Monday, February 16, 2009

Podcast Review - Radio One Introducing

Image a place where the government actively encourages the development of new music and helps its citizens get their work before the public by broadcasting their recordings. You're right -- I'm not talking about the U.S.

But that's basically what happens in the U.K. at BBC Radio 1. Their slogan for their "Introducing" programs says it all: "In New Music We Trust." And they do.

The Introducing programs are all about new U.K. artists. Each region of the country has a show devoted to discovering and promoting unsigned musicians. They support them by playing the recordings the bands submit, by having them play live on air, by making first-class recording studios available to them, and by inviting them to perform at major music festivals across the country, such as Glastonbury.

And for some time now, this new music initiative has been available as a podcast from the BBC. "BBC Introducing" is a weekly podcast that takes the best bits of the previous week's 1"Introducing" programs, and presents it in a half-hour format. The show usually starts with a single, then moves to a band session at the BBC Maida Vale studios for an interview and a short live set. The last part features a profile of either a town's music scene (with audio samples of the bands) or a small D.I.Y. label (again, with audio samples).

Huw Stephens is the host, and his enthusiasm for these rising musicians is infectious.

I've discovered some great bands, such as Riz MC, Chow Chow and Plywood Dog, which has made the weekly time investment worthwhile. Plus, I heard the Ting Tings on the Introducing podcast about a year before they broke in the U.S., and Los Campesinos.

But most importantly, the show continually amazes me with the creativity and stylistic diversity of new music. Across the U.K. there are thousands of bands pursuing a dizzying array of styles, and as different as they sound, many of these groups are very, very good. And often times equal -- if not better -- than those currently on the charts.

And that's my secret for remaining a little ahead of the curve musically -- "BBC Introducing."

- Ralph

Day 236 of the WJMA Web Watch. (What's my local music scene like? I have no idea listening to these guys -- it's strictly top of the charts for our hometown station!)


  1. Anonymous12:56 AM

    Hey Ralph, the BBC aren't the only ones to do that, Australia's public broadcaster the ABC have a national youth network called triple j ( and they broadcast on radio, tv and online. They also have a website called which is all about new unsigned australian music and gives them airtime as well - but triple j unearthed also have a podcast as well, which i believe you can find in itunes here:

    I hope that helps with staying ahead of the musical curve:)

  2. That is a fantastic recommendation, thanks! I will decidedly check it out. There is one downside to being on this side of the curve, though. I found I have less and less patience with mainstream commercial pop. It just doesn't sound very interesting anymore.