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Author Topic:  Your Input Is Our Output  (Read 8347 times)

Rustey .

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Your Input Is Our Output
« on: September 03, 2014, 07:05:17 PM »
Its something Rita posted a few days ago - when she said she was quoting one of the Radio Merseyside presenters. Not really one of those clichs (that so many local radio presenters trot out - when they have nothing better to say) in fact its actually such a relevent point! I think some stations might still say you can Be Part Of It. But even if thats not read out so much now - has something been changed (without any of us being told)?

Its not so long ago that you could still hear many of them playing listener music requests (for all sorts of music) some of it specialised - and some of it mainstream stuff. Unfortunately many of the specialist shows were affected by the Mark Forrest National Local Radio show coming along. Thats not what happened to all of them though - until the start of this year Radio Stoke still ran a monthly Sunday morning show (as part of In Praise of God) where listeners could request favorite hymns. It had run for a very long time - but disappeared without a trace (or an explanation) just so that James Watt could have a whole three hours each Sunday. Of course thats on top of his 15 hours during the week.

You might not think it matters much about hymn requests (as it was only once a month) but its very strange - why was something like this killed off? Something that only local radio could do - and always used to do so well too! Has anyone else heard of anything like this happening - on any other local stations? Not just hymn requests because (if you take time to think it through) local radio can do this sort of thing better than any national station ever can! I chose not to post this as a Radio Stoke concern (theres plenty of those as it is) and I think one of the others has already mentioned it there! But most of my experience is of listening to them though (especially the weekend shows) - which always used to be so special. Such a wide range of listener requests that always livened the weekend up - without being too obscure or off-putting!

Another thing you could always rely on (to be well worth a listen) were the Bank Holiday programmes. But last Monday on Radio Stoke was one of the most disappointing I can ever remember. Three hours of boring commercial radio has-been Liz Ellis talking (mostly about herself) and the records were pretty much what we have to put up with the rest of the time! We never got asked if we wanted to hear any favourite music. After five months at Radio Stoke Liz Ellis still cannot bother to give out their email address - maybe this is why she never reads any out? But shes about as bad as that other reject from Signal Radio (Perry Spiller) as neither of them can go half an hour without mentioning Facebook.

So why is this BBC station starting to leave out huge chunks of their audience? If you want to ask for a favorite song (or hymn) - forget it. If you want to send in your thoughtful comments via email - they do not want to know now. If you try and ask them nicely why this is - you probably will not even get an answer. Plenty of others have related similar stories to this (and not just about Radio Stoke - look at all the Three Counties stuff). No-one is saying its wrong to read out stuff from Facebook - but why are these listeners now getting preferential treatment over anyone who wants to email? How many other BBC local stations have done the same thing? More importantly - why have they?

Someone else wondered if the change of approach (to emails) at Radio Stoke had something to do with what they call compliance. Perhaps it did - but surely the most compliant policy is one that includes as much of the audience as possible? Without leaving huge chunks of them out of things. Other people wondered if some stations are not properly observing their service licences now? I think that sadly its quite possible - and not just where I live! If stations are supposed to encourage listeners to contribute their own stories - how can you honestly leave out whole sections of the audience? Listening to a later show on the Bank Holiday - it was so obvious to me that its no longer our station (where we can ask for one or two of our own songs). Now its so blatantly their station - where we have to put up with what they think we might like.

So is it not true now? Is our input not valued (to help shape your output) any more? Be Part Of It has been quietly got rid of - and is a fading distant memory. Why? How does this save any money (or improve the service)?

darcysarto

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Re: Your Input Is Our Output
« Reply #1 on: September 04, 2014, 09:27:47 PM »
Rustey there have been more changes across the network in the last 18 months than you could shake a whole tree full of sticks at.  BBC Kent now play 'highlights' of their mid-morning show at the weekends - 3 hours no less - BBC Surrey went through a period of playing out a show dedicated to memories of individual Top Of The Pops programs (I'm not kidding), as we know BBC Northampton and 3CR now join up for a show at the weekend etc. etc.

