iPods, Discmans and mini-disc players all lack one important thing. Take a guess? They are commentator-free. In this age of DIY playlisting, radio days may be in their waning years. But don’t throw away that armband tuner just yet: There are entertaining and informative music broadcasts in Prague, several of them in English.
King of the heap just now is the daily Express Evenings in English on COLOR RADIO (90.3 FM). American Robert Polo (Dr. Bob), a 20-year broadcasting vet, provides “humor, news and helpful tidbits about life in the Czech Republic” The show is a welcome brew of trendy tunes, showbiz anecdotes, occasional guests and the always informative “Prague.tv minute,” a tight roundup of night-out tips from the Web site’s enlightened club crawlers. This local flavor with a comedic Western twist plays well, and Polo’s solid command of Czech helps make the show a shared experience for expats and natives. (Radio Express owners Mlada Fronta Media claim a wide listenership among Czechs between 20 and 40.) Unfortunately, the show is being scaled back to an hour, 8-9 p.m., to avoid conflict with local TV news.
With the passing of legendary DJ John Peel, who helped introduce working-class punk and alt-rock to wider audiences right up until his untimely death late last year, BBC World (broadcasting here at 101.1 FM) seems to be struggling to find fresh musical input. A notable exception is the forward-thinking White Label. Airing Tuesdays at 2:30 p.m. and Wednesdays at 2:30 a.m., the show features Mark Goodier alongside an always-opinionated guest music-magazine editor, lambasting or praising tracks still a few months from release. The self-explanatory Top of the Pops airs Saturdays at 11:05 p.m., for those so inclined.
Music industry big wig’s trade insights on BBC’s The Music Biz Thursday and Friday at 2:30PM and AM respectively. The show astutely reviews emerging trends in addition to well thought out musical tributes by accomplished but lesser known greats.
Radio Prague (92.6 FM) is bringing back its cultural calendar for English-speaking locals after a long hiatus. The program, airing Monday through Thursday just after 7 p.m., offers updates and interviews with colorful scenesters and newsmakers.
A dead medium? I think not. You don’t need a PC, your toes tap, and the money you save buying newsprint can go towards your first round. Hear hear!
Tim’s Top 4 English-Language Radio Stations:
1) White Label (BBC, 101.1 FM) Tues 14:30 / Wed 2:30
2) Express Evenings in English (Express Radio, 90.3 FM) M-F 20:00-21:00
3) The Music Biz (BBC, 101.1 FM) Thurs 13:30 / Fri: 1:30
4) Radio Prague (Český Rozlhas 7, 92.6 FM) M-F 19:07
Tim Otis isn’t shy about plugging his own English language program High Fidelity, Fridays, 8-10 p.m. on Radio 1 (91.9 FM)