On the 21st September 1939, radio station WJSV in Washington, D.C. did something amazing: they recorded their entire day of output. From sign-on at 6am, to sign-off at 1am. Today is 75 years to the day since that recording was made; which means it seems an ideal time to inform you – or merely remind you – that the entire day is available to listen to online.1
Many others have written about the background to this remarkable recording – this piece on RadioArchives.com and this piece from the Library of Congress will tell you all you need to know. As the only complete day which has survived from what some call the Golden Age of Radio, its importance is only beaten by the sheer visceral impact of listening to the recording. This is no dry, worthy exercise – actually hearing the material is the closest you’ll get to travelling back to the United States in 1939. A horrendous cliche perhaps, but one I honestly believe is true.
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■ Posted 21st September 2014 @ 6am in Radio. No Comments Yet.
Today, the Guardian posted the following story: Scottish referendum: how broadcast media covered results. Regarding ITV’s coverage, we simply get the following:
“ITV’s Scotland Decides averaged 400,000 and a 5.5% share over the same period.”
This, however, is not how the article read earlier today. The above paragraph originally read as follows:
“ITV’s Scotland Decides averaged 400,000 and a 5.5% share over the same period, also for two simulcast editions – STV’s version for Scottish viewers fronted by Bernard Ponsonby and Aasmah Mir, with ITV News’s programme for the rest of the UK, anchored by Alastair Stewart.”
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■ Posted 19th September 2014 @ 7pm in Journalism, Television. No Comments Yet.
This is the tale of one of the more ridiculous things that happened to me when I worked in Channel 5 TX.
Saturday, 14th December, 2013. I’m sitting at home, preparing for my first day back in work after a short illness. It’s live BAMMA coverage that evening – mixed martial arts, which usually involves the floor being entirely smeared with blood by the end of the night – and I decide to have a look at BAMMA’s Twitter feed to see what’s going on.1
So, I scroll down their feed… and something catches my eye. Something horrible. I reproduce it below – but I’ve had to blur out the relevant bits, I’m afraid. I’m sure you’ll understand when I tell you what they are.
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■ Posted 17th September 2014 @ 2pm in Internet, Television. 1 Comment.
RADIO: # Rocking Dallas Fort-Worth, 98.7 K-LUV! #
BOB DINAN: And do you get a kind of thrill still, every time you hear one of these?
JON WOLFERT: Yeah… yeah… I like it.
– Day 4, Bob Dinan’s Jingle Pilgrimage
Religious metaphors are rare on this site. For this subject, however, I make an exception. If broadcasting is the closest I’ll get to religion, and arguing about audience sitcom is the closest I’ll get to a holy war, then visiting the studios of JAM Creative Productions of Dallas1 would be the equivalent of a pilgrimage.
I’ll probably never get to do it. However there is a second best, and a very good second best at that. A UK jingle collector who goes by the name of Bob Dinan took that very trip over to Dallas in February this year… and spent a long time recording everything. Which means I get an instant religious experience from the comfort of my own sofa.
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■ Posted 31st August 2014 @ 8am in Jingles, Radio. No Comments Yet.
If you’re a TV geek of a certain disposition, you know that sinking feeling when you pop your latest DVD purchase in, sit back… and watch as rights issues tear your programme apart.
Sometimes footage isn’t cut, but the music is replaced, giving scenes a whole different feel. Amongst many other music edits, Series 1, Episode 4 of Life on Mars gets rid of “Wild Horses” on the DVD release, and Skins cut – of all things – Lily Allen’s “The Fear” from Series 3, “Pandora” (and from one of my favourite scenes of the series, to boot). Other times, whole chunks of an episode are cut entirely: Episode 6 of Filthy, Rich & Catflap includes a section where Richie sings a spirited rendition of “Consider Yourself” which is gone from all DVD releases.1 Worse still is the Casualty Series 1 episode “Teeny Poppers”, which has a storyline about a man dressed as Spider-Man. It couldn’t be cleared, so a full six minutes was lopped out the episode for commercial release.