The adage that time is money certainly would apply in the case of emails - if no one sends them in, no one in the studio need have to read them and can get on with other things.  If you are short of staff on a show then you'd have to make best use of their time and encouraging emails would be one way of making work for yourself?  I'm not saying this is the case I'm simply suggesting a possibility.  The same would be true of requests, if you encourage them then you've got to do the work to find them or plan for them.  Texts, tweets are cheap, local radio has been absorbing cuts whilst trying to improve the morning offerings, that was always going to mean the rest of the schedules would suffer.

Northoftheborder

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Re: Your Input Is Our Output
« Reply #2 on: September 06, 2014, 11:45:37 AM »
Sorry Darcy, but can I take issue with you over the subject of excluding e-mails? Look again at Rustey's last few paragraphs:

Someone else wondered if the change of approach (to emails) at Radio Stoke had something to do with what they call compliance. Perhaps it did - but surely the most compliant policy is one that includes as much of the audience as possible? Without leaving huge chunks of them out of things...

If stations are supposed to encourage listeners to contribute their own stories - how can you honestly leave out whole sections of the audience? Listening to a later show on the Bank Holiday - it was so obvious to me that its no longer our station (where we can ask for one or two of our own songs). Now its so blatantly their station - where we have to put up with what they think we might like.

So is it not true now? Is our input not valued (to help shape your output) any more? Be Part Of It has been quietly got rid of - and is a fading distant memory. Why? How does this save any money (or improve the service)?

I'm not really convinced that it's actually that labour-intensive - or costly - to physically open an e-mail. Just how hard can it be?

Rita's reminded us how all-inclusive Radio Merseyside continues to be, not only in accepting many of our e-mails, but also by openly promoting most presenters' e-mail addresses. Listening more and more, to their wide range of shows, I can definitely confirm this!

So it would be interesting to hear others' tales of how receptive their own BBC local stations are towards e-mailing, wouldn't it? It's still not really been confirmed if Radio Stoke are the only station who are attempting to route any e-mail via a central address, i.e. studio.stoke@bbc.co.uk.

BTW I've tried e-mailing that address - to contact their mid-morning weekday programmes - but it's never worked for me yet!

Maybe this ties in with Perry Spiller never promoting any e-mail address. Too busy refreshing their Facebook and Twitter pages to include those who choose to e-mail? Is this a deliberately exclusionist policy? Or just lazy staff, too idle to open an e-mail or two?

Maybe Radio Stoke aren't the only culprits here, but I am with Rustey on this. Why is a potentially significant proportion of listeners being left out?

The only fully compliant policy would be one that tries its level best, to include as many of the audience as possible. If Radio Merseyside perform as admirably, equally and fairly as Rita reminds us, what's stopping their sister stations from doing likewise?

Susie O

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Re: Your Input Is Our Output
« Reply #3 on: September 20, 2014, 02:54:48 PM »
If you want proof that some local radio stations desparetely need OUR input, you want to check out last Sunday`s James Watt show on Radio Stoke:- http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p025tqgv

Don`t worry, as you only have to put up with about twenty minutes. At the start he does that 9 o`clock Connection (the one that he won`t answer any questions about). Last week the songs were:-

When We Was Fab, George Harrison. Zoom, Fat Larry`s Band. Mister Twister, Connie Frances. 99 Red Balloons, Nena.

It doesn`t much more contrived than that does it? In case you`ve not worked it out, it`s all about ice-creams.

Northoftheborder

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Re: Your Input Is Our Output
« Reply #4 on: September 21, 2014, 12:17:07 PM »
This morning brought some breaking news, on this very subject Susie! Not sure how many others will have noticed, but James Watt gave Sundays an alternative introduction to his boring weekday programmes. Starting as he meant to go on, with a jingle announcing "James Watt's 9:00 Connection".
 
Except that today he didn't. All we heard was a brief statement, along the lines of: We're not doing the connection any more - we've decided to move on.
 
I followed Susie's link (this will now have expired, seven days after broadcast) and couldn't quite comprehend just how bad things had become, although it was interesting to note two comments. Initially Mr Watt reminds us we're starting off: "as usual... with the 9:00 Connection". When revealing that the desired answer was things that may be found in an ice-cream van, this was done to the strains of the "Magnum PI" theme. Did you see what James tried to do there? As he would most likely say: "it's a gift".
 
