October, 2009

One More Radio Drama

Here’s something that links the last two entries on this blog. Following The Power of Yes yesterday, and the radio I was mentioning, I caught up with something else from the BBC World Service that I’d not previously listened to.
The Day That Lehman Died details events in the US over the weekend when the future of Lehman Brothers was decided, just ahead of the major start of the bailouts. It’s well worth a listen, and happily is still available to hear.

Some Recent Radio (and TV)

Apologies in advance – just about everything I’m going to mention here is now beyond the iPlayer’s Listen Again window.
The BBC World Service has just finished another Worldplay series, this time based on the subject of science. The last piece was called Moving Bodies by Arthur Giron and starred Alfred Molina. It was actually an edited version of a production from LA Theatreworks.
The play is all about the life of Richard Feynman, the physicist. It covers most of his life, from his time as a child with his domineering father right up until the subject which bookends the play – his work on the commission that investigated the Challenger disaster.
Feynman’s story is a remarkable one, and if you ever get the chance to watch the full version of his 1981 Horizon interview you should jump at the opportunity.
Although this play is no longer available to listen to on the iPlayer, Audible.co.uk does have the full version available for download and it’s on iTunes.
I first heard of Gerard Hoffnung when I was in Edinburgh on a university placement. A friend of mine there expressed surprise that I’d never heard Hoffnung’s rambling story of the bricklayer (Listen to it – it’s very funny. I’ve just ordered the full CD on the basis of that re-listening.). He lent me a cassette and that was how I learnt about the man.
If you listen to that clip of Hoffnung, you might surmise that he was a gentleman in his late fifties or early sixties. But he gave that address in 1958 when he was only 33. And he died a year later, making this year the fiftieth anniversary of his death.
Those nice people over at Speechification recently posted a link to a Twenty Minutes on Hoffnung that was broadcast during the Proms which is well worth a listen.
Then last week Radio 4 broadcast a play by Alan Stannard called Hoffnung – Drawn To Music, starring Matt Lucas and Gina McKee which was nicely observed and explored the way that Hoffnung was able to cajole respected composers into helping him put together the Hoffnung Music Festival at the Royal Festival Hall.
Elsewhere, I’m pleased that The News Quiz is back in the Radio 4 Friday Night Comedy slot and that rather awful I Guess That’s Why They Call It The News has finished. Obviously Radio 4 has to experiment with new comedies, but I can fairly easily say that this was certainly a failed experiement.
Meanwhile on Mondays The Unbelievable Truth with David Mitchell is back (read his excellent Observer piece on Tracy Emin today), causing fun on Feedback.
And Dave Gorman has started his new Sunday morning show on Absolute Radio (Disclaimer: Clearly I work there).
As for TV? You are watching Spiral aren’t you? If you’re not, then it’s available on catch-up on the iPlayer. So there’s four hours of your life accounted for (or five if you read this after 10pm tonight). The Fixer just finished its second series, and given the way ITV treats drama these days – cancelling a popular programme like Kingdom for example – I’m not going to hold my breath for a third. Finally, you are watching the BBC Four Electric Revolutions season I trust. In particular, I loved Micro Men and Gameswipe.

The Power of Yes

David Hare
David Hare is an angry playwright, and rightly so.
The Power of Yes is his attempt to make sense of the financial crisis, and rather than a conventional piece, we see the “author” (Anthony Calf) attempt to make sense of everything by conducting a series of interviews with relevant people. Many of them are named, but others are anonymous. It’s fun watching recognisable characters being dramatised – most famously George Soros (Bruce Myers).
Most usefully to our guiding author is Masa Serdarevic (Jemima Roper), now an FT journalist but previously at Lehman Brothers. And of course, as she guides Hare through proceedings, she helps us along too.
The nature of the piece means that it’s largely expository and there’s little room for characterisation. That’s even more the case since there are dozens of characters here who come in and out so often, we have to literally be introduced and then reintroduced to them.
But this simply isn’t a straightforward story. Hare’s doing his best to get to the bottom of it, and to a large extent he does. I’d guess that the chap in the row in front of me works or worked at one of the US banks in question because he was nodding furiously at one point, and roared with laughter at the revelation that Lehman Brothers workers weren’t carrying their cleared desks in boxes as they left after the company had gone under. Instead it turned out that the cafeteria worked on a credit system, and they were clearing out their credit in confectionery.
The staging was minimalist but made clever use of screens and projections. Even a blackboard was wheeled out on a few occasions: we really were back in school at times.
Overall, I thought that this was a terrific and incredibly timely piece. Although the BBC recently dramatised The Last Days of the Lehman Brothers, this was somehow more accessible, but not simplified for the hard of thinking. Hare persuasively argues anyway that managing a hospital is actually a lot harder than some of the jobs that these bankers were – and are – doing.
I’ve got to say that I’m not sure that the rest of the audience quite shared my enjoyment of this piece. Whether or not it was because most of them will have probably bought these tickets a long time before they found out what exactly they were letting themselves in for, I don’t know. Perhaps they were restless at having to sit through two hours without an interval. I think that was a correct decision since you really didn’t want to have to break up the story.
Anyway, ignore them and either see this, or read the script which Faber already has on sale. Although I didn’t pick up a copy after the performance, such is the level of information imparted by the script, it may well be worth reading.
And I hope that as some point this gets an outing on TV or gets a DVD release. It’s the sort of thing that will benefit from re-watching.

