Old dogs and old fiddles, no place for the old on radio these days; or is there?

Bolton, Wright, O’Grady and Feltz leave as BBC wields axe over o’l timers

THE BBC will resume normal service shortly. That may be the hopes of the majority of loyal listeners to shows such as Steve Wright in the afternoon and Paul O’Grady’s Sunday show but the writing is on the wall for many of the much loved voices we have grown up with and treasured over the years.

It begs the question, when are you too old to speak? After all, we don’t really get to see the presenters and that is one of the beauties of radio. The voice is just there, no judgement, no fashion victim, no beauty queen or fake tan, no drama, just great professional highly skilled people who know their audience well but know their bosses less if the current trend is anything to go by.

The latest victim is Roger Bolton, the presenter of Radio 4’s Feedback for over 23 years.

Bolton suggests that the bosses may be worried that younger people are not listening to Radio 4. Was it ever thus apart from those crumpet eating wine supping Oxford and Cambridge types hot off the set as extras for a series of Morse.

I freely admit to being a fan of Woman’s Hour for many years. At one time I was an avid listener of The Archers. At the risk of being ridiculed I will admit I was in my twenties, a working class young man learning all I could from these ‘posh’ mainly English presenters who seemed to have everything sussed and were able to laugh at things other than did you hear the one about the Irish man the Welsh man and the Scotsman.

BBC we ain’t or rather are not. We do however take a completely different view of our staff, our podcasters, our reporters, our volunteers and our audience. We are not chasing any particular demographic. We do not knowingly cater for those who want to vent their spleen about a partner who ran off with the next door neighbour’s window cleaner nor would we exclude that kind of content.

We do however relish the experience and knowledge our 80-year-old member of staff brings to our news outlet. A great speaker, a fluent Welsh language speaker and politically astute, so much so that he predicted the exact time the PM would leave office before he was elected as PM.

Sure the technology was all new to him until quite recently. A microphone, a recording deck, a podcast, audio editing software, vox pops, zoom interviews. But he has mastered it with hep from young volunteers who also benefitted from his help.

The axe will not fall so easily on Gwynoro. We will allow him to decide when he believes it is time to go.

We are building, constantly adapting, feeling our way in a news climate, which has seen the newspaper industry decimated. Fat cats or rats scuttling off with the loot. Don’t be fooled by what you see or hear regarding promises from new and exciting media outlets. We will let you in to a trade secret. They are not interested in you, just your advertising and click on ads to generate that much needed cash. If you want to see the real deal you have to go to the coalface and get dirty.

Politicians know that the media needs them as much as they need the media. Historically we have lost the Rottweilers but thankfully we still have people like James Whale who has turned to podcasting. For those who have never experienced the man himself tune in to his show on Talk Radio 

You can’t teach an old dog new tricks as the saying goes but an old dog might not want to learn tricks because they already know every trick in the book. Plenty of life in an old fiddle is another one of those sayings open to interpretation. It is fair to say that I enjoy working with someone much senior in years to me. There are numerous reasons, far too many to list here. Don’t take my word for it. Come and meet our senior man on the mic, Gwynoro at one of our News Van Tours. Tune in on www.thenewsvan.com he’s even on Tik Tok at 80, heavens above, what next?

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