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Listened In

Listened In is 2ZY's regular air-check blog, where we listen to a random twenty minute sample of a station or programme in the news.

2ZY's listening ear is back. And it's trained on a new 60% country music station for Suffolk that's automated out of Lincs FM.

It's Summer! And if you're in Stoke, Swansea or Bradford, there's a special radio station to remind you.

As MKFM gears up from DAB to FM, will it be a new Horizon? (see what we did there?)

We're swept along by some of the excitement but still in the dark about what it means as a big breaking merger story happens live on Share Radio.

The Northern Magics are dead. Long live the Bauer City 2 Network! How is localness being delivered in a networked breakfast? We listen into Rock FM 2, a station that doesn't play rock and isn't on FM.

It's beginning to sound a lot like Christmas.

Have you discovered Serial yet? The new open-ended single-story crime podcast from This American Life. We Listen In to how it's playing with audio storytelling technique.

Cornwall's Pirate FM has a baby, with some old-skool ILR style specialist shows. We listen in to one of them.

The Pulse loses the definite article, gains a "1" and seemingly forgets to tell its breakfast team the date it's moving house. We listen in.

A student station in Belfast was nearly switched off for not meeting licence commitments. Until it took Ofcom to court and won. We listened in to Blast 106.

No FM? No problem. Hire a shop, buy some kit, set up an internet station. We listen in to the latest community hybrid - in Surrey.

Original 106 is giving away a car. We listen in.

Absolute Radio rights a decade-stations wrong, and now supplies appropriate music around brilliant bits of Christian O'Connell. We listened in.

ITV just got serious at breakfast time. And there's a lot of radio thinking going on. What does Good Morning Britain mean for your breakfast show?

Happy Birthday, Mix 96. So how's Aylesbury's best mix of music sounding this morning?

Jack is the new Black. Flipping to a format not dissimilar is the current favourite route of under-performing tertiary stations. After approximately 65 hours of playing nothing but Bohemian Rhapsody, that's exactly what Touch FM in Coventry has done.

Some Word Art later, and Bob FM's Jack-like format takes over Jack in Herts.

As the good citizens of Reading wake up to the latest Jack takeover, we listen in to the station 4,688 miles away where Jack first happened. CKLG-FM 96.9 Vancouver.

Forty years ago, BRMB took to the air. Two years ago, it was replaced by Free Radio.

After its Ofcom triggered by a single complainant, we check out how Cornish Heart Cornwall is. And in the storms, it has to be said, pretty Cornish.

Brighton's hipsters have been been enjoying a little bit of Paris on their FM dial. Until someone pulled the plug. We ecoute.

If you wish it could be Christmas every day, you'll love this.

A bizarre interview and an unexpected caller combine to make compelling radio that raises questions about how we research guests and deal with unravelling stories on air.

Big headphones to fill at BBC Essex where Ray Clark's off down the day after six years at breakfast.

Jane Garvey's joined by Jacqui Oatley with a staggering tale of broadcast sexism from just six years ago in the last part of a series about women who were radio firsts.

Frank Sidebottom lives on as a new statue is unveiled in his hometown of Timperley. And his radio shows live on online. We listen in to Radio Timperley.

It's one of the reason's I'm here. The pioneers of commercial radio gathered in Gough Square, forty years ago today for 417 London Broadcasting. Happy Birthday LBC, and legal commercial radio in the UK.

Live evenings, local news tags off IRN at 2100, content from listener-rewarding events ... with lots of laudable localness going on in Lincolnshire, we wondered why it was such a tough listen.

So I was stuck in a TV-less holiday apartment with no wi-fi, but amazingly, DAB reception. So I got into Jazz FM. Even though I don't think I like jazz. Bravo Helen Mayhew.

We listen to one of the few solo women on a breakfast show. And wonder about voice-tracking etiquette.

Jack has a sister. But she's not allowed her own breakfast show yet. We listen in to Jack's Morning Glory.

North Norfolk Digital's new app means you can now hear Alan Partridge wrapped around your own iTunes library. We listened in.


Ken Bates has gone. And now, so has Leeds United's countywide DAB Sports radio station.

Egypt's an interesting place to be at the moment. Not that you'd guess that from listening to Nile FM.

Mr Birmingham leaves BBC WM after 19 years, disappointed, but not as disappointed as some of his listeners. We tuned in.

Radio 4 marked the untimely death of a colleague with a powerful testament to the impact of the human voice on radio. Just one part of a great PM when we listened in.

There's a 90s revival going on at Wish FM. We listen in.

The romance of the American West this week, as Listened In checks out a radio station dedicated to one road. The I15 between LA and Vegas.

So long, Kerrang. We listen in to one of the last breakfast shows.

It's the kind of last show you always secretly wanted to do. Click to find out what we thought about the most talked-about radio programme of the week.

This station is named after one of the pirate greats. But we find the gags are as old as the songs.

Dee 106.3 has cleverly done a Sorcerer's Apprentice and appears on Muxco's new multiplex as 'Dee on DAB'. But with Heart all over it, how is Chester's radio station carving its own niche? We listened in.

So as TFM heads up the A1, how is the twice-Sony nominated BBC competitor shaping up as Teesside's really local radio? We listened in.

The New TFM? Or the same old Metro? We listened in after Bauer share all programming across its two separately-branded North East stations.

A refuge from clutter and presenters, but as cool as a frozen cucumber in Tom Odell's freezer compartment ... we listen in to chill.

