The overall rating of a review is different from a simple average of all individual ratings.
Share this review on
Radio 2 has a new reputation for being “cool” (ish), with programmes such as those presented by Paul Jones, Suzi Quattro, Mark Lamarr and Bob Harris, but at other times of the day, the music mix is incredibly dull. Does anyone really still want to hear Chris de Burgh singing Lady in Red, or Joni Mitchell’s Big Yellow Taxi? Sarah Kennedy’s morning show is just the place if you do. The same week Paul Simon’s new album came out, this programme could be guaranteed to play Bridge Over Troubled Water. Eric Clapton has a great new album out, but yes you got it, Sarah Kennedy plays “You Look Wonderful Tonight”.
Sarah Kennedy’s breakfast show on Radio 2, the “Dawn Patrol” has a huge base of adoring fans but is an over-cosy and irritating programme to many others. The format is typical Radio 2 day time stuff – a mix of old tracks from the 50s through to the present day, but focusing on pop rather than anything in the least bit interesting.
A typical Radio 2 presenter has of course got no interest in the music whatsoever, this being entirely incidental to their job of promoting themselves or coming up with a constant stream of inane chat. I wouldn’t mind this so much if they were good disk jockeys, but most of them (Sarah included) suffer from the Radio 2 presenters’ disease of failing to do tell you who was singing the last track she played, especially when its one of the few that interests you.
The strength of the programme is Sarah’s humorous stories and snippets from the papers, and she certainly has a relaxed and friendly style. Unfortunately this is countered by her inability to operate her sound equipment, leading to many false starts, wrong tracks and late news bulletins.
Many listeners send postcards to Sarah when they are on holiday, and Sarah likes to read out a selection of these during the programme. The effect of this however is rather sad: can you imagine going on holiday and taking the time to write to a Radio 2 presenter? Personally I’ve got better things to do when abroad.
At 6.50 every morning, Sarah reviews the morning papers. This is usually embarrassing as she insists on giving her own comments on the news, often revealing a complete ignorance of current affairs, and a pronounced anti-Labour bias. She fails to understand that papers like the Daily Mail have their own agendas and that in quoting them she’s not giving us “news” so much as pro-Tory propaganda. I am amazed that the BBC fails to get a grip on this.
Earlier in the programme we get “Thought for the Day” which Sarah follow with a short “classical” piece. Typically however, this will be an Adieumus type piece with drums and a synthetic choir going “ahhh”. Sarah will usually forget to tell you what it is too, not that it matters very much.
Why listen to Radio 2 then you may ask? Well, like many people over about 29 years old, I don’t really turn on to Radio 1’s diet of hip hop, drum ‘n bass etc, preferring something a little calmer in the mornings. I just with they would play better music than the usual Radio 2 fodder, and also use professional presenters who have genuine knowledge of the music and the bands they play. I suppose the best thing about the Sarah Kennedy show is when Sarah is on holiday and is replaced by Alex Lester. The difference is amazing. Alex is an ace professional compared to Sarah, and also genuinely witty, and I can’t understand why he’s relegated to the middle of the night slot when he would do so much better on the breakfast show than the amateurish Sarah Kennedy.