EXCLUSIVE Building Bridges The Art of the Middle 8 – Neil Cowley on Lazy Mozart

We’ve finished our documentary for Radio 4 about Middle 8s and we’re very pleased with it.

Unfortunately we couldn’t include everything, so I thought I’d share this gem from the cutting room floor. Neil Cowley, who plays piano on Adele’s monster album as well as fronting his own jazz trio, tells us a jolly story about the notoriously lazy Mozart and how his cleaner used to get him up in the morning.

Building Bridges – The Art of the Middle 8 is scheduled for tx on Saturday April 27th at 1030 am.

Midge Ure presents and the show includes contributions from Boo Hewerdine (who invents a new Middle 8 for a Bee Gees song which doesn’t have one), Justin Currie who unravels Always The Last To Know, musicologist Helen Caddick and journalist David Hepworth.

Reflecting on Radiodays Europe 2013

Berliner Congress Center

Radio conferences can be a bit gruelling. I know because I’ve organised a few. Some of the best planned sessions can be ruined by people talking too much, dull powerpoint slides, failing microphones. You’ve been there too right? So it’s a pleasure to report that RadioDays Europe 2013 in Berlin was a technical triumph. As far as I could tell everyone who could hear the speakers, the sessions started and finished on time, the exhibitions were interesting, the food was palatable (though not as extensive or as tasty as the smorgasbord at RDE 2011 in Copenhagen) and the atmosphere was genial and creative.


More importantly, there was a refreshing absence of the showing off which has come to characterise the

UK Radio Festival. In an effort to avoid ‘airing the industry’s dirty linen in public’, a phrase used repeatedly by a senior UK radio exec, the Festival has become an expensive bland-out, like watching a tired old rock band going through the motions on their reunion tour. But RDE delegates like to debate. They’ve moved beyond the old public v private sector arguments and they want to learn from each other and discuss future co-operations like the Eurochip for smartphones.

Berlin - Robert Krulwich

My favourite session was Robert Krulwich’s talk about Radiolab, his programme for NPR. It’s a truly innovative concept which plays with sound in a radical and exciting way and he delivered an inspiring call-to-arms about the value of experimentation in radio. With 4.5 million podcast subscribers worldwide, he should know what he’s talking about.

You can hear our conversation here:

I also enjoyed Susan Marjetti from CBC Toronto making the business case for diversity. If your programme team doesn’t look and sound like your audience then you need to do something about it and her show proved it by going from 6th to 1st in its market and staying there. The Radio Today Programme I recorded in Berlin is available here. It features both Robert and Susan as well as many other impactful speakers. Here’s to RDE Dublin 2014.

Brandenburg Gate


Radio 2012 – R5L

Following its successful review of the radio year in 2011, TDC was commissioned to produce a follow-up two hour show for Christmas Day and Boxing Day 2012. Jane Garvey (Womans Hour) and Mike Sweeney (Real Radio XS) presented a joint BBC/Commercial Radio survey of the highlights and lowlights of a remarkable year including the Humphrys v Entwistle bout which cost the DG his job, Danny Baker’s post-sacking rant and 5Live’s coverage of the Olympics.

Petula Clark – R2

Petula Clark

The 80th birthday and Britain’s most successful female singer, and the release of her new album Lost In You, were celebrated in two documentaries produced by TDC. Trevor Dann produced Downtown Girl – In Her own Words and Heather Davis produced the follow-up, presented by Melanie C.

Sounds of the 20th Century – R2

Our landmark 50 part series recalling the triumphs and the trivia, the personalities and the pop music of every year from 1951 to 2000 ran from April 2011 to March 2012 on BBC Radio 2. It garnered many press plaudits and won a New York radio festival Award for Best History Programme. Thanks to its twitterfeed @sounds20thC it became the BBC’s most engaged programme on social media for 18 weeks, beating Chris Moyles and BBC1’s Question Time. Radio 2 have indicated that the series will be repeated but there is no confirmed date yet. Produced by Trevor Dann, sound design by Ali Rezakhani and David Wakefield.

The Listeners’ Archive – All BBC

TDC developed this project as part of the BBC’s 90th Anniversary celebrations. Listeners to all BBC radio services were asked to scour their attics and cupboard, look under their beds at the back old drawers to find tapes of BBC programmes which were never saved. The results were remarkable. We made two programmes for Radio 2 and 6Music with shows previously thought lost featuring Kenny Everett, John Peel, Chris Evans, Brian Matthew and many more from 1955 to 1995. Simon Mayo and Steve Lamacq presented. We hope to make a third show for Radio 4’s Archive Hour soon. Anyone with material to submit should contact info@trevordann.com

Selling Out – R1

Part of the R1/1Xtra Stories series. An investigation into the commercialisation of pop lyrics and videos. Britney made $500,000 from product placement in just ONE video last year. Pitbull has links with Kodak and Gaga with Polaroid. Dr Dre, Gaga, Bieber, P Diddy, David Guetta, will.i.am and Lil’ Wayne all have their own line of headphones under the ‘Beats’ range. Usher, Gwen Stefani, Taylor Swift, Kylie, Beyonce and many MANY more have spun off their own perfumes and fragrances. We find out the exact value (in pounds and pence) of a listener to this documentary. Producer: Scott Cawley

Building Bridges – R4

midge ure

Midge Ure presents an investigation of Middle 8s in pop music. They’re not always in the middle, they’re not always 8 bars, but they do always create drama and excitement in a host of well-known songs. Think of Born To Run, A Day In The Life, It’s A Sin, Oliver’s Army, Every Breathe You Take. That bit that isn’t the verse or the chorus, it’s the Middle 8, or the Bridge. Scheduled for broadcast on Saturday 27 April 2013 at 10:30am.

Singled out as one of the Observer’s “Picks of the Day”.


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