Waterstone’s

Waterstone's
A new Oxford Street Waterstone’s opening soon.
I love a good bookshop. I’m addicted to them. Yes – I certainly use Amazon a great deal, but browsing is something that simply can’t be replicated online. If you go to Amazon – despite the store’s best efforts, it’s hard to replicate the browsing feeling you get in a good bookshop. There’s no easy way for a cover to catch your eye, for a display or table to tempt you over. You go to an online store. You look up the book and then you buy or you don’t. You discover that people who bought the book you’re looking at also bought Dan Brown and the Ant and Dec book. It doesn’t help you.
So I like to support local bookshops. Where I live that means Waterstones. But curiously they’ve just started using some of that valuable front of store space in my local branch to display DVDs. They aren’t “literary” DVDs – just the top twenty. And the prices are pretty poor.
Here’s the thing: if I want a top twenty DVD on the high street, I can also visit any supermarket, WH Smiths or an HMV. My local Waterstones is two shops away from the nearest WH Smiths which has a significantly better DVD section. It’s also directly opposite a branch of HMV. Waterstones is owned by HMV – they’re sister companies. HMV has a vastly better range of DVDs, and they sell them at far more attractive prices.
In other words, you’d be a complete fool to buy a DVD in Waterstones.
We’re entering the fourth quarter of the year, and since most people only buy a minimal number of books a year – mostly as Christmas gifts – an incredible 40% of annual trade is done between now and December.
Waterstone’s has by far the biggest high street book presence, so why get into DVDs? Every inch of space surely has to pay for itself. So turn over that valuable shelf space to books and scrap the DVDs. They’re irrelevant!
An interesting aside: book trade magazine The Bookseller recently reported on major problems that Waterstone’s is experiencing with it’s new central distribution “Hub”. This has brought hundreds of comments. Waterstone’s head office is so annoyed that they’ve ridiculously blocked access to The Bookseller’s site from all branches of Waterstone’s. Perhaps Waterstone’s is trying to replicate one of it’s books – 1984?

10 Things You Shouldn’t Do…

…but people seem to do all the time just now.
Please don’t do any of these things. You just look a bit sad.
10. Mention on Twitter how many followers you now have. I don’t really care.
9. Produce an iPhone version of your site, but not bother with a generic mobile version.
8. Get overly excited about any new product that Apple launches.
7. Get overly excited about any new product that Google launches.
6. Use URL shortening services on websites. There’s no need.
5. Spout trite inanities about social networking and call it useful information.
4. Tweet about a TV show without using the appropriate hashtag so I can exclude your musings from my screen should I desire (e.g. #xfactor).
3. Compare whatever you’re currently watching with The Wire (e.g. The Cube with Philip Schofield)
2. Tweet a link without so much as a hint as to what it might be about – especially if you’ve used a URL shortening service.
1. Publicly beg for a Google Wave invitation.
Maybe I’m just in a bad mood, and have read a few other lists like this in the last couple of days.