Remember when ILR was 'ratings by day and reputation by night'? With a cavalcade of specialist music shows, fascinating trivia from 'this day in history' and cheeky chaps with voices of velvet? They're still doing that at U105.

Kent is submerged. Even former members of Bucks Fizz are stranded! But help is at hand. Listened In checks out the snow patrol of BBC Radio Kent, led by John Warnett.

The World Service uncovers some human interest examples in the battle for LGBT rights in Russia.

GCap flogged it to Malcolm Bluemel, now Malcolm Bluemel's sold it to Bauer. But how's Planet Rock sounding, and who's it for? We Listened In.

When Ian Beaumont of Falmouth's community station The Source FM told readers of how they should listen to him to "hear how it should be done," Listened In couldn't resist taking a listen.

We listened to London's Magic 105.4 on the morning Neil Fox had a massive Shard on. Click below to find out what we thought.

Surely they're not gonna rebrand the poor thing again? Star Radio North East has a ten day multiple personality disorder in a desperate attempt to get talked about. OK. It worked. We listened in.

We're back for a new year of Listened In blogs, as Mike Read goes back to his roots in Reading, and joins BBC Radio Berkshire's afternoon show.

The Orkney and Caithness community 'Super Station' is in Ofcom's bad books over its own books. But does the output make more sense than its accounts? We've been listening in.

We listen to Sydney's 2Day FM, in the news for all the wrong reasons.

The Naked Scientists, BBC Radio Cambridgeshire's lauded science magazine show, faces the chop under Delivering Quality First plans for Local Radio. We listen in.

You'll either think it's magic or tragic that there's now a radio station dedicated to jingles. We listened, so you don't have to, if you're the latter. If you're the former, read our review, then go to and hit Play on that lovely Sonifex cart machine.

It's beginnning to sound a lot like ... Smooth Christmas, a dedicated Christmas station on DAB and online. But is it as warm as a mince pie or as cold as Jack Frost?

"Every radio presenter has a perfect time for being on the air, a slot that suits their personality and style. Late night radio was definitely Allan's." In John Myers's book, he says Allan Beswick is the best phone-in host he ever heard. In a special Listened In, we review one of the phone-ins that made him famous - from 1985 on Red Rose Radio.

We gave them 22 minutes. Well, 20. They gave us the World. How 1010 WINS, New York's famous news station became part of the story, when Sandy came to town.

Showtime. Saga. Now Smile. Smile Sussex may sound like a Rottingdean Dental Practice. But it's actually the latest go at making a classy vintage format work. Listened In listened in.

Second-screening and visualisation are so now. But does the performance of TV presenters and pundits appear more authentic when you stick them in a radio studio and film them? We reckon so, as we listen to AND watch The Bottom Line.

This week, we sample the Canadian station that's been built around social media. NOW! Radio in Edmonton. Note the Wham! style exclamation.

Pretty obvious what we had to listen to this week. New Radio 1 Breakfast hosts don't come along very often. Well. Not since the nineties. Click below to see what we thought of 20 minutes of Grimmy - Day 2.

The death of two British soldiers in Afghanistan, and a look back at the week the Hillsborough cover-up was revealed. A busy week to review for Broadcasting House on Radio 4. Read how they did it at the link below.

We love a bit of 80s at 2ZY. Listened In reviewed Nation 80s and Absolute 80s a few months ago. Now the heritage AMs of the West Midlands are beaming out Free Radio 80s. Is it any good? We had a listen.

If Leicester Square gets its way, this show won't even exist any more. We check out the Cornish-ness of Heart Drivetime from what used to be Atlantic FM.

To celebrate National Radio Day in the US, we review a 'beautifully random' internet station, that blends police radio channels with ambient music. Stick with us. It's an amazing listen.

It might be mid-Fringe, but Edinburgh's Forth One was more about the Olympics when we Listened In to Boogie in the Morning.

Two and a half years after it replaced Original 106.5, we listen in to twenty minutes of Ian Downs, Alice Cocker and Richard Johnson on Jack FM Bristol. Bradley Wiggins, Ian Thorpe and Tom Daley's Speedos all get a mention. Click below to read it.

The Olympics, huh? You can't escape, even if you wanted to. So lie back and revel in the sound of the Games. Or if not the games, all the hoopla around them. Like London's new pop up station on DAB for Europhiles. We Listened In to twenty minutes of evening show from International Radio Festival.

On the day Radio 2's already-massive audience was bolstered by a few hundred Jingle-fanciers, Listened In listens in to the simple brilliance of Popmaster from Ken Bruce. Click the bar to read more.

Monocle 24 is an online radio station from the glossy news magazine of the same name. It launched as a commercial competitor to internationally focused stations like the BBC World Service back in October 2011. We sample twenty minutes of its weekly food programme to get a flavour (sorry) of how Tyler Brûlé thinks hip global radio (that's a small G) should sound. Click on the bar below to read what we heard.

Breakfast is hotting up in the North East. Steve and Karen have been off-air for five months, working out their former Capital contract, before taking on the breakfast show they 'grew up listening to' - on Metro Radio. So a month in, how are they sounding? Click the bar for this week's Listened In.

This week, the Yorkshire branch of the Radio Academy hosted a special event to pay tribute to two very special new radio stars. Beryl and Betty have a combined age of 176 and have been entertaining listeners to BBC Radio Humberside since being spotted six years ago by producer David Reeves. We check out twenty minutes of their latest show. Click the bar below to read more.

In our first post, we look at the rise of 80s radio. As Orion prepare to ditch Gold for Free 80s in the Midlands, we listen to the other two 80s formatted stations in the UK. Click below to see what we found.