Saturday, 22 December 2012

Ghost of Christmasses past BBC WS


A look back at when BBC World Service was as much an entertainment service reflecting the UK's tastes, as much as it was a news channel. Since the advent of BBC 4 Extra (formerly BBC7) 11 years ago, and the shift to focus on news, plus the short-sighted dumping of shortwave for the Internet (instead of using both), light entertainment is hard to find on BBCWS, although The Strand and World Book Club are honourable exceptions.

We all hear and read of people bemoaning the BBC World Service’s lack of entertainment programmes these days, but if you tune to their service for Central Africa on Saturday nights you will hear the BBC's Top of the Pops programme, presented by Kim Robson. It is strange to hear an old format with the names and sounds of today's pop music scene, but lovely to hear on shortwave. My favourite feature of the show is by far when they look at the charts in another country, such as Brazil or Ecuador. Try their 12095kHz frequency from 2130 UTC or online at the BBC service for Africa.

In regular BBC WS programmes this week Heart and Soul is interesting, delving into the roots of Protestantism in Germany, and Christmas eve at 1500 UTC, as ever, is the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols from King's College Cambridge.

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