Watching Football on the Internet

And so it has come to pass – this weekend’s dead rubber between the Ukraine and England, will only be available online or at your local Odeon cinema.
The prices seem to range from £4.99 if you book now to £11.99 if you book on the day of the game. Odeon cinemas seem to be charging the higher of the two prices.
There’s been a combination of teeth gnashing and apathy today. The game is pretty much meaningless since England has qualified (although it might subtly affect our “co-efficient” for determining things like group stages draws in future tournaments).
That said, I certainly can’t be bothered.
The reason given for the match not finding a television home with the BBC, ITV, Five, Sky or ESPN is that “broadcasters were willing to pay the asking price to screen the game.” In other words, if none of those guys – even someone like ESPN which is surely trying to create a new business, isn’t willing to pay to screen it, then clearly too much is being charged.
What’s actually happened is that when the draw for this round of group stages was made by FIFA a couple of years ago, a few sports agencies dash around and purchase the rights to games from individual nations’ football associations. They move quickly since if a footballing “minnows” have games against larger football-mad nations. Rather than selling group stages to one rights holder, individual nations can sell their own home games separately. So whatever the English FA would like it to do, it’s the Ukranian FA that gets to sell its home rights.
So it was that back in November 2007 a company named Kentaro snapped up the rights to a number of England games. Setanta came along and bought them. There was probably a hope that if it came down to the wire, this could be a critical game for England to qualify for South Africa. A high fee was probably demanded and paid. In the event, England strolled the group, and the match is meaningless, as is the final fixture against Belarus. Meanwhile Setanta went bust and rights reverted to Kentaro who were then left with a problem selling them in a down market at a time when England were strolling to qualification.
Kentaro has taken a gamble and it hasn’t paid off*. So now, rather than cutting their losses and accepting the highest offer from a “traditional” football broadcaster, they’re trying the direct-to-consumer route. They claim that they’ll limit the number of streams they sell to a million which represents a minimum of £5m revenue if they get to that number.
In the future, we’ll perhaps see more of this kind of selling, although there are plenty of regular pay-per-view platforms available like Sky Box Office, Virgin Media and BT Vision. None of these seems to be being employed. So unless you’re able to hook up your PC to your TV, you’re reduced to watching the game on a smaller screen – quite possibly a laptop sized screen. Not your 42″ plasma. A pay-per-view option would also have enabled some pubs to show the game.
Will the feed be stable? Who knows. The BBC has struggled at times during key Wimbledon fixtures that take place during office hours. Sky’s Player also struggled at certain points during The Ashes. These are large broadcasters with big IT teams who are used to serving significant numbers of simultaneous streams. Sport will always show up a poor digital picture – I’d always want to watch some sport on any prospective flatscreen TV I was buying for example.
How strong is Kentaro’s backbone? It’s possible that we won’t find out, because I’d be amazed if all that many pay up.
The Odeon idea is interesting, and I assume that it’ll be an HD stream – certainly not an internet stream. In the past Odeon cinemas have simulcast live football in big tournaments, as well as HD Formula 1 coverage. They also regularly show live opera from places like the Met and Glynebourne.
But let’s see what happens at the weekend. I doubt we’ll ever learn how many streams are sold. However, it will be interesting to see what happens when the draw for the group stages of Euro 2012 are made in February 2010. Will we see some higher profile away games going online?
*Clearly, I have no real insight into Kentaro’s business plans, but I think that’s a safe assumption to make.

Content

Warning. You are about to read a bit of a rant: if you haven’t already stopped reading already that is. It’s been a long time in coming, but I feel I have to say something about it.

I loathe content.

The word “content” that is.

I really, really loathe it.

It’s a hideous and yet all encompassing word.

At first it was just the by now omnipresent “User Generated Content”. But now websites are filled with “content”. TV schedules are now packed with “content”. Radio stations use “content” to fill the airtime. Newspapers and magazine are stuffed with “content”. It’s everywhere.

Like many words, it started out as an industry specific word. Marketing types would talk about the content they were producing for their new project. That was frustrating, but marketing is full of nonsense (apologies for causing offence to any marketing professionals reading this – but you know I’m speaking the truth). Yet slowly it’s become one of those words that’s seeped out of the confines of the marketing universe and has begun to permeate society. “Premium” is a word that has similarly escaped the clutches of the marketing world and broken free into our world. We all now know that a “premium lager” is somehow better than a regular one. The ads are glossier; the image more refined; and the product more expensive. But it’s brewed in the same facility in South Wales or wherever. Nobody can actually really explain what’s so “premium” about it. They might say that they like it more, but advertising has largely conditioned them to do so. And there are plenty of other examples.
Thus you’ll now see consumer-facing websites talking about “content” quite openly – especially if you’re invited to upload pictures, audio or video. But you’ll also hear the word spoken and used in this sense on television and radio.

Content, I’m reliably informed, is from the Latin, contentum, the neuter past particple of continere meaning “to contain”. Google cites something like 1.4bn mentions of the word.
Dictionary.com’s definition is probably as good as any:

4. substantive information or creative material viewed in contrast to its actual or potential manner of presentation: publishers, record companies, and other content providers; a flashy Web site, but without much content.

