Strombo: Saviour of Radio 2?Posted: 15 November 2009
Earlier this month, CBC Radio 2 debuted George Stroumboulopoulos’ Sunday-night show. It’s only four hours long, but on the first week I managed to stretch the experience over eight: I started at 16:00 Pacific time (listening to the Atlantic-time feed), but had to drag it to midnight (the last two hours “live” on my radio). The combination of music, George’s enthusiasm, the music-to-commentary mix, and (so far) lack of internal Radio 2 promos had me hooked.
It’s been a while since I’ve commented about the state of Radio 2 (last entry was in June 2008), but that doesn’t mean I’ve completely accepted the changes, but I haven’t completely abandoned the network either. But, somehow, on that first night, George + Radio 2 = awesomeness! I think Strombo has put a lot of thought into the programming of the show, both in terms of individual songs and when they were placed within the four-hour show. And this was touched upon briefly during one of the lulls between songs: anyone can play a set of songs, but a good set takes into account the emotional response as much as the musical connection between songs.
So to the title question: With tweaking of Radio 2′s programming continuing, I think this might be the best of the changes, hands down. While it may not increase the classical quota one bit, it provides the edge that Radio 2 was lacking since dropping the Radio 3 simulcasts. Poaching Strombo’s show away from commercial-rock radio and placing it on the CBC was also inevitable, what with The Hour being a late-night mainstay for a number of years.
I do hope that the Strombo Show sticks around for a while. It provides a great soundtrack to a Sunday night that is pretty much meant as a weekend wind-down and can actually give a boost to the inevitability of the dreaded Monday morning.
Photo credit: CBC Radio 2 blog