Love and Controversy: Radio Shines on BBC 4

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Okay, this is a post that may well be a bit controversial. I would like to start out by asking that no matter what your opinion of homosexuality or gender reassignment surgery may be to read on until the end. (How is that for a first paragraph? Curious yet? You should be!)

Robert Hanks of The Independent UK brings us the tale of a shocking radio show, and the reflections on radio’s importance that go with it:

Across the nation, throughout Between Ourselves (BBC Radio 4, Thursday), you could hear the gentle thud of jaws dropping to the floor. In the first of a new run, the common experience uniting Olivia O’Leary’s guests was that they were married to people who underwent a change of sex, and the marriage had survived the alteration: Daphne’s husband was now a woman; Chris’s wife a man.

Sounds like an episode of Jerry Springer, doesn’t it? At least that sort of theatrical approach is what comes to mind to many Americans. Despite subject matter that some might consider lurid, this show managed to rise above the baser impulses, and in doing so illustrated one of the primary strengths of radio:

Daphne had adjusted to a new life, though she admitted to pining for the old one; and Penny was happier now, easier to live with. Dru, on the other hand, was more difficult, and Chris’s misery was clear. Yet both agreed that the change had been the right thing, as had staying together: love made it worthwhile.

The arrival at that tender conclusion was the most astonishing thing, a tribute to Chris’s and Daphne’s generosity, and to O’Leary’s unprurient questioning. It was also a tribute to radio, which can, by making you part of a conversation rather than a voyeur, treat such material with a subtlety beyond TV’s range.

I have said it before and I will say it again. At its best, radio bring a combination of personality, character, and community to its listeners. A sense of involvement that is, as Hanks says above, conversational. The personal touch is important. It is also what allows sustained and serious dialogue beyond the reach of TV, at least when used well.

Content is King, but Conversation shares the throne.Radio 2020 › Edit — WordPress

Phot courtesy of …..dotted….., used under its Creative Commons license

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