Radio 4 makes up about 95% of my radio listening with the odd venture into Radio 1 on a Friday evening for the dance music. Very rarely listen to Radio 2, though I have memories of hearing Wogan & co on as a child on my parents radio, and would never ever contemplate turning Radio 3 on. Ever.
Radio 4 is a national institution now.
This book is crammed full of facts and anecdotes on this station that offers a background murmur to millions of Britons throughout the day. Hodgson has dredged the archive and pulled together masses of detail on programmes, the people and the shows that make this station unique. The book is split into the main areas that are covered, so there are chapters on the news and political analysis, the dramas, the arts and sciences and the superb comedy shows that are available. Each chapter has lots on the programmes that fill the airwaves and how we got to where we are today with a historical snapshot of the section.
I don’t like everything that is transmitted, but it is a broad church, and there is genuinely something for everyone on the station. My favourite programmes are the Friday night satirical comedies, that have the mix of biting political satire with almost no holds barred. Great stuff. The channel is a bit weaker now on the science since Material World went, but it still has a good mix of news and documentaries. The book brings alive those programmes that is has that offer comfort to regular listeners; the unhurried tones of the shipping news, John Humphries savaging the current politicians and the metronomic pips. It is not without its flaws though. It does feel bitty as it jumps from history to fact to potted biographies of presenters.
Worth a read if you’re a fan of the station.