Listener's Guide

Radio - Something We Forgot To Remember

Picture the scene. A country pub, a restful pint of something brewed next door, food and company just perfect. The company asks what I would be doing if the offer of an evening out had not been suggested. I say I'd probably have spent the time listening to the radio.

Listening in the 1930s

An awkward silence follows, fellow diners look away. Children are huddled together with instructions to stay away from the strange man who listens to the radio. What they no longer understand creates fear. Nobody listens to the radio anymore.

Except they do. Radio listening is at an all-time high with all but a tenth of the UK population listening at some point in the day. They just don't call it radio. When that big news story breaks, people tend to say:

I heard it as I was getting dressed...

It was on in the car...

I was listening on my mobile...

I always have something streaming in the background when I'm on the computer...

It was on the iPlayer...

Just downloading it. Will listen when the kids are in bed...

What they heard was good old-fashioned radio. What they were listening on was anything but an old-fashioned radio even if very old-fashioned radio waves delivered it. The word radio seems to be fading out as AM Radio used to do at a time when there have never been more radio signals in the air driving wireless devices.

There will be a few, we precious few, who still call radio the wireless. Not helping, really.

The problem is my generation is the last to call a radio a radio. We need to get hip, step up to the plate, get our ducks in a row, set our baseball caps at a jaunty angle and get down with da kids, like.

Perhaps if I'd said I was going to check my podcast subscriptions, children would not have huddled and the rest of the diners would not have looked like extras in The Wicker Man. Even then, I'd still be behind the times. The BBC stopped calling them podcasts a while back. It's a download, granddad.

No matter how you listen, radio remains one of those simple pleasures and if you can download it so you can sneak a listen just when you want to, a guilty pleasure. And we hope you don't mind if we keep on calling it radio?

Just for old time's sake.