Radio has always been a great love of mine, and I’ve come across some heart-warming stories associated with the medium in recent weeks, that really made me smile.
ANGEL RADIO in Havant Hampshire
This wonderful radio station was featured in a BBC news feature that I saw quite by chance in early December. Angel Radio is run by a group of people largely over the age of sixty and broadcasts music aimed at a more mature audience. Any music produced up to 31st December 1959 CAN be played whilst anything younger is off limits. The Angel Radio library thus spans music production from 1900-1959 and includes about 126,000 shellac 78’s records. With an audience outreach of around 40,000 in the Havant area, broadcasts can be picked up on FM (101.1fm) and online (angelradio.tel). In addition to the nostalgia, the radio station also provides news and information that is particularly relevant to an elderly listener.
As Offcom are reviewing community radio licence agreements in 2015, Angel Radio successfully managed to raise £5000 from their listeners and supporters, to apply for consideration for an enhanced licence. The application form was put in at the start of December and the outcome will be known in August. Only one other applicant was received and that came from the current licence holder The Breeze, a much larger and more commercially backed organisation from what I can gather.
Having been on air since March 2002 Angel Radio hope they can win the bid to enable them to broadcast to a much wider geographical area in the Portsmouth region. I really hope they are successful in this endeavour, for the elderly can feel particularly isolated in this modern technological age. For a generation who grew up listening to the “wireless”, having a radio station today that plays music and dramas specifically from their youth is an invaluable asset. Angel Radio provides a wonderful service that effectively provides a reassuring hand of comfort and companionship for their listeners. It seems a relatively unique service that should without question be actively encouraged to expand.
NAS CAMPANELLA Australian News Reader
My husband heard this news reader being interviewed on Radio 5 and mentioned how inspiring she sounded. I found a podcast of the broadcast and had a listen myself and wasn’t disappointed. Nas Campanella has a radio voice that is pure velvet to the ear, silky smooth, authoritive, composed, warm and intelligent sounding. Nas reads the news for TripleJ on ABC radio in Australia and although that may not sound particularly inspiring, her journalistic journey is a bit more incredible when you realise Nas is blind. She also has a medical condition (Charcott-Marie-Tooth) that has left her with limited sensitivity in her fingers, so she was never able to learn Braille. Nas has been able to utilise technology developments in computing, to facilitate her education in school and university and now the workplace. But the stand out quality that Nas has nurtured throughout her life is the ability to REALLY LISTEN, something she inevitably has to do in her job having to contend with four sound feeds at the same time! As I listened to this young woman talk about her background and job I could only marvel and applaud what her determined spirit has already achieved. I’m sure Nas Campanella will be a broadcasting name known worldwide one day.
You can see Nas in action here.
Radio 4: Archive Hour: Singing Together
Having missed the original broadcast, I only heard a small fraction of this program on the BBCi Radio Player before “buffering” lost my connection. But it was enough to let my mind go on a trip down memory lane to my days at Cleland Primary School. Like thousands of schools before and since the 1970s, my class tuned into the BBC “Singing Together” series on Mondays at 11am. We had our specially commissioned “seasonal songbooks” with words and music to sing along too. In my day the songs spanned folk tunes from around the world, and to this day I still remember the first verse of “Troika” from Russia! Another one I recall is a real tongue twister from England “I Had Four Sisters (beyond the sea)”. I can’t remember if we ever put a musical accompaniment with the songs, although triangles, tambourines etc. were available in the school stores. I suspect not for fear of disturbing the other classes but I did enjoy our little classroom choir efforts. I heard enough of the program to learn that Singing Together began as a means of bringing together children evacuated during WW2 and boosting morale. Singing Together having started in September 1939 was a regular schools broadcast for nearly sixty years.
To my utter delight I discovered my mother-in-law (a former primary school headmistress) had a small batch of “Singing Together” song books from between the 1960s to 1980s. And one of them from the 70s I recognised immediately, even though I hadn’t clapped eyes on it in about 27 years. Opening it up I instantly remembered the songs and tunes and began to sing even though I don’t read music. This resulted in my husband’s uncle following my lead at the piano and a lovely hearty sing-along ensued. We had all got together for my mother-in-laws birthday and she remarked later, what an unexpected joy it had been to hear something again from her teaching days.