Radio: A weedy question to ask the bishop

This column fervently endorses this newspaper's campaign against dumbing down in our institutions. As to whether or not the radio is dumber than it was, well, it all depends what you have been listening to. On Monday's Radio 4 Today programme, I heard a breathtaking piece of fatuity from one of its presenters, whom I am happy to name as Edward Stourton. He interviewed the Bishop of Edinburgh, Richard Holloway, about the new Liberal Democrat leader's call for a royal commission on the decriminalisation of cannabis. The Bishop, we were warned darkly, had admitted to having "used" cannabis himself. Stourton asked: "Was this wise?"

Letter: Hunting the lobster

Sir: I have just picked up a second-hand copy of Boosey and Hawkes' New National Song Book, revised edition 1958. It was in use at a primary school in Surrey in the 1960s. How times they are a-changin'.

Radio: Two cheers for Madonna, three for Peel

It is unusually satisfying to see a statistic which confirms your suspicions. This one said that Madonna's new single "Beautiful Stranger" is the most frequently played of all time. It was played something like 2,000 times last week, beating the previous record-holder, Cher's "Believe", by a factor of about 25 per cent.

Brilliant from tubb to bottom

AUDIO BOOKS

The Critics - Radio: Home truths? I'll give him home truths

Radio, a medium whose practitioners crave love and attention like anyone else, has its own Oscars in the form of the Sony Awards. This is a big black-tie shindig in Grosvenor House, London, only slightly warped in that when you want to sidle up to someone famous, you have to listen out for their voices rather than look out for their faces. Apart, of course, for that noted radio personality, Caprice. She had to be there because no media event can strictly be said to have taken place without Caprice's appearance at some stage in the proceedings.

Awards for Peel silence R4's critics

CRITICS OF Radio 4's controversial new schedule were silenced last night when one of its key programmes crowned a year of awards by sweeping the board at the prestigious Sony Radio Awards.

Media: The first year of living dangerously

After all the outcry, listeners are finally returning to Radio 4. Sue Gaisford appraises its highs and lows

Network: My Technology: A spin doctor's friend

John Peel on the little bit of plastic that's always in his pocket

John Peel wins top radio award

ONE OF Radio 4's most controversial new programmes received an award yesterday when John Peel was named radio broadcaster of the year by the Television and Radio Industries Club.

Television: Sweet suburbia

John Peel is setting out on the road to find out why small-town Britain gives birth to so much great pop

Media: Thanks a million, John

The critics hate it, but DJ John Peel has more than one million listeners for Home Truths. By Paul McCann

On Air: World record holder

Since Capital took over XFM, things have been going from bland to worse. Not for DJ John Kennedy, though

Radio Four's changes win the ear of not-so-disgusted of Tunbridge Wells

JAMES BOYLE, the controller of Radio 4, appears to have pulled off his gamble to revamp radically the radio station that has Britain's most conservative audience.

POP: A summer melting pot

As the Grim Reaper stalks the music industry, killing off a slew of summer festivals including Phoenix and Jam in the Park, it is perhaps fitting that "Meltdown" on the South Bank should be littered with bands which, somewhere along the line, have shown two fingers to the British pop industry.

Leading Article: Safe new Radio 4

"SOLE, LUNDY, Fastnet, Irish Sea..." As listeners, viewers and readers, we are conservative creatures. But the Radio 4 audience is the most conservative of all. They represent a sort of National Trust of the airwaves, devoted to the preservation of the fabric of broadcasting schedules. Accidental survivals from an earlier age are treated with reverence. The shipping forecast, the six o'clock bongs, the seagulls on Roy Plomley's desert island. Millions of domestic routines have been displaced by the shifting of The Archers. Millions of ears have been offended by "30 minutes of news and comment from the BBC" instead of the 40 of The World At One.
Life and Style
Small winemakers say the restriction makes it hard to sell overseas
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
A comedy show alumni who has gone on to be a big star, Jon Stewart
tvRival television sketch shows vie for influential alumni
Arts and Entertainment
Carrie Hope Fletcher
booksFirst video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
News
Clare Balding
peopleClare Balding on how women's football is shaking up sport
Arts and Entertainment
Damien Hirst
artCoalition's anti-culture policy and cuts in local authority spending to blame, says academic
Sport
premier leagueMatch report: Arsenal 1 Man United 2
Arts and Entertainment
Kirk Cameron is begging his Facebook fans to give him positive reviews
film
News
i100
Sport
Jonny May scores for England
rugby unionEngland 28 Samoa 9: Wing scores twice to help England record their first win in six
Life and Style
fashionThe Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Career Services

Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Bruges
Lake Como
Burgundy
South AFrica
Paris
Northern Corsica
Prices correct as of 21 November 2014
Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible
Look what's mushrooming now! Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector

Look what's mushrooming now!

Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector
Neil Findlay is more a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

More a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

The vilification of the potential Scottish Labour leader Neil Findlay shows how one-note politics is today, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Tenderstem broccoli omelette; Fried eggs with Mexican-style tomato and chilli sauce; Pan-fried cavolo nero with soft-boiled egg

Oeuf quake

Bill Granger's cracking egg recipes
Terry Venables: Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back

Terry Venables column

Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back
Michael Calvin: Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Those at the top are allowing the same issues to go unchallenged, says Michael Calvin