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May 19, 2012

A Rude Awakening

amazing.pngSome history. Years ago, we bought a new digital radio, primarily so that we could listen to 6Music in the mornings. We checked out everything on the dial, and concluded that 6Music did have the best breakfast show, but that there was an empty channel broadcasting birdsong, and that that would do very nicely to wake us up at the weekend. So, armed with the manual, I set the alarms on the radio, and we were woken up by birdsong at the weekend.

A couple of years after that, the birdsong stopped; the license had been let for that chunk of bandwidth to a new station with a new business model, Amazing Radio. They played unsigned music. At first, most of the music was terrible and the station was minimal, and I very much missed waking up to the sound of birdsong. But the music is now largely good or at least interesting, and I had got used to our two hours a week of slightly sleepy listening. More importantly, it was never bad enough that I was moved to try to remember how to reprogram the radio, and it never ran advertising.

They're now in contractual dispute with digitalOne, who rent space on the DAB airwaves and provide favourable contracts to the radio stations they own and operate (how is this even legal?), and have gone silent. No birdsong either, just a loud, irritating, repetitive announcement. A Facebook campaign has been launched, of course.

It would, I think, be nice to see it back. But what's really upsetting me is that I'll have to urgently master programming the radio. I can never tell whether this inability to remember how things work is evidence of middle-aged mental inelasticity, or poor user interface design. Or both.

Posted by Alison Scott at May 19, 2012 08:27 AM


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