Why don’t we have radio sitcoms anymore?

I have a habit of sleeping with the radio on. It’s something my mother used to do, and to this day, I still do it. I keep it on at a very low volume, and it helps fill the silence in my dark room.

Anyway, I remember listening to Cantonese radio sitcoms when I was a lot younger, back in Hong Kong. There wasn’t a whole lot of sitcoms, but I do remember one in the middle of the afternoon that was about a couple travelling or something like that.

I almost forgot radio sitcoms exist– which is a bit sad, because sitcoms originated from the radio! Recently, I came across the ones on BBC radio 4, and was pleasantly reintroduced to radio sitcoms!

The cast of Cabin Pressure

The cast of Cabin Pressure

I’ve spent the past few days listening to Cabin Pressure, a comedy revolving around a charter airline. I’ve forgotten how amazing it is to simply listen to the voice actors and imagine the situations they are in. Of course, you get sound effects accompanying the show’s dialogue, which makes it even more fun. I put the sitcom on my iPhone and listen to it on the bus, which means I get through at least 2 episodes a day. I found myself laughing out loud on the bus (I really couldn’t help it), earning me some odd glances.

Doing a bit of research, I realized that BBC radio 4 also has other programs they broadcast. Asides from sitcoms, they have informative shows, documentaries, and of course, news and music. This makes me very disappointed with Vancouver’s radio stations. Sure, I like getting my music fix as much as the next person, but that’s literally all there is on our radio. There is the occasional snippets of news, but we definitely do not get actual programs. One of our most popular radio shows is the Kid Carson Show, and really, it probably is the only show out there. I listen to it because it’s nice to have something other than plain music to listen to– and even then, quite a large portion of his show is just him playing songs. Such a waste of airtime.

I’m glad I’ve found my love for radio sitcoms again, and I guess if I want to hear more, I’ll have to turn to the UK.

– Karen


6 thoughts on “Why don’t we have radio sitcoms anymore?

  1. Quieter Elephant says:

    I now listen to CBC-1 on 88.1 for just that reason. More talk, more thought. They have some comedy, though not at times I listen. Not sure about sitcoms though.
    R4 is pretty unique though. I used to love their book reviews with Melvyn Bragg as I drive to work.

  2. Ash says:

    I know what you mean about how lovely – and how novel – it is to just listen to a story instead of watching or reading one. I’ve been thinking about this a lot recently, but more in the context of how people tell stories to each other than radio plays. (I mean, people really don’t realise just how adept humans are at storytelling, because they don’t think abjout how much theatre there is in a common exchange between friends.)

    But, this post reminds me of how much I used to love listening to tapes when I was a kid. The Animals of Farthing Wood tapes were my favourites.

    Anyway, I’m glad we do have stuff like Radio 4, even if the only reason why the company is able to take such a risk on more niche projects like that is because of the licensing fees.

    • kalyrical says:

      Hmm, somehow I didn’t think of how this is similar to telling each other stories. I think that’s probably why I enjoyed this so much. I guess it does remind me of the old days when my mom used to tell me stories. All I had to do was close my eyes and imagine 🙂

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