Immediately afterwards, James casually tells us "er, we'll do another of those, next week" which of course isn't exactly the most rock-solid guarantee, is it? If you check Radio Stoke's on-line schedule, they've removed all reference to any 9:00 Connection - for this week - but not for next week! Maybe it's best this desperate non-event has been put out of its misery, although I think it's perhaps worth reminding you what a fellow Radio Stoke listener had to say:
 
This topic continues to illustrate what I believe to be an ever-widening gulf - dividing those local radio stations that still recognise and encourage true audience interation, and a handful that appear increasingly content for their listeners only to hear that which is enforced upon them.

Let us take Radio Stoke's James Watt as an example. Just six months after arriving (and being awarded the station's prime weekday afternoon programme) he was thought to be so popular that a sixth show was deemed necessary. Accordingly, popular and long-serving weekend host Nick Robins lost his Sunday morning programme, to accommodate even more of James Watt. Early promotional material for this extended timeslot offered listeners a chance to solve 'James Watt's 9-00 Sunday Connection'.

This feature has relatively close similarity to a vastly-superior item, broadcast weekly until June last year - when it was suddenly removed without adequate explanation. Called 'Six Songs In Six Seconds' this popular feature has been referred to elsewhere, specifically by contributor Rustey, who detailed their friend's attempt to contribute their own suggestion. By all accounts, Radio Stoke were happy to accept this submission (to a programme where this had been actively encouraged) but somehow could not find any of the six pieces of music proposed. Apparently, it was thus felt acceptable to change all six records - and deny Rustey's friend any credit whatsoever - even though their originally-themed idea was still utilised, some weeks later. A strange interpretation of 'Be Part Of It', by any reasonable stretch of the imagination.

Seven months after this item vanished, 'James Watt's 9-00 Sunday Connection' was launched. One or two differences (from 'Six Songs In Six Seconds') became apparent, as now only four pieces of music are played. Despite running the feature for over a month now, James Watt has given no indication - whatsoever - that he will be accepting listeners' own suggestions. If Radio Stoke's own feeble attempts are anything to go by, they desperately need their listeners' input.

However, this particular radio station seems no longer able to trust its audience to interact, instead allowing only the same few attention-seekers to come on air each week, telling everyone what the 'connection' is. Compared with the many creative ideas (that listeners submitted to 'Six Songs In Six Seconds' until 2013) this lacklustre replacement is an exceptionally poor substitute.

Interesting comments, when you consider that Dennis told you elsewhere how he's not too fussed about sending in his own material, isn't it? He went on to tell us:


...the chance to analyse James Watt's 'unique style' - consisting chiefly of a stumbling, excessively repetitive, stuttering delivery, punctuated by the same few usual 'names' - especially with regard to his 'Nine o'clock Sunday Connection', a feature that could be so much more... I wonder what the station's Managing Editor, Gary Andrews would think of that?

I know exactly what was thought of that, because Dennis quoted that infamous response that my sister-in-law received:
Quote

...the James Watt Sunday 9am Connections feature is not intended as a feature for listeners to suggest their own songs, rather to try and spot the connection...

Well I'd love to try and get to the bottom of this one, but - as you must know well by now - Radio Stoke's standard response is to claim they don't have time to discuss their editorial decisions, or to justify their reasoning behind these!

There are more important things going on, of course, but it's worth going away and considering how much Radio Stoke have marginalised audience participation, over the past two years. A brief respite was offered during the summer (with regard to Den Siegertsz's Saturday show) but our hopes were cruelly dashed - after less than two months.

What's perhaps more interesting is how this change - and many others like it - have been foisted upon Radio Stoke's audience with neither consultation, or subsequent meaningful discussion. Maybe there's a wider lesson to be learnt (for us all) here?

Whether we like it or not, post-DQF, the BBC will - more than ever - inflict change upon various aspects of local radio (not just at Radio Stoke) at their will."Delivering Quality First" is such a questionable phrase, as increasingly it seems like it's no longer "our" BBC local stations (which we were given some say in) but now very much "their" BBC. Run along their own, selfish lines.

Susie O

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Re: Your Input Is Our Output
« Reply #5 on: December 08, 2014, 06:54:56 PM »

It's worth going away and considering how much Radio Stoke have marginalised audience participation, over the past two years. A brief respite was offered during the summer (with regard to Den Siegertsz's Saturday show) but our hopes were cruelly dashed - after less than two months.

