|Alyn Shipton interviewing Joshua Redman
for Jazz Library at Gateshead in 2009. Photo BBC.
Radio 3 has just announced its September schedules. The news is that from September 17th Jazz Library is to be moved from 4pm Saturday, and will be joining Jazz Line-Up and Jazz on 3 in a round-midnight slot.
Here’s the press release
Jazz Record Requests remains at the heart of Saturday’s schedule with our other Jazz programmes in regular weekly slots. We look forward to the autumn and our continued support of the London Jazz Festival as well as of the young artists coming through our World Routes Academy and New Generation Jazz Artist scheme.”
Jazz Record Requests remains at the same time of 5.00pm on Saturday afternoon while, from Saturday 17th September, Jazz Library moves to 12.00midnight. Jazz Line Up moves earlier to 11.00pm on Sunday evenings and Jazz on 3 remains at 11.00pm on Monday evenings.
Radio 3’s jazz offering is further enhanced through the addition of the Jazz Library podcasts which are now available in perpetuity on the Radio 3 website – bbc.co.uk/radio3 – along with associated articles and artist profiles.”
It's only 18 months or so since I and many other jazz lovers sat in a theatre in London and heard BBC programmers telling us how they loved jazz and fully supported it. They were reacting to a Jazz Services report about how diminished jazz had become on radio and TV.
Now they are moving yet another jazz programme to a graveyard slot. We don't expect Aunty Beeb to have spherical appendages, but we do expect her backbone to be built from more than blancmange. Slippery, two-faced, arrogant – I can't think of any more printable adjectives to apply to BBC programmers.
And still I find myself so grateful to Fiona Talkington when she slips a little Gwilym Simcock into a Sunday morning Radio 3 otherwise classical playlist. That's how pathetic I, and I suspect the rest of you, have become. At least I am owning up to hating myself for it… will you?
This is rubbish on the part of the BBC. From a selfish perspective, there is no way that I (and I presume others who lead 9-5 lives) can stay up late to listen to these programmes and reasonably carry out a day job the next day. More generally, alongside the constant messing around with JRR's timing so that opera lovers can enjoy their fill every Saturday evening, it represents a further marginalisation of jazz from the BBC's schedules.
Yes, I too hang in there for the odd piece of Gwilym Simcock on Sunday morning.
The Jazz Services report The BBC – Public Sector Radio Jazz Policy and Structure in the Digital Age is available at http://www.jazzservices.org.uk. Jazz Services will be seeing the BBC very soon and this matter will be at the top of the agenda plus the lack of jazz at the Proms and one or two other matters such as the axing of Chris Moore's program Jazz Incorporated on BBC East Midlands which is now a formal complaint in the hands of the BBC Trust. The BBC is duplicitous and disingenuous – two more adjectives to add to Peter Bacon's list that is too kind by half.
A great shame is that the quality of the programmes is as high as ever. The reward for a Sony Award seems to be being parked at unsocial hours.
For me, it's a mixture of the times of the shows and the number of hours given over the music.
At least Jamie Cullum's show goes from strength to strength on Radio 2, and there's Stuart Maconie on Sundays fits in some intriguing stuff.
I sometimes wonder why the BBC doesn't use the spare times on 5 Live Sports Extra for jazz or similar. Just giving space would be great. For example, Austrian Radio has every Saturday a Jazz Night from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. Last week, I heard a concert by our very own Christine Tobin recorded in Cork.