DCB at the BBC

The guest edit team:

Anne Dunbar, Moyra Hawthorn, Andrew McDonald, Alan Cooper

BBC Radio 4 “Today” Guest Edit – 19 August 2023

In late March 2023, Andrew McDonald, DCB bass trombonist and avid listener to the Radio 4 Today programme, thought it would be great to apply to guest edit one of the programmes. So, with four days to go to the application deadline, and after a quick email call around the band for volunteers, he assembled a team…

What the heck… What’s the worst thing that can happen? – we might be successful? (We had the same mantra for the Kessington application – and look where that got us!)

…and together we came up with a proposal on the theme of: “Community Music – good for the soul, or just a pain in the ears?”. Our 250 word application (which may be viewed here) was submitted with just hours to spare on 31 March.

Two months later (23 May) we got an invite to Zoom meet with the Radio 4 Today team for an “informal chat”…

Another month later (30 June) we got the news… the worst had indeed happened… out of something like 1300 applications, ours had been selected as one of four to be broadcast in August. The news came just as Andrew was about to flee the country for 2-3 weeks holiday in hot (very!) and sunny Tuscany. But there’s no escape… Zoom and email can find you anywhere…

Announcement of successful guest editors – 5 July 2023

As well as firming up on potential content, the BBC Radio 4 team were keen to meet the Band in the flesh, so we set up an impromptu rehearsal (Saturday, 29 July) for BBC wizards – Laura, Louisa, and sound engineer Dennis – to do lots of interviews and recordings of us in action. Thanks to Robert and everyone for the great turnout at short notice. This formed the basis for the introductory sections of the broadcast and podcast.

Instagram link for some photos, including a video clip of the rehearsal.

The resulting Radio 4 “Today” Guest Edit programme was broadcast on Saturday 19 August, from 7:00 to 9:00am, with the DCB team live in the studio.

If you missed it first time around, the full programme was available for a limited period on BBC Sounds (available until 15 September 2023). Now that moment is passed, but you can catch up on the R4 “Best of Today” podcast here .

You can also hear the important bits in the audio clips archived below…

The podcast: a pre-recorded, cut-down version of the programme, minus all the “furniture” (the technical term for all the immovable items – news, weather, sport, etc.)

Introductory section, with content from the July rehearsal

Andrew & Alan, on-air with presenters Simon Jack and Martha Kearney

Mid section, leading on to “Thought for the Day” by Martin Rowe

Nicola Benedetti & Big Noise – very powerful advocacy (video extract available here)

Closing section, with fade-in to 12th Street Rag

Phew… that’s all done.

The team line-up with presenters Martha Kearney and Simon Jack

Inevitably, because of late-breaking news on the day we had to lose a couple of planned items from the programme, including a live interview with Alison Reeves, deputy CEO of Making Music. Fortunately this was picked up in a follow-up item in Monday’s programme, together with some lovely listener feedback from Milly Casey from the Maghull Wind Orchestra

Follow up – Monday 21 August – listener feedback and Alison Reeves (Making Music)

Link to Making Music News item, 24 August, 2023

12th Street Rag – full version

Many thanks to our lovely Radio 4 Today production team Laura, Louisa, Hazel, presenters Martha Kearney and Simon Jack, and all their BBC colleagues for a wonderful experience.

Anne, Andrew, Moyra, Alan