Picture the scene: you’re marooned on a desert island with only your digital radio for company. You’re craving a musical theatre hit but it’s only Wednesday. Wednesday! That’s four whole days to Elaine Paige on Sunday.
a) stage your own one-man musical? (singing your own showtunes is better than nothing)
b) attempt the long swim to shore in the hope you’ll make it to land alive and in time for Sunday’s show with EP?
c) investigate the possibility that other musical theatre radio may be on offer?
If your answer is C – good for you! Because while EPOS – complete with Paige’s trademark/irritating/endearing* (*delete as applicable) giggle – has been the go to radio station for musical theatre songs for some years now, today there are more options than ever to satisfy that musical theatre itch. In short, Paige is no longer the only presenter in town with a few showtunes up her flouncy sleeves.
This week I wrote about the launch of a new digital station called Stage Door, which will feature content 24/7, meaning you get a whole 22 hours more than on EPOS.
Musical radio is alive and kicking. There’s room for all of these shows and stations
Not only that, but its shows will be presented by the likes of Ramin Karimloo, Kerry Ellis and Alex Gaumond – stars of the West End today, which means it’s relevant and led by people in the know – those with their finger on the pulse. And I think the presenter line-up is one of the most exciting things about this venture.
But there is a catch – as the venture needs public support to help it become a reality, and has launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise the £145,000 it needs to operate for its first year. By doing this it means that the station remains free from investors looking simply for a return on their money. So let’s hope the station achieves its goal. I for one am very excited about this initiative.
In the meantime, another station has come to my attention, which goes by the name of JemmThree. It’s devoted to musical theatre and is available as an app or online.
The name of the station doesn’t sell it properly, in my opinion (it’s the third station operated by Jemm Media Group, hence JemmThree) but it’s worth checking out if, like me, you like to hear a showtune or two, any time of the day.
Its focus is on contemporary shows – and when I tuned in it played songs from a number of productions that might not normally get much airplay (such as Bat Boy). I am sure that will appeal to many musical fans. Because, as much as I like EPOS, it has tended to shy away from more contemporary shows (though I did hear Dirty Laundry from The Witches of Eastwick the other day, and that is one of my favourites).
Then, there is internet station Radiojiblets.com, which is live every Monday, and programmes like Esta Charkham’s showtunes programme on digital station The Wireless. There is also The Curtain Up Show on Resonance FM, hosted by Tim MacArthur (who also has his own show on JemmThree). His Friday programme on Resonance features guests from the world of theatre.
So there you have it. Musical radio is alive and kicking. There’s room for all of these shows and stations. And the best part is, if you’re a fan of musicals you don’t have to wait for EP to take to the airwaves every Sunday to get your fix. Happy listening.