Radio Review: 7 July

John Kane saves local radio – single-handedly
Bridlington is not generally the bit of the north associated with Northern Soul. The music is more usually connected with Wigan Casino and the Twisted Wheel in Manchester, the latter commemorated in a moderately obscure Chris Rea song that everybody should know. Louis-Barfe-colour-176

Nonetheless, the East Riding resort does play host every year to a highly successful Northern Soul weekender. Last Saturday, John Kane did his soul show across all the BBC stations in Yorkshire (Saturdays, 6-8pm), live from the event. The billing led me to expect the show would be high on atmosphere, with kane spinning the discs for an appreciative and demonstrative crowd.

Sadly, when he opened the mic for the first time, all I heard was a man who sounds a bit like John Shuttleworth introducing records in a draughty corridor. ‘Don’t know about you, but I’ve been having a right good dance,’ Kane told listeners. ‘I’ve got the foyer to the Bridlington Spa almost to myself.’ He was trying to whip up a storm, gawd bless him, but he sounded truly like Mr Pitiful.

It was a shame, really, because the music was predictably spiffing and Kane’s enthusiasm really came across, but it would have been so much more fitting if there had been some sort of crowd response. At one time, Kane could probably have got away with spinning in some canned jollity, but if he tried that now, it’d probably force the Director General's resignation.

However, it is a small good thing these days, when BBC local radio seems to be experiencing death by a thousand cuts, that the stations are doing specialist music programming and getting amongst it on outside broadcasts. Whether it’s archaeology and nostalgia like this or the shock of the new with BBC introducing, it’s still going on, the BBC does it best, and we’d miss it if it were gone.

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