(I’d use the OED’s defintion, but it’s all behind a paywall).

So why do I hate the word? It’s a word that’s not easily replaceable in the context in which it’s currently used, because it can mean so many things: video, audio, written pieces, or combinations thereof. As a catchall, then, does it not serve a purpose?

Yet that’s precisely what really annoys me about the word.

It takes that art out of those things. If I’m writing an essay on a subject, is this a carefully crafted literary piece or is it a piece of “content”? If I’m composing a new song, am I just making some “content”? If I’m making a film with a crew, and some actors, have I really just put together “content”?

In the context of the word’s definition, then yes I have. But the word is somehow dismissive. It doesn’t consider the thought, time, or creativity (or lack of) that went into producing the work or works. Barbie Girl by Aqua and A Day In The Life by The Beatles are somehow equal because they’re both just “content”. Saw VI and Lawrence of Arabia are the same. A throw away piece of tittle-tattle from The Sun’s Bizarre column is the same as a 1500 word essay in the Times Literary Supplement. It’s all “content”.

It probably doesn’t help that the word sounds a little like “cement”, because when I hear someone talk about content – perhaps on a website – then I think about someone trying to shovel oozing piles of something into the website so that it’ll quickly set and there’s something there for people to read, watch or listen to. It’s not a stunning piece of hand crafted masonry. It’s a breeze block. There’s no real thought about the quality of what’s being uploaded or written; just the knowledge that some of it’s needed to attract readers, viewers or listeners. There is space or airtime to fill, and on the internet, that space is effectively infinite, while in the broadcasting world you can always start a new channel or stream.

It’s simple economics. And of course that’s what the media industry is all about. With the exception (perhaps!) of the BBC, all that filler material is just there to turn a buck for the company who has to fill it. That’s fine. We live in a capitalist world. But surely we care about how we fill those empty spaces? And that to me is the problem with the word “content.” It suggests an attitude that just requires taking the most cost effective way to fill in the gaps.

Am I an idealist? I’m well aware that commissioning editors for daytime TV are just trying to fill the gaps in their schedule as cost effectively as possible. They need a decent audience share to maintain their positions, and reap the maximum value of the associated advertising.

To take an easy example, nobody really hand-crafts an episode of the Jeremy Kyle Show. They don’t care. They just know that the network wants x hours of shows a year, and they just churn them out as quickly and cost-effectively as possible. Think of that cement mixer again, pulling up at a studio in Manchester and just dumping its load.

Similarly, the producers of Big Brother and Channel 4 know that they have to produce hours of footage to fill out much of Quarter Two and Three’s primetime schedule. Yes, they want to maximise the audience – but that’s not really the same as caring about the programmes they make. Perhaps in these instances “content” is, then, an accurate word.
Closer to home, commercial radio has to achieve maximum revenues for minimal costs. It does this largely by playing music; in many cases, the same music. The listener is left with soundalike stations across the country. Indeed they’re now quite likely to be 100% identical.

But does that mean that we shouldn’t at least aspire to greater things?

The reality is that some standards have to be maintained if you want to stand out and make an impact. However dire some of ITV’s comedy and drama series might be, I don’t believe the makers didn’t really care at least a little bit about them (OK – the producers of The Palace last year probably didn’t).

That’s not to say that slick machines can’t operate, producing television programmes by the mile, but maintaining a certain quality threshold. The CSI franchise springs to mind with some excellent production values maintained, even if a few scripts do seem to have jumped the shark. House is now in its sixth series, having made well over 100 episodes, yet the quality of scripts remains impressive. It can be done.

I suppose I get upset when I hear people throwing the word “content” around as though people will come flocking to read, listen or view it, irrespective of what it is. Pile it high and they will come!

And so, every website in the known universe has rushed to include “User Generated Content” in their sites! Sometimes it’s very appropriate – Flickr obviously wouldn’t exist without its users photos, although YouTube could probably do with a little more user generated “content”, and less broadcaster created “content”. But mostly it’s just another bandwagon that most have failed to climb on.

What I do agree with is that we need a word to use to talk about all this material; preferably a word that doesn’t conjour up an image of a builder shoveling cement from a wheelbarrow into a hole to fill it up. Because that’s what I picture in my mind’s eye when I hear someone discussing how they need content to fill a hole in their schedule/pages/site. Cement is readily available in vast quantities from your local builders’ yard.

