So we listen to the good, old-fashioned radio at my work. I was promised that I’d be able to contribute to the music selection via my iPod, but this is not true for my shop. We have a small CD player with radio. Since I don’t own CDs anymore (generally)…radio it is.
The station we listen to is BBC Radio 2, 88-91 FM.
Let me say that previously, when I owned a car and spent many of my waking moments in it going to and fro, if I decided to listen to the radio instead of my own music, I would switch stations as soon as the DJ or an advert came on. My channel changing reflexes were sharp and in tune. No bother with the nonsense of speaking, I want singing only! Or classical music.
But this BBC Radio. Like one song per 10 minutes of talk. I’m telling you the truth. This is in no way sarcasm or an exaggeration.
The first few days of work, I was going to rip my hair out from all the chatter in the background. They do the news for ten minutes every hour, they ask questions about controversial issues and have people call in with their opinions, traffic reports every half hour, not to mention the DJs just la-de-da whenever they feel like it.
But then I started to notice some patterns. First of all, they play these songs every day without fail:
- Lay Your Hands on Me – Dolly Parton
- I’m Not the Only One – Sam Smith
- Creation – The Pierces
- Maps – Maroon 5 (can’t express enough how much I hate Maroon 5. This kills me every time)
- Angel in Blue Jeans – Train (also not in love with Train)
and they play them almost at the same time every day. The morning DJ always plays those first two. And about every other day they play:
- It Had to Be You – Barbra Steisand and Michael Buble
- I Got You, Babe – Sonny and Cher
which I feel are both super random duets to be playing that frequently. I mean, famous, definitely. But not exactly what I’d consider…over-play material.
At about 10:15 a.m., they do a “love shout-out” and play a love song. They read a bunch of submissions that people have sent: happy anniversaries, happy birthdays, I love you just becauses, we just got engageds, I love my dogs, whatever people send. Then the DJ plays his favorite love song from the requests people sent with their submissions.
Then at 10:30, they have a quiz show called “Pop Master.” They get two callers, and the DJ asks them eight questions worth three points, with bonus questions worth six points. The questions are about music (obviously), but are quite difficult. Which singer covered this track in 1999? These three songs where in the top ten of what year? Here’s ten seconds of a song, can you name the drummer of the group? In which year did these three songs hit the charts during this week? The player who gets more points then goes on to the “3 in 10” in which they have ten seconds to name three songs that went to number one by a particular artist of the DJ’s choosing. The prizes get bigger depending on which round eliminates you.
Keep in mind the answers to these questions span about seventy years worth of music. My mind is blown every day. I would be able to answer any of those questions for certain groups, and maybe in general if it was limited to the last ten years, but every day I learn about a song that I’ve never even heard before.
I’m pretty sure it was this quiz show that softened my heart toward BBC Radio 2. Now I listen to most of it, if I don’t have customers or co-workers to talk to. And I actually care about the news, for the first time in my life. I actually have opinions on things like ISIS, Putin, and the NATO meeting that took place today. It definitely helps that I have a lot more friends from other countries that are more directly affected by these things than America way over there in its shiny bubble of a continent.
Maybe I should thank BBC for helping me grow up a little. Or I can go listen to Sonny and Cher again.