Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Olympics on the radio evokes atmosphere that television can't match

BBC 5 Live presenters are thriving in their Olympic roles, despite one listener calling the extensive coverage an 'orgy of self-interest'

"It is," Victoria Derbyshire told listeners to Radio 5 Live on the day of the opening ceremony, "the first total Olympics." She was referring to BBC coverage: on television, 24 live streams in addition to several channels; on radio, rather more modestly, one new "pop-up" station, 5 Live Olympics, broadcasting digitally alongside 5 Live and 5 Live Sports Extra.

Not all listeners are convinced that such extended radio coverage is needed, given that 5 Live is already dedicated in large part to sport. "It's an orgy of self-interest," one grumped in an email. If not an orgy, it's certainly a generously laden smorgasbord, with the three stations broadcasting 75 hours of live coverage of 23 sports over the first weekend of the Games. 5 Live covers the main events and news from the Olympics, flitting between sports and stories; 5 Live Olympics commentates on other sports for longer, with overnight highlights of each day; and Sports Extra is home to the rest of sport for the duration.

It's impressive so far. The coverage has breadth and depth, passion and knowledge, but during the Games, radio also has a key advantage over the behemoth that is the televisual operation. 5 Live, while extending its sports output, retains the station's core, everyday appeal (immediacy, eclecticism, accessibility, sense of humour, interaction with listeners) and personality.

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(Source: The Guardian, UK)

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