Please give me an alternative; a word that conveys some care and consideration has gone into what has been created. And in the meantime, feel free to tell me off if I ever use the word.

The usual disclaimer – these are my personal opinions and do not represent those of my employer. And yes, I have, in extremis, used “content” before, quite probably on this very blog. But I try not to. I really do.

Smart Scheduling Decisions

Or perhaps they’re not so smart.
This week, Channel 4 starts showing a couple of hot(tish) new(ish) shows from HBO. On Wednesday at 10.00pm it starts showing True Blood, a great vampire show based on novels by Charlaine Harris set in the Deep South. It’s a bit soapy, not a little sexy and but great well-made fun. And it comes from Alan “Six Feet Under” Ball giving it a quality imprimatur.
It’s taken a while to reach free-to-air screens because it’s just completed a first run on pay-TV channel, FX UK. But even they took a while to get their hands on it as the first season began in September last year on HBO in the States, and they didn’t mess about with the second season which has already concluded.
Following True Blood on Four, is Generation Kill – David “The Wire” Simon’s most recent piece of work. This has also taken a while to reach free-to-air shores. Again FX got in there first showing it at the start of this year. It actually aired on HBO in the summer of 2008, and UK DVDs have been available since March of this year.
Now clearly it’s a quality piece of work that deserves the wider audience that Channel 4 can afford it, but their scheduling is clearly questionable. Running it at 11.20pm in the evening so that it doesn’t end until 12.45am on a weeknight is bizarre – if not downright extraordinary. Unless Channel Four thinks their entire audience will be PVRing it rather than watching live, I’m not sure I can really think of a reason why it’s being shown so late.
The BBC two has recently stripped The Wire in a post Newsnight slot, burning through all five series in a matter of months, but that’s a series that first aired in the US in 2002, and has been repeated a large number of times on FX, and been available on DVD for nearly as long. It’s not quite the same.
(What you might notice from all this is that FX picks up a lot of decent shows that only later emerge fully. FX is underservedly buried in the EPG, and I’m sure, if it ever went free-to-air, could easily be as successful as Dave. That won’t happen as it’s part of the Murdoch empire. Let’s face it: while Stuart Murphy might want to make Sky One like HBO, the programming doesn’t entirely back that up. Actually FX is the most HBO-like channel in the UK).
Channel 4 has recently been a bit miffed that the BBC has been buying some of the big new US series. They bent the ear of a few Shadow Cabinet members, and I heard Jeremy Hunt at the Radio Festival explicitly mention The Wire as an example. A poor analogy as it happens. The Wire has surely been available to all broadcasters since 2002. FX was the only channel to pick it up until recently. At the point the BBC started showing it, vast numbers of its potential audience had already seen it on either FX or via DVD box sets. I’m pretty sure that had Channel 4 wanted to buy The Wire in the meantime, they’d had something like seven years to make a move.
In actual fact I think Channel 4 was more annoyed about Harper’s Island which BBC Three is showing. I’m not sure why because it was cancelled.
Indeed More 4 “poached” Curb Your Enthusiasm from BBC Four, and most major US shows – with perhaps the exception of Heroes – are on either Four, Five or Sky One. Flash Forward being perhaps the biggest new hit – although I think we’d better wait a few more episodes before being certain.
At least Five and Sky One have better understandings of sensible scheduling as we head towards the end of the first decade of a new century. In May 1977, Star Wars got a US release. In the UK, we didn’t see it until the end of that year, with most screenings only beginning in 1978, seven months after it had premiered. That’s how things worked in those days. Publicity machinary could move on to Europe, and the same prints – by now pretty beaten up – could be shipped across and reused, certainly in English language markets.
These days of course, blockbusters open globally as close to simultaneously as possible. This means PR has to be coordinated very carefully, and since we’re still largely in an age when cinemas still use prints, there’s a high cost in getting all those screens filled – especially when one multiplex may be using five prints itself.
Film companies will probably claim that this is mostly due to minimising piracy – and that’s true. But piracy is driven because we all know when new blockbusters are coming out. Digital PR starts the second production starts, and possibly earlier. That builds demand. And nobody is prepared to wait until Christmas for a film that opened in the US in May. At least that’s the case for most blockbusters. The one notable exception seems to be Pixar’s films which always seem to wait for the autumn half-time in the UK to open, two or three months after the US release.
