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Audio Resources from the Beeb.

By kimpton in Culture
Mon Jul 15, 2002 at 08:48:37 PM EST
Tags: Internet (all tags)

The BBC has been streaming their radio shows live for many years now. Exploring the variety of BBC radio related websites reveals that many of the past shows can be listened to in individual segments, excellent for catching your favourite shows at any time, and for avoiding the UK centric programs you may have no interest in. The variety is vast, from hard hitting political discussion to ground breaking comedy shows, from classical music to cutting edge electronica. In this article I'll provide a quick overview of the different radio stations for those of you not familiar with the BBC's audio output and a few recommended programs.

Radio 4 is talk based and provides a wide variety of high quality programming. It is seen as the intellectual and high brow channel in the UK. The listen again link provides a full list of available programs. For an interesting take on world news try From Our Own Correspondent where BBC foreign correspondents provide often personal and in-depth articles on issues local to them. For discussion try the Moral Maze where guest speakers arguments are torn apart by a group of academics. This program is always good and can get very boisterous. There's plenty of comedy too. Try Just a Minute which has been running for years. Comedy shows tend to come and go on radio 4 so it's worth keeping up to date with what's on. Many classic UK comedy shows start off on radio 4 before moving on to bigger things, Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy being one of them. Try the science pages and programs like Leading Edge for the latest science news or the history pages. Unfortunately a lot of the drama and book readings don't seem to have listening options, presumably due to copyright restrictions.

Radio 1 is the BBC's popular music channel, though decent music shows can be found amongst the commercial dross. John Peel has consistently introduced new music to the UK for the last 30 years or so and will happily play heavy guitar tracks next to minimalist electronica, whatever takes his fancy. Nice chap too. The Evening Session provides slightly less random music compared with John Peel, but generally pretty good stuff. If dance/electronic music is your thing try the Essential Selection or if you'd rather chill out there's always the the Blue Room

Radio 3 is the high brow music channel. The majority of the coverage is Classical music, from Composer of the Week, latest performances by the BBC orchestras (a bit of Brahms for example), or educational music programs. It's not all classical though, Mixing It covers just about all types of experimental music and recordings of live music. There's also sections on Jazz and World Music if that's your thing.

The other two main radio stations on the BBC are Radio 5: phone ins, news and sports commentary which is a little too UK centric for a world audience and Radio 2, the dreaded 'easy listening' channel. I have not ventured into the world of Radio 2, and hope I never will.

The variety of BBC audio on offer can make the boring office days less dull and often provide more stimulating listening than your average mp3 collection, or the thousands of mindless internet stations that stream endlessly dull trance. When a job is particularly braindead I look forward to the opportunity to listen in to the spoken word programs on Radio 4 and can even relish less interesting work just so I can listen to a comedy show or my favourite 'From Our Own Correspondent'. If there are any other audio resources on the web as good as this I'd like to know.

note: All of the BBC's audio output is Real Player based at the moment. Some of the audio links directly to the audio file itself and others bring up a small window with the player controls and a listing of the available programs. A few of the direct audio links failed to work occasionally but the show can always be accessed from the browser based player. This can normally be accessed by selecting the 'listen live' links on the various stations web pages. Unfortunately the BBC OGG streams don't seem to be moving on much at the moment. It may be worth keeping an eye on these pages for those without access to a Real Player.


Voxel dot net
o Managed Hosting
o VoxCAST Content Delivery
o Raw Infrastructure


Best BBC radio station
o 1 22%
o 2 7%
o 3 18%
o 4 40%
o 5 11%

Votes: 27
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o Radio 4
o listen again
o From Our Own Correspondent
o Moral Maze
o comedy
o Just a Minute
o science
o Leading Edge
o history pages
o Radio 1
o John Peel
o The Evening Session
o Essential Selection
o Blue Room
o Radio 3
o Composer of the Week
o Brahms
o educationa l music programs
o Mixing It
o live music
o Also by kimpton

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Audio Resources from the Beeb. | 37 comments (25 topical, 12 editorial, 0 hidden)
Intellectual talk radio? (none / 0) (#4)
by leviramsey on Mon Jul 15, 2002 at 02:03:20 PM EST

I didn't think there could be such a thing.

