A boon for busy fathers 

22 November 2004 tbs.pm/514

Sharp rise for on-demand

Before I got married, I was an avid Radio 4 listener. I picked up the Radio 4 bug at university during the Gulf War, and I found myself utterly unable to shake it off. After that, I listened to it pretty much all the time, whilst I was doing whatever I was doing. I would often organise my week to ensure I was at home catch my favourite programmes.

However, these days I live in a hectic home in Hungary, with two toddlers wanting Daddy’s undivided attention, the wife belly dancing, learning German and tending the garden, and Radio 4 only available upstairs via the magic of RealPlayer on my PC. Obviously, it’s not so easy to find the time to listen – and when I do, it is very unlikely to be at the times that the programmes I most want to listen to are being broadcast.

Therefore the “Timeshifting” ability for Radio 4 programmes on the internet is manna from heaven.

In an average weekend, I tend to have four “must listens” on Radio 4 – “Any Questions”, “Any Answers”, “Broadcasting House” and “The World This Weekend”.I usually think I’ve done pretty well if I’ve managed to listen to the full set in a weekend. Without the abiltiy to “timeshift” I doubt I’d manage to catch any of them, but thanks to the wonders of “Listen Again” I usually do manage it – eventually!

In my experience, the main downside of being able to “time shift” is that you tend to only listen to things you know you want to listen to. This is a completely different experience to my Radio 4 on the radio days, when Radio 4 was a lucky dip and constantly surprise you with things you were not expecting.

Therefore I do tend to keep an eye out for the “Editor’s Picks” on the Radio Four home page, and try and listen to some of them if I have some free time. For instance, something as unlikely sounding as “Box Jumpers – Debbie McGee’s look at the history of magician’s assistants” turned out to be absolutely fascinating and “Take Five Numbers” was probably the best radio series I’ve ever heard.

But, I must admit, I’m not sorry that thanks to internet radio I can totally avoid “The Archers”.

A member of the Transdiffusion Broadcasting System
Liverpool, Sunday 24 October 2021