2 years ago
Older readers from the UK will remember those blissful days before FM radio when evenings were spent trying to listen to chart music on a beloved Radio Luxembourg, as "All The Young Dudes" would fade in and out of the wall of static that was European broadcasting. That and those Peter Stuyvesant ads. Oh and anti-spot cream Clearasil... Hey Kids, don't let acne get you down: have another fag!
Anyway, if you do remember, you'll also recall the little fanfare identification signal from Tirana that would rise and fade morbidly in the background. A complete mystery to us teenagers, the signal was there purely to locate the Albanian National Radio Service whilst it was off the air, and to stop anyone using the wavelength in their absence.
I mention this purely because I feel that is what this post is about.
I have nothing to say tonight, but if I don't post anything people will give up looking, which would somewhat impair the moment when I DO have that shrewd insight, or inspired wit to impart with you, and no-one's looking.
Please keep this channel open; I'm sure SOMETHING will turn up.
And while on the subject of radio from the halcyon days, who can remember the good old Shipping Forecast? Even if you do not understand a word of it, not one jot, the shipping forecast was nearly always essential listening and had developed a loyal following of non-seafarers, many of whom found its hypnotic repetition and mysterious content somewhat kind of soothing.
It had a serious function though; it was an invaluable source of information for those taking to, or already on, the seas and provides current weather information as well as a forecast of conditions to come. It is broadcast four times a day on Radio 4 LW, with two of those broadcasts(00:48 and 05:20 hours) also appearing on FM radio.
A further appeal is the collection of names to describe the various sea areas, working pretty much the way counties or provinces do on land. These are, in order: Viking, North Utshire, South Utshire, Forties, Cromarty, Forth, Tyne, Dogger, Fisher, German Bight, Humber, Thames, Dover, Wight, Portland, Plymouth, Biscay, FitzRoy, Sole, Lundy, Fastnet, Irish Sea, Shannon, Rockall, Malin, Hebrides, Bailey, Fair Isle, Faeroes, and Southeast Iceland.
There is also an area known as Trafalgar, which is located off the coast of Spain, but this is only reported in the 00:48 broadcast.
And due to the importance of clarity and timing, the announcers reading the shipping forecast have to follow a strict sequence and the entire forecast has never ever been more than 350 words long.
And there's not a lot of people know that!!
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