What's perhaps more interesting is how this change - and many others like it - have been foisted upon Radio Stoke's audience with neither consultation, or subsequent meaningful discussion. Maybe there's a wider lesson to be learnt (for us all) here?

Whether we like it or not, post-DQF, the BBC will - more than ever - inflict change upon various aspects of local radio (not just at Radio Stoke) at their will."Delivering Quality First" is such a questionable phrase, as increasingly it seems like it's no longer "our" BBC local stations (which we were given some say in) but now very much "their" BBC. Run along their own, selfish lines.

I`d forgotten about this one, until North posted that link at the weekend. With all the flak they`re facing (from all sides) at the moment, you`d think the BBC would like to get as many of their licence fee payers, sorry I mean audience on their side? So it wouldn`t be too hard to allow a bit more audience participation, would it?

Especially in the run-up to Christmas! On another thread North reminded us of how Radio Stoke used to allow a few festive favourite music requests (all through December) until a couple of years ago. Now we just get the same few boring Christmas records forced on us. I`m sure that a few listener requests wouldn`t go amiss. After all. isn`t it the season of good will? Please?

Northoftheborder

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Re: Your Input Is Our Output
« Reply #6 on: December 13, 2014, 12:57:38 PM »
Thanks for reminding us of that Susie. I'm so sorry I couldn't respond any earlier, but this is a busy time of year, isn't it? But I was very keen to respond to what you said about those superb seasonal song suggestions - now sadly ceased - on Radio Stoke!

If I'm honest it was a mixed blessing, when they asked for our "Festive Feelgood Favourites", as the original idea (of asking the audience to request music) sadly didn't always remain strictly adhered to! At the outset, it had been a brilliantly simple concept...

...that often proved to be simply brilliant! As Susie's said, a few listener requests definitely wouldn't go amiss, particularly as the Radio Stoke of three to four years ago could often prove. That's when they actually did originate from listeners, of course!

Something that I noticed a few Christmases ago, was that quite a few of these "choices" - although supposedly contributed by listeners - weren't actually accompanied by any listeners' names. Worse still, many of these got repeated, throughout December!

Of course, things have deteriorated even further since then, and listeners aren't even encouraged to suggest any music, instead getting Radio Stoke's own limited "idea" of what they think their audience ought to be hearing. Not much goodwill there, is there?

Northoftheborder

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Re: Your Input Is Our Output
« Reply #7 on: February 21, 2015, 11:35:03 AM »
If today's on-air announcement on Radio Stoke's Breakfast Show is to be believed, tomorrow morning sees the launch of a 'brand new' programme feature.
 
However, it may be wisest not to build up our hopes too much, on the strength of what followed. Den Siegertsz promises us "The Time Of Our Lives", comprising of a selection of 'hits and headlines' from a mystery year during the first half hour of his Saturday morning show. Worse still, another half hour of reminiscence will follow from 10-00am.

Can this show deteriorate any further than it already has?

Possibly not Dennis, if the lifeless programme we're enduring this morning is anything to go by! I can see why you originally posted this in the "Are we really this short of ideas??" thread, but I reckon it's actually quite relevant to this one, too. When I first learned this show was to undergo yet another format change I was, perhaps foolishly, optimistic of a return to something like the Saturday mornings of old, when listeners could actively contribute to a lively, enjoyable morning's listening. Something inventive, perhaps?

So what's that inventive about two separate half-hours of "hits and headlines" then? After the show started, anyone still listening (and/or still awake) was invited to text or call in with their memories of whichever year it turned out to be. Quite clearly the music played was from 1986, and would you believe it? I can recall exactly what I was doing 29 years ago! 9:00 each weekday morning, and BBC Radio One brought us Simon Bates' Golden Hour, with "hits and headlines, from two mystery years". This is progress??

