19 September 2015

Up all night

The Guardian  reports:

Every night at 8pm, Eastern Standard Time, Rhod Sharp, an expatriate Scot, climbs to the loft of his house in Marblehead, Massachusetts, puts on his headphones and prepares to pretend that it is actually one in the morning GMT. For the next four hours he sets out to, in his own words, “keep some listeners awake and send others to sleep” with the mix of rolling news and free-range conversation which is Up All Night (Monday to Friday, 1am, 5 Live). If you’re one of the significant minority of people who find it difficult to go to sleep without the reassuring sound of a bedside radio or the confiding comfort of an earpiece, the image of Sharp talking to you from his own home thousands of miles away is somehow more appealing than thinking of the same job being done by the sole bleary-eyed occupant of a media mausoleum.
Sharp’s chat provides a valuable supplement to the station’s daytime output. In a media environment where too much time is given to big-name guests with nothing to say or stories with little to add to your knowledge of a situation beyond the fact that they are apparently “breaking”, Sharp’s gently unfolding conversations with experts, well-placed observers and stars whose names wouldn’t be quite big enough to get on the main bulletins are even more welcome.
Aye, Rhod is alright.  But he is only on for three mornings a week - Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.  And on Thursday morning he gives up an hour of the programme to an execrable Australian who claims to be a scientific expert.  The rest of the week is given to Dotun Adebayo who is un-listenable to - the radio equivalent of tabloid newspapers.

So, for much of the week, we nightowls have to rely on the World Service.  But that is deeply marred by a daily disgraceful programme of an hour from 2am called Outlook, devoted to "true life stories", especially those - refugees and other victims - who have endured some kind of trauma.  The presenter, a Matthew Bannister, loves to dwell on the gory bits, along the lines of "How did you feel when they tortured you?".

I tell you this - it's not easy being an insomniac ...


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