Monday, February 01, 2016

BBC Radio Travel?

Some time ago, I half heard a snippet from some radio commentator of football, the gist of which was that when someone tuned in to the show, most likely part-way through the match, that person would actively resent every word that the commentator said until he got around to repeating the score. Which makes sense - it's the single most important factlet regarding the match, and so it's the one that you most want to know when you tune in.

Of course, the big problem with this is that a person who has been listening to the show throughout won't need a constant reminder of the score, and would be quickly annoyed if it were repeated every sentence or so. And so the solution must be to repeat the score reasonably often, but not necessarily all the time, and also to try to repeat it in a 'natural' way - "the attack dies out, and so the match remains poised at 1-1", or whatever.

When travelling to and from work in the last few days, I've been suffering a similar phenomenon with regard to the travel report. It's been fairly important for the last couple of weeks, and so I've felt compelled to listen out for it. And yet, the radio stations that have the traffic reports I need also don't have the music I want to listen to. (I could listen to a CD, but the stations in question are decidedly unreliable in their use of the "Travel Advisory" capability - usually, by the time they've activated it, they've already dealt with the bit of the travel I'm actually interested in. So that doesn't work.)

And so, I've been getting in the car, tuning to Forth One, and then resenting every single thing that is on the radio until a traffic report comes on. After which I change channel, since by then I know what I need to know.

Driving in to work this morning, then, I thought to myself, "I wonder why nobody has started a Traffic Channel, that plays nothing but repeated traffic reports?" At which point I quickly answered myself - there's no money in it since people would only ever tune in for five minutes, hear the report, and then tune out, so there's no value for advertisers, and so no funding.

So, really, whoever did such a thing would have to do so as a public service, with no intention of ever making any money from it. And where, in the whole of the UK, could we possibly find a public service broadcaster?

It really would be very helpful - a channel (actually, lots of regional channels) that broadcasts nothing but traffic reports, and maybe news and weather, on a permanent loop. They don't even need presenters as such; just use pre-recorded reports that change when the situation changes. Ideally, these channels would run in parallel to the existing programming on other stations, but if need be I'd be happy to sacrifice "Good Morning Scotland" on BBC Scotland for (a) something actually useful and (b) something that doesn't actively make me angry.

Just a thought...

(Oh, and another thought: Could someone at Classic FM please consider that having a single traffic report for the whole of the UK is completely useless? It's just not possible to cover the whole of the country in both a reasonable time and in enough detail to be useful - it really needs to be a local report to be useful. And, actually, that shouldn't be impossible, since I'm reasonably sure you already have regional advertising, so the technology needed already exists.)

#5: "Bloodbound", by F. Wesley Schneider
#6: "The Five People You Meet in Heaven", by Mitch Albom (a book from The List, and the first real candidate for Book of the Year for 2016 - it's going to take some beating!)

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