Worst of all are the edits where you don’t even know what has been cut. On DVD, the Hi-de-Hi! episode “A Matter of Conscience” ends with a big, emotional (and very well done) speech by Peggy… followed by an extremely nasty edit which takes you right out of the show. And I have no idea what has been actually cut, not having been able to see the original.
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■ Posted 13th August 2014 @ 1pm in Comedy, Television. No Comments Yet.
The Brittas Empire: “Curse of the Tiger Women”
Written by: Ian Davidson and Peter Vincent
Produced by: Mike Stephens
Directed by: Christine Gernon
TX: 24th February 1997
This is the story of one of my least favourite endings to a sitcom ever. But to figure out what went wrong, we need to skip backwards three years…
In 1994, The Brittas Empire had a pretty incredible run. No less than seventeen episodes were broadcast1, across two series – and amongst those seventeen were some of the show’s very best episodes. Examples include “High Noon”, where the leisure centre is blown up on a sitcom budget (and largely convincingly, to boot); the audacious “The Last Day”, where they kill Brittas off, send him to heaven, and then resurrect him during his burial; and “Not A Good Day”, where… they chain Sebastian Coe to a railing and watch him suffer for half an hour.
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■ Posted 7th August 2014 @ 6pm in Best Of, Comedy, Television. No Comments Yet.
“This package was very tongue-in-cheek, with lyrics that were often near-parodies of what country songs were about back then. The challenge was to be right on the borderline, so that the stations wouldn’t know (but we did!)”
- Jon Wolfert, President of JAM Creative Productions
Despite me spending far too much of my time listening to radio jingles, there is always something new to discover – the “new” often being several decades old. The above, “Country JAM” by JAM Creative Productions in 1975 (kindly uploaded by Tracey Carmen) is one of them – and it’s one of the most entertaining jingle demos I’ve ever heard.
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■ Posted 3rd August 2014 @ 2pm in Jingles, Radio. No Comments Yet.
The above (rather dusty) button is in the TX suite for Channel 5 – referred to as ‘Take Next’. When pressed, it simply stops the current on-air event, and goes to the next event in the channel playlist. Its most common use is for going to ad breaks in live shows – and I had many a sweaty finger poised over it during Big Brother eviction nights – but it can also be used in an emergency, if your current on-air event has problems, and you need to move on.
I think, at over three months, Dirty Feed has been stuck on the same event for quite long enough now.
Let’s press it, shall we?
■ Posted 25th July 2014 @ 6am in Meta. No Comments Yet.
So, the BBC has an interview with Ricky Gervais.
It’s about the second series of his “sitcom” Derek – and if you think I’m being mean with the scare quotes, Gervais himself invites them in the interview. Those who know me may be absolutely astounded to know that I have an awful lot of issues with what he says. But let’s skip past all the disability stuff, and just focus on the bit where he insults 50% of the population instead:
“The comic is keen to get under the skin of those “real” people – and one of his favourite themes is ‘men acting childishly’, which he describes as ‘my weakness’.
‘They just should know better, men don’t grow up – that’s always the theme I’ve had, women as adults and men as boys. Women don’t act like that! Proper stupidity is fascinating.'”
Really? Women don’t act like that? Bollocks. Utter horseshit. Some of the most fun times in my life have been spent with women behaving absolutely ridiculously.1. I can’t think of a more boring way to write female characters than “women as adults”. Not allowing women to be silly is not only a fairly fundamental flaw when it comes to writing comedy, but it makes you wonder exactly how Gervais sees the world.
It all reminds me of the very weakest parts of Men Behaving Badly. Gary and Tony get to do all the stupid fun stuff, and then we cut back to Dorothy and Deborah being sensible and tedious. The best moments were when Nye realised the women could be ridiculous too, and that just didn’t happen often enough.
If you want a sitcom that’s an antidote to all this crap, may I recommend Mom? Two lead female characters, doing things that are as stupid and as idiotic and as hilarious as can be. Real characters, not “sensible women” ciphers.
It’s not just how I like my comedy. It’s how people are.
■ Posted 15th April 2014 @ 9am in Comedy, Television. 2 Comments.