Birdwatching

The Week in Radio: Radios 3 and 5 combine to little effect

It's been a bit of a surreal week in radio. There was waking up with Ian Hislop instead of Today on last Friday's strike-hit Radio 4. This was a whole lot more stimulating than the birdwatching programme that followed. Why replace Today with birdwatching? It seems unlikely that an audience accustomed to fast-moving current affairs would want breakfast-time birdlife. But along with the Living Cheap documentary, which gave tips on coping with smaller salaries, there was obviously some subliminal management message going on with these replacements. What you discover with short strikes is that listeners actually like a bit of change. Birdwatching makes people feel grounded and filled with inner peace. Losing the Today programme for just one day reminds them they aren't slaves to routine. Cue numerous commentators boasting either that they hadn't noticed the strike or they preferred the birds.

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Asian visitor's debut sparks twitching tizzy

A tiny bit of China which turned up on Tyneside put British birdwatchers in a twitching tizzy today. They flocked in their hundreds to South Shields to try to catch a glimpse of an eastern crowned warbler, a bird never seen in Britain before.