Blogs in this series

Life in Culebrón is a disconnected series of pieces about the banal and ordinary of everyday life in an inland Alicante village seen from my very British perspective.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

With the radio on

The fail-safe method to determine if the UK is in a state of emergency is the BBC Radio 4 "Today" programme. If it fails to broadcast, as scheduled, three days in a row you'll need to fill the bath with water. At least that's what my brother told me.

I don't think Spanish radio is quite as potent a force in everyday life as it is in the UK but it still has plenty of listeners. I'm one of them. This week radio has been in the news because the state broadcaster, RNE, which first broadcast from Salamanca as a propaganda arm of the Francoist forces in the Spanish Civil War, celebrated its 75th anniversary.

I tend to listen to Radio 5 which is the news channel of the state broadcaster but I also listen to both their speech channel, Radio Nacional and Radio 3 their music channel.  There are plenty of good talk radio stations though they aren't shy about having a political view. SER, Onda Cero and Punto Radio are some of the bigger national broadcasters. The Church didn't want to get left out and has a radio station called COPE. None of the talk radio stations has the breadth of the BBC and there seem to be almost no drama, soaps, comedy or quizz shows. Sport, and by sport in Spain I mean football, takes up huge chunks of the talk radio airtime.

Contemporary music is badly served by Spanish radio. Radio 3, mentioned earlier, could be absolutely splendid. They have some great music with the most eclectic range you could imagine but they also seem to love presenters who prattle on for hours in a monotone. It is about the only place to hear the up and coming Indie bands though whether they be Spanish or International. On the more standard pop channels the presenters seem to be pretty good but their problem is that they play the same music over and over again. The Top 40 charts stand still and there are very seldom anything but mainstream Spanish and International artists in them. I've copied this weeks chart at the bottom of this post. Look how long the songs have been around. The National music channels include 40 Principales, Kiss FM, Cadena 100 and Cadenadial which limits itself to Spanish songs. There are the Golden Oldie channels too.

The only Classical Music I've ever heard on the radio is from RNE. I haven't heard a lot because, so far as I can tell, Radio Clásica specializes in trying to bore their listeners to death. It's a personal opinion of course and maybe Music and Meaning or the World of the Phonograph have their audiences. There is absolutely nothing like Classic FM that I'm aware of.

Local Radio Stations are often very local. We have a generalist one in Pinoso, there's one in Aspe too and typical programming includes music, local news, local jobs, local ads and local ads - oh, and local ads. It's far more common though for local programming to be delivered by the local team of one of the national broadcasters. They take over a local frequency for their programming for a couple of hours each day. There are plenty of local music stations too including a few English language ones on the coast but none of the programming is very adventurous. There is a smattering of religious broadcasters as well.

In summary good quality radio in general but with a very limited scope. Oh, and it's not digital, no DAB here to speak of, so reception can be a problem out of the cities.

Cuarenta Principales chart as of Saturday 21 January 2012

1 Ai se eu te pego, Michel Teló
Last week Nº 2 Weeks on chart: 6, Highest position: 1
2 Someone like you, Adele
Last week Nº 1  Weeks on chart: 10, Highest position: 1
3 Titanium, David Guetta
Last week Nº 4  Weeks on chart: 15, Highest position: 1
4 Got 2 luv u, Sean Paul
Last week Nº 3  Weeks on chart: 19, Highest position: 3
5 Good feeling, Flo Rida
Last week Nº 6  Weeks on chart: 12, Highest position: 5
6 Cometas por el cielo, La Oreja de Van Gogh
Last week Nº 5  Weeks on chart: 9, Highest position: 5
7 We found love, Rihanna and Calvin Harris
Last week Nº 8  Weeks on chart: 13, Highest position: 1
8 No sigue modas, Juan Magán
Last week Nº 10  Weeks on chart: 5, Highest position: 8
9 Domino, Jessie J
Last week Nº 7  Weeks on chart: 9, Highest position: 7
10 Stereo hearts, Gym Class Heroes
Last week Nº 14  Weeks on chart: 7, Highest position: 10

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