BBC to launch Radio 2 50s pop-up DAB station
BBC Radio 2 is to operate another pop-up station on DAB next month, all about the 1950s.
Radio 2 50s is part of a new season of programming by BBC Music called My Generation, which will last for a year starting in April.
The station will operate from 14th to 17th April and include a show by Chris Evans and his son Noah, featuring Buddy Holly. It’s the 4th themed pop-up service from the station after Eurovision, Country and Jazz.
In addition, from Friday 8 to Sunday 10 April, BBC Radio 6 Music will look at the alternative side of music from the 50s with a range of programmes, including specials from Iggy Pop, Cerys Matthews, Stuart Maconie and Richard Hawley.
Bob Shennan, Controller of Radio 2 and Director of BBC Music says: “Only the BBC can present such a diverse season of multi-platform programming looking at the decade where popular music began – the 1950s. Radio, television and online will be celebrating the musical decades with a huge range of programming that will satisfy music fans of all ages and tastes.”
On Radio 2 50s, Leo Green presents four Sounds of the 50s programmes, made especially for this DAB service. Radio 2’s Don Black and Clare Teal introduce some of their favourite 50s tracks; there will be special 50s versions of the Radio 2 Folk show, Paul Jones’ Rhythm and Blues, Jamie Cullum’s Jazz Show and Bob Harris Country; plus Steve Wright 50s Love Songs, a Desmond Carrington 1950s special, and Huey Morgan runs down the Number One hits of the 50s.
Guest presenters include fifties rock star Marty Wilde, 50s influenced Irish singer and musician Imelda May, actress Sheila Hancock, cabaret singer Gary Williams and Strictly judge Len Goodman. And in a one hour special called My Buddy & I: Chris and Noah Evans, Chris Evans and his son Noah share their love for the music of an artist that bridges generations, Buddy Holly. The father and son team are bringing the time they spend travelling in the car together – accompanied by classic cassette tapes of the 50s star – to the Radio 2 listeners.
This DAB pop-up follows Radio 2 Eurovision in 2014 and 2015, Radio 2 Country in 2015 and March 2016, and BBC Music Jazz in 2015.
Chris Evans said: “Noah is so excited, especially as there’ll be ‘no sport or travel’, ‘just us and Buddy’!”
Marty Wilde said: “The fifties produced the most wonderful times for teenagers around the world, and I will remind everyone just how good it was for one exciting hour on Radio 2.”
Additional Radio 2 programming will include a special edition of Friday Night is Music Night (Friday 8 April), which will celebrate the film scores of the Fifties. Recorded at the Hackney Empire and presented by Leo Green, movie music which will be featured includes Ben Hur, The Bridge on the River Kwai, Singing in the Rain and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.
BBC Radio 6 Music will be celebrating the era with a number of programmes on Friday 8 to Sunday 10 April. On Friday, Iggy Pop (7-9pm) checks out the ‘vibe’ and what was happening in music in the 1950s with New York Times music critic, Ben Ratliff. In a Sunday Special (1-2pm), Cerys Matthews explores The Chitlin’ Circuit, the southern black music scene where, in its 1950s heyday, the likes of Ray Charles cut his teeth. Richard Hawley steps in for his friend and former bandmate, Jarvis Cocker, to present Rock ‘n’ Roll Sunday Service (4-6pm) where he’ll host a 50s themed show. In Now Playing with Tom Robinson (6-8pm), the 6 Music audience will help him compile a rock ‘n’ roll playlist; and in the Freak Zone (8-10pm), Stuart Maconie will look at the more avant garde music from the 1950s. During the week, the network will be peppered with archive material and rock ‘n’ roll covers specially recorded for 6 Music including ‘Louie Louie’ by Robert Plant.
The BBC Local Radio network aired a special People’s History of Pop programme on Sunday 7 February (12 to 3pm) encouraging listeners to phone in with their memories of gigs, songs and bands. At BBC Radio Sheffield, One Direction star Louis Tomlinson’s former psychology teacher at Hayfield School – Simon Cartlidge, from Doncaster – talked about how Louis flew him and his girlfriend to Madrid to watch him perform and took them out for a meal afterwards.
BBC Radio Manchester celebrated fifty years of music – from the 1950s to the 1990s – with different presenters championing each decade, including Inspiral Carpets’ keyboard player, Clint Boon, for the 80s. Some of the special guests interviewed included Johnny Marr, from The Smiths and ‘Bonehead’ from Oasis.
Robert Elms broadcast his BBC Radio London show live from the Old Vinyl Factory in Hayes. Talking to many ex-employees and special guests, he heard from some of the 20,000 strong workforce who were responsible for pressing millions of singles and albums from the 1960s, and also had a tour around the EMI archive which houses many rare recordings, master tapes and photos. There was live music from Turin Brakes, and Sir Peter Blake came on to talk about his album art work and memories of British pop music.