Parfitt's One FM lurches between the street-cred of New Musical Express, XFM and Kiss FM and the knicker-wetting approach of Smash Hits magazine when it's not aping the Bizarre column of The Sun. Smut has crept into the schedules at an alarming rate, from "raised organs" on the Breakfast show to a vox-pop proclaiming "Would I give her one? Nah!" on a Newsbeat item about Geri Halliwell sans make-up.

Who decided that Radio 1 had to follow a tabloid agenda? Why does it have Radio 5 Live not Radio 2 as its sister network? Why wasn't the recent Willie Nelson session, a major coup for Andy Kershaw, trailed more prominently? In fact, who says we want the intrepid global music fan shunted to after midnight on Thursdays (from the end of July, it seems)? You have been warned.