One aspect where it's often said we've progressed is the invention of Facebook, now so universally accepted by many areas of BBC local radio. Notably, there was no mention of any facility to e-mail, and I can't recall hearing anything read out, that was attributed to that means of communication. Never mind, at least Radio Stoke's Facebook page has brought us such illuminating comments:

Quote
Lynda Hawkins-Lobb Morng. U always give us the time of our lives and wiv a date monday nite, im off shopping for sum new attire. U wil b wiv me all the way. Ears on xx

Not sure if any of that ever got read out, but it kind of demonstrates which few listeners Radio Stoke still clings on to, the attention-seekers, the desperate and the sycophantic. Lynda seems to have a thing for Den, as she sent him this gem earlier in the week:

Quote
Lynda Hawkins-Lobb How am I!! Too damn erly to b up at half term but going into wk anyway today and 2moro. Damn gd job yr there wiv damn gd music den. Got 2 get anuther radio now...little one has mine to go to bed with. Training her well I think

Maybe this explains why Radio Stoke's overall output is now so universally dull? With the standard of input via "social media" there for all to see, plus the apparent abandonment of the facility to e-mail anything to their shows, is this perhaps why Mark Ronson's Uptown Funk gets played twice - in a 3-4 hour period - most Saturday mornings? Is this the best the BBC can offer local listeners?

Susie O

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Re: Your Input Is Our Output
« Reply #8 on: February 21, 2015, 03:54:59 PM »

Maybe this explains why Radio Stoke's overall output is now so universally dull? With the standard of input via "social media" there for all to see, plus the apparent abandonment of the facility to e-mail anything to their shows, is this perhaps why Mark Ronson's Uptown Funk gets played twice - in a 3-4 hour period - most Saturday mornings? Is this the best the BBC can offer local listeners?

I was "lucky" enough to hear this show go out live. If I said how disappointing it was, that would be a massive understatement. Hate to admit defeat but (unless there`s a major policy change from Radio Stoke`s management) I can`t see Saturday mornings ever returning to the genuine fun that only true audience participation brings. The only thing that`s brand new about this stale old format is that Radio Stoke haven`t resorted to using it until now. As far as I know anyway. It`s as old as the hills and way past its sell-by date. It`s the kind of tired rubbish that commercial stations still think is entertaining, with next to nothing in the way of actual local relevance.

That`s unless you count the chances that Den Siegertsz gave his listeners to guess what year it was. Mixed in with a tiny bit of archive recording from Stoke on Trent`s 1986 Garden Festival, plus someone on the phone talking about what they remembered of that year. I`ve got memories of that year too, but the show`s email address was nowhere to be found. After all this time they`ve still not bothered to make it clear why the email address on the show`s website is different from the one that they used to give out until about six months ago. As North has told us no emails seemed to ever get read out, it`s probably a wasted effort writing one.

If this boring show is meant to get more listeners in then it`s a total failure. Not a patch on the brilliant audience participation we used to enjoy until about 18 months ago.

Northoftheborder

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Re: Your Input Is Our Output
« Reply #9 on: March 28, 2015, 10:48:45 AM »
Things haven't shown too much sign of improvement since, Susie. This tired old format is so limited, this morning hapless host Den Siegertsz has had to resort to giving out completely erroneous clues in a vain, but futile attempt to throw his listeners off the scent.

Why else would a half-hour of obviously mid-1980s music include a long excerpt of the theme to very Seventies TV series "The New Avengers". Den helpfully told his listeners this show started showing this year, but this cannot be correct, as I can distinctly recall watching Joanna Lumley's high-kicking antics well before 1980 had even dawned! But I wasn't old enough for her "Purdey" haircut!!

So much for the BBC's apparent mission statement, claiming their local radio stations set out to be a trusted source of information.

Moreover, if you cannot properly research an easily-checkable fact such as this, how good can your "serious" journalism ever be?

Heaven help us all, if this is the best weekend output Radio Stoke is capable of now. I used to laugh off suggestions that any of the BBC's output was truly dumbing-down, but it's nigh-on impossible to defend imbecilic presentation such as that delivered by Den Siegertsz today. What a shambles - and his show is barely half-way through. It's time it (and us) is put out of our collective misery.

darcysarto

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Re: Your Input Is Our Output
« Reply #10 on: March 31, 2015, 09:11:20 PM »
Things haven't shown too much sign of improvement since, Susie. This tired old format is so limited, this morning hapless host Den Siegertsz has had to resort to giving out completely erroneous clues in a vain, but futile attempt to throw his listeners off the scent.

