UPDATE: 10 November 2009: We are sad to learn that Maclolm Laycock passed away on 8th November 2009. Malcolm was one of the finest broadcasters, and has been greatly missed from the airwaves since his recent departure from BBC Radio 2. We are so very sorry to hear of this news, as Malcolm was a true gentleman and pioneer of the dance band cause. We were fortunate enough to meet him a few years ago, which was a privilege for us. There were few broadcasters with his vast knowledge and experience and we wish to pass on our condolences to his family and many friends. His memory will live on among those of us for whom his broadcasts brought so much pleasure over the years.
Dance bands are the latest to get the chop from the new “supercool” Radio 2. Malcolm Laycock’s producers have decided to (or, we suspect been forced to) dump the dance band section of his 10-11pm show on a Sunday evening. The first half hour is now dedicated to the modern swing bands instead. What a shame for the genre!
In fact, it may mark the demise of this type of music altogether, as it now has no presence whatsoever on mainstream national and DAB radio. A few tokens will feature on BBC local radio, courtesy of pioneers such as Frank Wappat, but unless it finds a small home somewhere on the BBC’s vast and increasingly homogenous national radio network, it is set to be lost to future generations.
This is not just a shame but a tragedy. BBC: you are wrong to assume we want a Radio 2 that is all about being young and trendy. There are many of us under 40 who are bored silly of what you have done and are doing to the network. We don’t want endless James Blunt, Coldplay and Amy Winehouse, we can get that elsewhere in abundance. But we can no longer get decent dance bands, light music, or new country anywhere at all. Genres which, presumably, you have decided are not “cool” enough for the audience which you seek.
Is it really all about ratings? Or is it that the loud minority always gets its way? Just because the internet generation sends posts to various BBC message boards proclaiming Radio 2 has a “pipe and slippers” image, you respond, BBC Radio 2 controllers, by removing the few small morsels of varied music that you provide.
How long is left for The Organist Entertains? Or David Jacobs? Or Listen To The Band? Or are these “trendy” enough for you to leave them alone? Is it really too much for us to have an hour of light music each week (cancelled last year by Radio 3), or half an hour of dance bands, or an hour of Sounds Easy on a Sunday?
We know there are many people like us, both young and old, for whom the BBC no longer caters. If you feel the same way, let us know, and perhaps we can form a loud minority of our own to help redress the unjust imbalance that has taken away that which we loved so much.
UPDATE: JULY 2009
Malcolm presented his last show on Radio 2 and it seems was forced out of the radio station - for more on this, read the latest reports below.
SIGN THE PETITION!
Please visit BRITISH DANCE BANDS RADIO 2 PETITION if you wish to sign to petition against the BBC’s decision regarding Dance Band Days.
LISTEN TO ALAN DELL’S DANCE BAND DAYS HERE:
Click on the player below to hear an Alan Dell Dance Band Days edition from over 30 years ago. This show was broadcast on 2nd July 1979. It is being presented here for a limited time only:
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