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


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.
Latest stories from i100
Career Services

Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 1 May 2015
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before