Why else would a half-hour of obviously mid-1980s music include a long excerpt of the theme to very Seventies TV series "The New Avengers". Den helpfully told his listeners this show started showing this year, but this cannot be correct, as I can distinctly recall watching Joanna Lumley's high-kicking antics well before 1980 had even dawned! But I wasn't old enough for her "Purdey" haircut!!

So much for the BBC's apparent mission statement, claiming their local radio stations set out to be a trusted source of information.

Moreover, if you cannot properly research an easily-checkable fact such as this, how good can your "serious" journalism ever be?

Heaven help us all, if this is the best weekend output Radio Stoke is capable of now. I used to laugh off suggestions that any of the BBC's output was truly dumbing-down, but it's nigh-on impossible to defend imbecilic presentation such as that delivered by Den Siegertsz today. What a shambles - and his show is barely half-way through. It's time it (and us) is put out of our collective misery.


If there are any listeners left to local radio I imagine if asked, they could supply a good couple of hundred of imaginative and creative ideas for their local stations.  But we know that's not the kind of engagement that's welcome.

Apologies 4 using all letterz in my words if Lynda is reading this.

Northoftheborder

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Re: Your Input Is Our Output
« Reply #11 on: April 04, 2015, 10:45:56 AM »
Nice one Darcy! Maybe all isn't lost though, as - even on Radio Stoke - you can find the odd show or two that still welcomes music requests, just so long as you know where to look. Mind you, they're "networked" or regional shows, not ones broadcast from Stoke.

An especially good example is Mike Wyer's show, which goes out from 3:00 to 6:00pm each Sunday afternoon, across BBC Radios Hereford & Worcester, Shropshire and Stoke. I believe it's on as normal this holiday weekend, so if anyone's at a bit of a loose end tomorrow, what could be more refreshing than giving this show a try? Remember how good audience participation used to be??

During the first hour, Mike will remind his listeners of his last hour, mostly given over to listeners' requests, in the form of his "Jukebox". If you listen to previous week's shows, you'll see how this is a virtual free-for-all, with several less-heard oldies, spanning the last five or six decades! So much more refreshing than the usual routine playlist dross, played to death over and over...

Northoftheborder

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Re: Your Input Is Our Output
« Reply #12 on: June 07, 2015, 03:12:40 PM »

...An especially good example is Mike Wyer's show, which goes out from 3:00 to 6:00pm each Sunday afternoon, across BBC Radios Hereford & Worcester, Shropshire and Stoke. I believe it's on as normal this holiday weekend, so if anyone's at a bit of a loose end tomorrow, what could be more refreshing than giving this show a try? Remember how good audience participation used to be??

During the first hour, Mike will remind his listeners of his last hour, mostly given over to listeners' requests, in the form of his "Jukebox". If you listen to previous week's shows, you'll see how this is a virtual free-for-all, with several less-heard oldies, spanning the last five or six decades! So much more refreshing than the usual routine playlist dross, played to death over and over...

This show's NOT on quite as normal, this particular weekend - but only because regular presenter Mike Wyer is taking a week's holiday! No need to panic though, as BBC West Midlands have found a very capable substitute for Mike, in the shape of Mollie Green - who's previously deputised in this Sunday afternoon slot.

As on the last occasion, Mollie's opened up the whole of her show to listeners' "Jukebox" suggestions, thus expanding upon Mike's usual format. Whilst it most likely won't be the case that every last record is chosen by the audience, this initiative has to be warmly welcomed, contrasting so sharply as it does with the "no request" policy that's been in force for so long now, at Radio Stoke.

Additionally, Mollie is openly promoting her e-mail address, something else that is mightily conspicuous by its absence on mainstream Radio Stoke programming.

For anyone reading this today, Mollie can be contacted on the unforgettable mollieonair@bbc.co.uk Also here's a link to the show's webpage: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02sc5hk

Maybe someone might ask her to play one of the Spice Girls' nine number one songs? That's another thing you'll struggle to hear on Radio Stoke, amongst the wall-to-wall Take That, Eric Carmen and Michael Jackson...

Caledonia

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Re: Your Input Is Our Output
« Reply #13 on: September 23, 2015, 11:27:51 AM »
I'm not entirley convinced they are all that interested in our input... :-X Ill say no more!


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