BBC Radio 2 is to run more specialist music content and outside broadcasts throughout this year, including a focus on folk, jazz, country and blues music.
The station will bring more live performances to its regular specialist slots and also highlight them in daytime programmes.
Controller of Radio 2 and 6 Music, Bob Shennan said, “Radio 2’s dedication to specialist music is one of the things that makes it stand out from other stations. We have long championed a wide range of genres and this enriched programming will increase the impact of specialist music on the station, bring it to a wider audience and embed it within the heart of the schedule.”
For folk, Simon Mayo will present an extended version of his show live from the Celtic Connections festival at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall on the day of the Folk Awards ceremony. The event, hosted by Mark Radcliffe and Scottish singer Julie Fowlis, will then be broadcast live on Radio 2 and screened on the Red Button. Other related programming includes a one-hour documentary on Gerry Rafferty with an accompanying concert.
In May, Radio 2 will broadcast live from the Cheltenham Jazz Festival and the station’s longest-running heritage music show, Friday Night is Music Night, will host a tribute to Georgie Fame. In addition, Jamie Cullum’s weekly programme will reflect the festival in a special show. Other jazz-focused programmes to be broadcast on the station in 2013 include Jazz At The Movies in which Jamie looks at the different roles jazz has taken within film and how the two mediums have complemented one another; whilst Remembering Humph commemorates the playing, the unrivalled jazz knowledge, the wit, and the vibrant personality that made Humphrey Lyttelton a household name and a broadcasting legend.
Throughout the year, a variety of other genres will also be showcased on the network with enhanced content from major festivals and coverage from top awards ceremonies. In March, Radio 2 will broadcast two special episodes of Bob Harris Country, with live music and interviews reflecting highlights from C2C: Country to Country – a two-day music festival in the UK, featuring country music stars including Carrie Underwood, Tim McGraw and Vince Gill.
Country music will also be celebrated by the Country Music Awards and additional related programming includes Cerys Matthews And The Women Of Country, fronted by Radio 2 and Radio 6 Music presenter Cerys Matthews. The series sees her making a personal pilgrimage back to Nashville, where she lived for some years, to examine the country music industry from a woman’s perspective.
Also during the year, and as part of a wider celebration of blues music on Radio 2, King Biscuit Time Blues take the audience inside radio station KFFA in Helen, Arkansas – home of the longest-running daily radio programme in the world, King Biscuit Time, a daily-half hour show dedicated to the blues.
In addition, the network will continue to support emerging specialist talent as part of its search for both the best young chorister and brass musicians. The Young Brass Musician of the Year final takes place on the 27th of January at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester as part of their Festival of Brass.
2Day will also return for another year.