Read Between the Blurred Lines

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October 1, 2014 by johnnyseifertradio

The third lesson I was taught in school was to read between the lines or the ‘blurred lines‘ if Robin Thicke was teaching revision techniques. Do you remember those comprehensions of a classic Shakespeare book which you had to try and interpret? Well, today’s blog is similar to that as I look at the format of ‘Guess the Year’ feature as programmed on to lots of radio stations, for example:

Community- Scratch Through Time on Scratch Radio, Birmingham

Local- Guess The Year on Free Radio, Midlands and 10@10 on Metro Radio, Scotland

Regional- Time Tunnel on Heart Fm and Test of Time on Magic Fm

National-BBC Radio 1- The Golden Hour


No matter which station you listen to, the format is the same, twelve songs from one year or six songs played over two years with various clues, but what is the year? The format is very simple and very easy to produce for your radio station. Firstly, play a selection of songs that were distinctive as one hit-wonders or big number 1s,2s and 3s. Secondly, create a list of clues based on world events, celebrity news and TV shows that started in that year. So, if it is so easy to replicate, why do radio stations produce a show that other stations are already using? We can trace this feature back to 1967 where Tony Blackburn started hosting ‘The Golden Hour’ on BBC Radio1 and so being biased to BBC Radio1 I would ask why everyone has copied them ever since the ILR’s were introduced in 1973.

My first argument for the feature is that reading between the lines it can be noticed that the feature is run at 09:00-10:00 in the morning. At this time, it is likely that those who are at work or at home have tuned into the radio and decided on what radio station they will listen to for the rest of the day. It is therefore up to the radio station to choose a year that fits in with their music policies and ethos to showcase the best music which is also featured in one of their playlists to be played again at another time to bring the listener familiarity to the radio station. However, as noticed with BBC Radio1, BBC Radio1 has a very strict playlist with A,B,C lists that are on a current rotation and therefore the songs that are played would not actually showcase the station so why did Chris Moyles present the feature?

So with Chris Moyles (Radio G-D) in mind, my second argument is that everyone loves to hold on to memories. During my University Fresher’s in 2011 I heard Rihanna ‘We Found Love’ whilst I remember in our talent show in Year 6 back in 2004 everyone sung The Black Eyed Peas ‘Where Is The Love’. Everyone loves to be taken back to that happy place where life was simple and we had game boys to play Pokémon on and football books to swap stickers with each other.

What-ever the year, it is a great feature and one that I love to hear on Free Radio Birmingham each morning with Andy Goulding from 09:00-10:00 with 1996-2003 being my best years with classic Take That, S Club 7, Steps and R Kelly being played.


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