In praise of radio … and Janice Forsyth

THE campaign to save the Janice Forsyth Show from being axed from BBC Radio Scotland illustrates just how powerful radio, as a medium, can be – according to Barry Didock, in today’s Sunday Herald.

Forsyth’s show has been earmarked for closure in July as part of a proposed schdule change that would see daytime output more speech-based and evening output more music. And the campaign to save it has resulted in an ePetition (with over 1,500 signatures) and the support of several well-known musicians, politicians and others.

As Didcock reminds, in a lengthy piece, radio listening figures are on the up and up, as shown by successive RAJAR announcements.

Adds Didcock: “There’s also a feeling among radio industry-watchers that the medium is thriving in part because television has lost its way.”

He quotes the author of a book, Radio Head: Up and Down the Dial of British Radio, John Osbourne, as saying: “TV is out of control. It’s unrecognisable from ten years ago, what with the language and the content. It’s at the lowest it’s ever been, whereas radio is quote proud of being intelligent without being intellectual. It’s never declined, that’s its secret. That’s why people really love it.”

He also quotes novelist, AL Kennedy, as saying: “Half of the programmes on TV are sh*t reality shows and the other half are programmes how they made the sh*t reality shows. BBC television mimics commercial television which mimics hell. But that doesn’t happen on radio.”

Meanwhile, Scotland on Sunday’s The Week supplement devotes a full page to Forsyth, in an article by Dani Garavelli, who writes, of Forsyth: “… she combines her passion for culture with a down-to-earth manner and sense of humour, which endears her to both her guests and her audience.”