It's the way it wraps itself around your life.
On Saturdays I drive children to classes. On the way there I'll dip into Danny Baker's stream of consciousness on Five Live. On the way back it's From Your Own Correspondent on Radio 4. Hours later, making dinner, Final Score lets me know that my team has lost. Again. On Sundays I'll listen to football commentaries. If I'm off on a Friday I'll do the dusting while listening to Mark Kermode's film reviews. Any other day it will be Radcliffe and Maconie on Radio 6. Unless Thinking Allowed is on.
TV is greedy. It demands your whole attention. Radio, 90 years young this week, has better manners but it hugs you closer.
There are things I hate about it of course. Phone-in programmes. Jo Whiley. Pretty much everything on Radio Scotland. Radio 2's obsession with TV celebrities. Phone-in programmes (I can't make that point strongly enough). Pretty much everything on Radio 1 (though that's my fault; I've grown too old). But it's only because I care that I'm moved to hate at all. And there's more to love. Start the Week, the weirdness of Late Junction on Radio 3. Desert Island Discs. Count Arthur Strong.
But best is listening at night. It always was. Billy Sloan on Radio Clyde, David Kid Jensen and John Peel on Radio 1; the idea that you were hearing something before anyone else, that you had the secret key to the future. These days I can't even find the keyhole but it doesn't matter. I'm fine with Janice Long after midnight.
I guess kids grow up wanting to be TV presenters these days. I'm not sure why. For all the money, can you trust anyone whose goal in life is to present the lottery programme? But there are days I still dream about having my own radio show.
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