Around this time every year, thousands upon thousands flock to Scotland’s capital for the world’s largest arts and performance festival: The Fringe. Last year alone, the event welcomed 50,459 performances of 3,314 shows in 313 venues across the city. If you can’t tell, it’s a pretty big deal!
While revellers trawl the city throughout August in search of the best entertainment, it got us thinking about radio. As everyone knows, it can take us on a journey of musical delights – with an endless choice of stations ready to cater to every listener’s unique taste. But if you dig a little deeper, you’ll soon discover more than just music. You’ll unearth a world of riveting entertainment broadcasting, all housed within your faithful digital radio.
Whether it’s side-splitting comedy, immersive drama serials or eloquent poetry, there’s truly something to entertain everyone. That’s if you know where to look for it.
Though flagship commercial stations like BBC 4 still lead the way when it comes to cutting-edge entertainment shows, the advent of digital and internet radio has opened the door to a new breed of broadcasters using the platform to reach out to niche audiences.
So without further ado, here’s the best of comedy, drama and poetry that radio has to offer. If you agree, or think we’ve missed anything out, then comment below!
This fantastic online radio station, hailing from South Yorkshire, broadcasts a diverse collection of sketch comedy, drama and spoken word material. Those tuning in expecting sloppy, amateur performances will be pleasantly surprised – this station is just as high-brow as its big commercial contemporaries. All shows are created by Cornucopia’s in-house team of writers, producers and performers. Plus, they also transmit shows and podcasts from other creative people from across the globe. Internet radio at its finest!
Rhod Gilbert - BBC Radio Wales
No novice when it comes to radio, Rhod Gilbert actually spent his fledgling years as a comedian plying his trade on the airwaves – appearing on a range of panel shows and audio sitcoms. The larger-than-life funny man now has his very own show on BBC Radio Wales and, as you’d expect, it’s hilarious. Kicking things off every Saturday morning at 11am, Gilbert presents two jam-packed hours of laughs from the cream of Welsh and UK comedy.
The Archers - BBC 4
An institution of British radio and officially the world’s longest running soap opera. It’s, of course, The Archers. With over 18,000 episodes since its first broadcast in May 1950, there’s plenty going on in the fictional English village of Ambridge. You'll laugh, cry and become involved in every character’s journey through modern rural life. Five million loyal listeners can’t be wrong.
Wildverse - Fun Kids Radio
Every year, digital radio station Fun Kids teams up with the RSPB and Young Poets Network for this hugely popular competition. Open to anyone under the age of 18, entrants are encouraged to take their first footsteps into the world of poetry and present a short composition inspired by wildlife. Winnings entries are published and broadcast live on air over a series of special shows. Putting poetry in the spotlight for a new generation, Wildverse is a fantastic initiative which could even unearth the poet laureates of the future.
British Comedy - ROK Radio
Who doesn’t love a throwback? This not-for-profit internet radio station brings listeners the greatest shows from the golden age of radio comedy. Created out of pure love for heritage radio, ROK delivers classic reruns of Hancock, The Navy Lark, Yes Minister and many more. Whether you’re rekindling memories of the past or looking to discover the roots of British radio comedy, here’s the place to get your fix.
The Frank Skinner Show - Absolute Radio
Much-loved jokester Frank Skinner is joined every Saturday morning by muckers Emily and Alun to ensure you wake up with a huge grin on your face. Expect whimsical chat, loaded with rib-tickling anecdotes and one-liners, from one of the nation’s finest comedians. All of this interspersed with an epic 80s playlist! What’s not to love?
Poetry Please - BBC Radio 4
This weekly radio programme has been a BBC Radio 4 staple for the past 37 years and is known to be the longest running poetry broadcast anywhere in the world. Current presenter Roger McGough holds court – taking listeners’ poem requests based on various themes. The best are then read by a cast of actors, including revered British performers such as Judi Dench, Prunella Scales and Ian McKellen. If you class yourself as a connoisseur of poetry, the show is a truly arresting listen.