What’s this got to do with TV scheduling? Well, like it or not, the same is true of TV. Especially genre fiction. Fans of Fringe, Flash Forward, House, Lost et al know exactly their favourite shows air in the US and want to see them. Not only that, but they can see them if they download them illegally. Indeed, with a credit card registered in the US, you can also download them legally via places such as iTunes.
Last year the BBC finally realised that its audience for Heroes was being damaged by downloads and it started broadcasting soon after its US broadcast. That’s changed this year, and it seems that we’ll have to wait until January. Viewing figures will undoubtedly be hit.
Five, as I mentioned, is taking as little chance as it can with Flash Forward, and just about everything on Sky One is airing within days of its US broadcast.
Police dramas seem to suffer less and CSI ends up being broadcast up to a year after its US broadcast, but there are lot of miffed Mad Men fans annoyed that BBC Four is making them wait until next year.
The long explained reason for these delays in that US networks stretch 22 weeks of programmes from September until May – a period of more than 22 weeks. In other words they take weeks off for sport, Christmas, non-ratings periods and so on. They run repeats from just a few weeks earlier and so on. But that’s not the case with cable shows, and it’s become less the case with any kind of continuing dramas. Series like 24 and Lost don’t work well if the story doesn’t run continuously. So US networks have learnt and schedule accordingly.
But whatever the scheduling habits of US networks, if a UK channel purchases a US TV series, they’d be wise to look at the scheduling pattern that the series’ original broadcaster is following.
That’s even more the case if you’re the co-producer of a TV series – as ITV is with the forthcoming remake of The Prisoner. It’s producing it in conjunction with US cable channel AMC. This is the channel that makes Mad Men and Breaking Bad.
Due to the curious nature of how US TV ratings are calculated, they still have “sweeps” periods three times a year. During most of the year, ratings are calculated nightly in only a number of major markets. But during four months a year, old-school diaries are employed and since these are the most researched periods, it’s the overall numbers generated at these times of years that set the numbers for large amounts of TV advertising traded.
What this means is that during the key “sweeps” month of November, no channel worth its salt wants to be doing anything apart from putting out the best programming it can possibly muster. You know when your favourite sitcom suddenly has a big-name guest star? It almost certainly aired during a sweeps period.
AMC is, perhaps unsurprisingly then, beginning the epiosde run of The Prisoner on 15 November.
ITV is planning to show it during Spring 2010.
Now I’m sure that ITV’s Autumn schedule is already jammed full of great programmes (unless you live in Scotland, obviously), but why on earth are they letting this programme slip into next year?
It’s clear that if there’s one genre of programming that suffers from downloading more than any other it’s SF. Tens of thousands – perhaps hundreds of thousands – of people will have already seen The Prisoner by the time it airs in the UK next Spring. This month’s SFX magazine features The Prisoner on its cover. It’s a hot property, and like it or lump it, whether legal or not, nobody wants to wait.
Kudos to ITV for getting involved in making The Prisoner – and with Ian MacKellen leading the cast they have a fantastic coup. But since they co-made this programme, from the outset, they should have agreed a simultaneous airing with AMC that met both broadcasters’ needs. If you don’t do this, then you’re just saying goodbye to a percentage of your audience.
Although you could perhaps say that ITV doesn’t realise this because it’s not got into this game before. Episodes of Marple aired months ago in the US and won’t have hampered ITV’s ratings for the same episodes. But it’s also realised that it’s smart to show HBO’s Entourage on ITV2 in the same week as its US airing. The reverse is true with BBC America and SyFy getting much closer to the UK with airings of Doctor Who and Torchwood.
Perhaps it’s too late now for ITV this time around. All those extra long episodes of X-Factor and I’m A Celebrity can’t be moved now! But maybe it’s something to consider next time?

Dabbl

dabbl
Allow me, if you will, a work related post.
A few minutes ago saw the launch of dabbl, a new radio station from Absolute Radio. It’s an exciting new station that lets listeners choose the music. And for the record, because these things are important to know, the first track played was Bon Jovi and Livin’ On A Prayer.
And it’s also the first project to emerge from the brand new Onegoldensquare Labs.
If you’re in the UK, you can listen online, and if you live in London it’s on DAB. The station runs from 7pm to 6am daily, so it’s something to listen to of an evening – perhaps when you’re online! Vote early and vote often. Go on. Go vote for some songs.
At the moment the choice is strictly live music with most of the tracks being exclusively available on dabbl or its sister stations. But in future it may move beyond simply offering live music.
[Disclaimer: I’m very nicely mentioned in the station’s credits but had little to nothing to do with it’s inception or creation]