What Real Radio Sounds Like

The BBC produces a staggering wealth of programming across its half-dozen radio channels. But, more so than sheer quantity (which is certainly impressive in and of itself), it’s the quality of the programming that really stands out.
Happily for people who don’t live in Britain, all you need to listen is a computer and internet access.

It’s not quite that easy, of course; they’ve settled on the fairly loathesome RealAudio format for their streaming content. Happily, there are things you can do to work around the user-unfriendly format; I’m quite fond of Streambox VCR, and the companion program Streambox Ripper, for downloading programs off the various websites and converting it into MP3 format for later listening. It can take a while, but it does work.

For your reference, Radio 1 is pop music, Radio 2 is a mix of music and entertainment of various sorts, including comedy; Radio 3 is mainly classical music and jazz, and Radio 4 is talk radio the way it was meant to be done, interspersed with a variety of news, drama, and comedy programming. Radio 5 is what passes for sports in that part of the world; the less said, the better.

If you like music, worth checking out are 1xtra, the club/hip-hop/dance music station, and 6Music.

My personal favorite, though, is BBC 7, which is pretty much all entertainment – a mix of comedy and sci-fi programs, including a lot of classic stuff from the ’40s to today, as well as a variety of more conventional radio dramas, the occasional history program, and things which simply defy description (like Minnesotan Garrison Keillor’s Prarie Home Companion). Generally, if I’m not too picky, I can manage to get at least an hour of interesting listening out of BBC 7 alone, every day, and sometimes quite a bit more.

Published in: Geekiness, General | on August 7th, 2007| Comments Off on What Real Radio Sounds Like

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