Most of the talk radio in the US is one of two extremes: shows by moronic conservatives (see Rush Limbaugh) and shows by pseudo-intellectual liberals (see NPR).

I can think of one exception though: David Brudnoy.

And I can think of another exception. (5.00 / 1) (#7)
by carbon on Mon Jul 15, 2002 at 02:11:40 PM EST

Car Talk, baby! W00t, w00t!

Ok, I'm over the excitement now. But I still like 'Car Talk', since it's just hilarious and entertaining. I don't know if it's really what you mean by talk radio, although all they do on the show is talk...

Wasn't Dr. Claus the bad guy on Inspector Gadget? - dirvish
[ Parent ]
I was only considering political talk (none / 0) (#10)
by leviramsey on Mon Jul 15, 2002 at 02:16:51 PM EST

There's a lot of good non-political talk out there, though.

Brudnoy's show is awesome. It's mostly interview based (some call-in, but open line is rare), with guests from various areas of study (politics, economics, psychology, science), the arts/entertainment, and even occasionally people who have invented a game. It's fabulous, although now that it's only a three hour show, it's not as good as it used to be. When David dies from AIDS, I will be very sad.

[ Parent ]
Good political talk radio (none / 0) (#18)
by Anonymous 242 on Mon Jul 15, 2002 at 03:45:45 PM EST

  1. G. Gordon Liddy. Whether you like his politics or not (and I don't) he is incredibly intelligent and his show is remarably entertaining.
  2. Pat Buchanan and Friends. I don't know if this show has been resurrected since Pat's failed presidential bid in 1996 but Pat used to co-chair a talk show with various liberal co-hosts and take callers live off of the air with no screening. They got some reall goof balls calling in. They also got the type of intellectual and persuasive contrary folks that Rush's handlers screened out so that Rush didn't get any argument that he couldn't handle.
  3. Talk of the Nation. (NPR no less)
I'm sure there are more out there.

[ Parent ]
Pat Buchanan? (none / 0) (#23)
by spaceghoti on Mon Jul 15, 2002 at 06:40:00 PM EST

What's the difference between Pat Buchanan and Rush Limbaugh? Buchanan is a large part of the reason my voting habits started leaning toward third-party independents, away from the GOP. Frankly, the man scares me and the thought that he has a radio show following frightens me even more. I think he's been whispering in Dubya's ear of late.

"Humor. It is a difficult concept. It is not logical." -Saavik, ST: Wrath of Khan

[ Parent ]
What makes Buchanan different than Limbaugh (none / 0) (#26)
by Anonymous 242 on Mon Jul 15, 2002 at 10:27:37 PM EST

Buchanan listens. As much as I disagree with his views, Pat Buchanan is very smart and he actually listens to oppositing viewpoints. This is what made his mid-90's radio show so enjoyable. He gave half of his airtime to a liberal co-host and both of them together took on unscreened callers.

Can you imagine Rush Limbaugh taking unscreened callers let alone give half of his airtime to an equally intelligent and philosophically opposed co-host?

I can't.

[ Parent ]

Just one extreme, actually (5.00 / 1) (#11)
by DesiredUsername on Mon Jul 15, 2002 at 02:20:18 PM EST

Talk radio in the US is always just morons. Sometimes they are talking about politics, sometimes about UFOs. But they are always morons.

I hope you don't intend to paint all of NPR's offerings with the "talk radio" brush, though. The stuff that isn't call-in (and some of the stuff that is) is good.

Play 囲碁
[ Parent ]

True (none / 0) (#13)
by leviramsey on Mon Jul 15, 2002 at 02:25:53 PM EST

I made the error of equating talk with call-in.

