It was enough to make listeners think they were still dreaming: a live segue from a worthy discussion to a yodelling woman. But Sunday’s on-air glitches on Radio 4’s Broadcasting House were very real.
Shortly after the morning programme began, Lord Digby Jones, the former head of the CBI, began to review a Sunday Telegraph article on the World Trade Organisation’s new director general, Roberto Azevedo.
Suddenly Lord Jones’ thoughts were interrupted by sounds from more than half a century before as yodelling broke out on the airwaves. For around 10 seconds there was nothing but the sound of the gospel song Jesus Put a Yodel in my Soul made famous by the US country singer Wanda Jackson. “My life was empty, without a goal, then I let Jesus into my soul,” she sings.
Then presenter Paddy O’Connell came back on the air after the brief interlude to apologise for the “glitch”.
The corporation explained the mishap occurred when the battery in the radio car Lord Jones was speaking from in Warwickshire began to run out and the engine had to be restarted.
It was Mr O’Connell not Lord Jones – whose interests include rugby, cricket and football but not yodelling – who then took over. He said: “Apologies if you heard us leave the radio, there has been some kind of glitch and you have heard an orchestra instead of the sweet sounds of our guests.” Confused listeners immediately took to Twitter to speculate the programme had been “hacked” or “yodel-bombed”.
“Was there some random yodelling during Broadcasting House paper review … or did I dream it?” tweeted one user. As the review continued another loud bang interrupted the show. This time a slightly flustered O’Connell asked: “What is going on this morning?” The BBC said the yodel interruption was due to a “technical error”.
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