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The future, Katie Derham and me

December 17, 2010

This is Katie Derham. Formerly a belle of Classic FM, this summer she entered the inner sanctum of BBC Radio and became a presenter on Radio 3. She’s been linking various Afternoon on 3 broadcasts during the tail end of this year.

I confess I did express surprise to the BBC when I discovered she’d been taken on. “I didn’t realise you were looking for presenters,” I squeaked in an email, “I certainly didn’t see the role advertised. Is that legal practise?” I’ve since learnt – perhaps not surprisingly – that there is no documented career path for such opportunities and that I should probably get myself an agent if indeed I have any talent for it at all.

Bitter and twisted as I have a tendency to be, I have reluctantly listened to Ms Derham’s output (she’s presenting Afternoon on 3 for the most part) both for the music and for any broadcasting ‘pointers’ she may inadvertently give out over the airways.

Irritatingly I haven’t heard any which is why she’s doing the job she’s doing. Certainly not enough to make me feel confident about being at the top of the emergency presenter list in the event that the lovely Katie falls sick with an extended bout of something. Come to think of it, I suspect I’d probably not be on the list at all. Certainly not now.

She’s looking good in this picture uploaded to Facebook by the Radio 3 Interactive bunch. It’s promoting a special event – a ‘departure’ one might call it – for Radio 3 next year. The Big Red Nose Day concert thing in aid of Comic Relief.

(The green thing is a kazoo. There are going to be lots of kazoos at the event. Yes. Kazoos. On Radio 3.)

Yes, the BBC are taking the network in directions I never thought possible. I’ll be honest, it’s taking me a little time to get used to. But, despite my unease (essentially founded on envy and because I find it difficult even when my Significant Other suggests changing the wall colour in the hall we’ve had for 10 years) I’m warming to the idea, in part because Ms Derham so gorgeous in the picture. I hate that.

And it’s that ‘warming’ to a perceived change in how Radio 3 reaches out to its audience which is what is making me feel all antsy. And it’s not for the reason you might think.

I’m your classic Radio 3 listener. One who feels at home with a radio station which has a subtly slower pace. The pauses in between works and in between announcements are there for a reason. They give us an unexpected extra beat to our day. A moment of reflection. A moment to breathe. That’s why it’s so terribly special. So terribly delicate. And why for those of us who quite like the idea of working in radio, Radio 3 is the destination.

But changes like the idea of the Big Red Nose wotnot on Radio 3 remind me that my listening pleasure is probably a little different from how things are now. That I’m living in the past. Living in a bit of a dream world. That I need to upgrade a bit.

Because before you produce stuff for a radio station, you’ve got to have a sense of what that station is about.

Which is why in addition to the request for airtime on BBC Radio 3 in my Christmas list this year, I’m also adding a roll-neck jumper and a kazoo. And believe me when I’ve got them, I’ll give Ms Derham a run for her money. And I look smashing in Radio 3 red.

Because really and truly, if you can have kazoos on Radio 3 you could certainly have me .. somewhere. ;0)

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