[ Parent ]
'talk' = 'talking heads' (none / 0) (#29)
by thebrix on Tue Jul 16, 2002 at 04:40:01 AM EST

If you're referring to Radio 4 make that replacement :)

Much of the R4 output is starchy, with formats that can barely have changed in 30 or 40 years, and there are obvious weaknesses (the business and finance coverage is poor, for example) ... but, for sheer density of content, you can't beat it.

There are a few feeble attempts at 'phone-ins' and suchlike, but they can be ignored.

(Actually, R2 has developed a bit of spine in the past few years, but you're basically right; it is tame).

[ Parent ]

I'll just move Flossie down from top field. (5.00 / 1) (#30)
by bloat on Tue Jul 16, 2002 at 04:41:40 AM EST

Radio 4 isn't talk radio in that sense. It's spoken word shows rather than phone-in. Documentaries, news, politics, plays, drama, The Archers, sketch comedy, etc.

Everything under the sun.

There are no PanAsian supermarkets down in Hell, so you can't buy Golden Boy peanuts there.
[ Parent ]

Good trance music exists (4.50 / 2) (#6)
by carbon on Mon Jul 15, 2002 at 02:10:00 PM EST

...or the thousands of mindless internet stations that stream endlessly dull trance.

I hope you're not thinking that all electronic music is endlessly dull. This is a common misconception, since most of electronic music is endlessly dull. This is not because the genre is bad in itself, but because most electronic music is distributed online, without a producer or such to weed out the especially untalented musicians. There actually is such a thing as good trance music, and it can be found online or offline with some effort.

Wasn't Dr. Claus the bad guy on Inspector Gadget? - dirvish
Good lord no.... (none / 0) (#8)
by kimpton on Mon Jul 15, 2002 at 02:13:40 PM EST

I listen to electronic music almost exclusively and love it......just a lot of the dancey/trancey stuff being streamed is very poor as you say

[ Parent ]
Can you point me in the direction (none / 0) (#15)
by cicero on Mon Jul 15, 2002 at 03:21:51 PM EST

of some good online trance? I haven't found much...

I am sorry Cisco, for Microsoft has found a new RPC flaw - tonight your e0 shall be stretched wide like goatse.
[ Parent ]
Two words (5.00 / 1) (#27)
by tph on Tue Jul 16, 2002 at 02:15:44 AM EST

Digitally Imported.

[ Parent ]
dude, you're a stud! (none / 0) (#28)
by cicero on Tue Jul 16, 2002 at 03:38:15 AM EST

that's exactly what I wanted. Thanks!

I am sorry Cisco, for Microsoft has found a new RPC flaw - tonight your e0 shall be stretched wide like goatse.
[ Parent ]
The CBC is a great source for new electronic music (none / 0) (#25)
by SpaceCoyote on Mon Jul 15, 2002 at 09:12:17 PM EST

CBC Radio Two, late at night, has a show called "Brave New Waves" that is four hours of mostly new independent music. Some of the stuff they play is right off-the-wall, but as a whole it makes for some really interesting accompaniment to one's late-night hacking sessions. You can listen to it live at 12:00AM Eastern Time on CBC's website, here.
___ Cogito cogito, ergo cogito sum.
[ Parent ]
In the UK there's a law... (4.33 / 3) (#14)
by gordonjcp on Mon Jul 15, 2002 at 03:16:04 PM EST

... which says that *everyone*, without exception, must listen to John Peel.

OK, no, there isn't. But there should be.

Give a man a fish, and he'll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he'll bore you rigid with fishing stories for the rest of your life.

thanks (none / 0) (#24)
by Rhino in Rehab on Mon Jul 15, 2002 at 08:42:39 PM EST

I live in the US and it's nice to have access to UK broadcasting. It makes it easier to learn what life is like over there.

