And Finally Media

Birdsong FM fans mourn ‘station’ demise

By | Published on Tuesday 2 June 2009

Following the launch yesterday of Amazing Radio, that new unsigned bands radio station on the national digital radio network Digital One, there’s been quite a bit of chatter about the fact the new service replaces the constant birdsong output that has been airing on that particular DAB channel since the demise of digital talk station Oneword back in January 2008.

The birdsong recording on a loop was originally used for test transmissions by Classic FM, but had been used to fill empty channels by the Digital One team on and off also. When it went back on permanent loop at the start of last year it got quite a lot of media coverage, mainly because it was amusing to claim the constant birdsong was getting more listeners than the speech radio service it replaced, even though such claims were always unsubstantiated.

With some media criticising the closure of the birdsong loop to make way for the new unsigned music service yesterday, the acting CEO of Digital One, Glyn Jones, was forced to comment, telling reporters: “When the [birdsong] channel went on air, back in January 2008, we warned that the transmission could cease at any time. Many journalists have suggested that as many as half a million people listen to Birdsong each week. But sadly there’s no evidence for that, as the channel’s audience has never been measured”.

“There’s never going to be a good time to pull the plug on what some regard as a national treasure, but we’re hoping that at this time of year many people will find an alternative simply by opening a window or taking a walk in the park or countryside”.

The man who made the original birdsong recording, Quentin Howard, however, has criticised the decision to close so called ‘Radio Birdsong’, saying: “I am surprised the popular Radio Birdsong channel was removed without warning. There was really no need because Digital One has at least two spare and unused channels available. It didn’t cost them anything, and I’d always allowed Digital One to use the famous recording without charge”.

But there’s a happy ending to this story people. Howard revealed: “To let people continue listening, I will now make this original recording available to buy on CD or download”.