But the message Elmo seems to send out is that it is OK to never grow up, to always act like a screaming, annoying baby with a speach impediment. Hrm. - Grover
It has to be mentioned (5.00 / 1) (#31)
by Snafufans on Tue Jul 16, 2002 at 11:21:04 AM EST

For anyone with a penchant for British humour, especially Radio 4 humour, there is but one word of advice.


I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue ("The Antidote to panel games") cannot be adequately described in a paragraph, but if you find yourself smirking at the, shall we say, "light entertainment" of Just A Minute, then you are in for a treat.

Go to a UK online retailer and buy the audio cassettes! Now!


thanks... (none / 0) (#36)
by kimpton on Wed Jul 17, 2002 at 04:07:03 AM EST

...as I couldn't find any 'I'm Sorry I haven't a Clue' audio links...

[ Parent ]
BBC Radio 2 (none / 0) (#32)
by PenguinWrangler on Tue Jul 16, 2002 at 11:33:46 AM EST

Actually Radio 2 does often have some pretty good music on. If you want to listen to classic 70's punk rock, then you can often hear it on Jonathan Ross' Saturday morning show. Odd to think that while the Sex Pistols' "God Save The Queen" was banned from the airwaves 25 years ago, it's now played on Radio 2 on a Saturday morning! They've also had some pretty good stuff on in the evenings, women in rock, the history of punk etc. While it is mostly easy listening, listen to it at the right times and you can be pleasantly surprised!
"Information wants to be paid"
Mark Lamarr's on 2 now as well, isn't he? (none / 0) (#34)
by Gully Foyle on Tue Jul 16, 2002 at 12:33:21 PM EST

Haven't heard his show yet though.

OT: Your sig. Ken Macleod, right? Good author.

If you weren't picked on in school you were doing something wrong - kableh
[ Parent ]

Obligatory Shortwave Bitch (none / 0) (#33)
by antizeus on Tue Jul 16, 2002 at 11:52:25 AM EST

I'm mildly upset that the BBC ended shortwave broadcasts of its World Service to North America a little over a year ago.

See http://www.savebbc.org/.

That is all.

Three words (5.00 / 1) (#35)
by pwhysall on Tue Jul 16, 2002 at 04:30:52 PM EST

To make any true Radio 4 aficionado's spine tingle:

The Shipping Forecast

It's sheer poetry. Seamus Heaney agrees:

Dogger, Rockall, Malin, Irish Sea ­p;
Green swift upsurges, North Atlantic flux
Conjured by that strong gale-warning voice
Collape into a sibilant penumbra
Midnight and closedown

Sirens of the tundra
Of eel-road, seal road, keel road, whale road
Raise their wind compounded keen behind the bays
And drive the trawlers to the lee of Wicklow

L'étoile, le guillemot, la belle helène,
Nurse their bright names this morning
In the bay that toiled like mortar
It was marvellous and actual:
I said, out loud: 'A haven!'

The word deepening, clearing,
Like the sky elsewhere on Minches, Cromarty, the Faroes

--- Seamus Heaney
Justin Madden had this to say:
"I've always been a fan of the radio, and a fan of the sea; and the idea of the ether, a conjunction of those two. The transmission is two things: to one audience, it's serious practical help; to me it's poetry, it's a little mantra, it's the sound of the words --- it's the British talking about the weather again; it's about dry land and treacherous waters --- an offstage drama; me tucked up in bed, and those people out there in a force eight gale. It's about security and insecurity, things you can hold onto, and forces that overpower you. You have to trust in God and hope the sea will take you where you want to go to. It is metaphysically, metaphorically, and meteorologically meant, now, I think"
Some info on the Shipping Forecast
K5 Editors
I'm going to wager that the story keeps getting dumped because it is a steaming pile of badly formatted fool-meme.
The News Quiz (none / 0) (#37)
by rf on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 11:22:40 AM EST

The News Quiz is a pannel "game show" where they talk about the recent news and make fun of it. Its very funny (usually) and found here. If you want to have a look.
Audio Resources from the Beeb. | 37 comments (25 topical, 12 editorial, 0 hidden)
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