For a radio show to bill itself “The most interesting radio show on the planet”, see below, sounds like quite a boast. However, Weekend Variety Wireless (WVW), formerly, on Radio Live (8pm to Midnight Saturday & Sunday) lived up to that billing.
It was an eclectic mix of science, music, scepticism, art, history, topical media and current events reviews all superbly orchestrated and hosted by Graeme Hill. It seemed to follow his whimsy, an interview on the physics of string theory might be followed by the best pie awards, and was all the better for it. Although the on air time often made live listening problematic Graeme (from what I could gather) insisted the show was offered as hourly podcasts which were (miraculously) free of the advertising heard on air. I’d often hear the last hour or so live, but my weekday commutes were immensely enhanced listening to the podcasts of the rest.
Weekend Variety Show Regulars give an idea of the flavour of the show;
- Media Stick - Paul Casserly & Tamar Munch review the week in media
- Astronomy with Grant Christie | What to look up for, what was going on in space exploration.
- Science Report | Guest Scientists on topical science stories
- Environews | Guest Environmentalists on topical environmental stories
- Skeptical Thoughts - Siouxsie Wiles & Mark Honeychurch | probably the only regular scam fighting spot on NZ radio
- Letter from America | US focused current affairs from John Dybvig
- At the Movies with James Croot | More than just reviews, movie history too
- Words with Max Cryer | Etymology of topical and historic words, slang and sayings
Special features were hour long, often multi-part, sessions on a wide variety of topics. I learnt so much NZ and international history from these. They are so precious I hope they will be archived somewhere with public access.
- 50 Ships That Changed History with John McCrystal
- Outsiders with Gerard Hindmarsh | The stories of people who chose to live, often alone, in remote parts of NZ
- Secret Museums of NZ | Graeme sought out oddly topical museums around NZ
- Shipwreck Tales with John McCrystal | NZ and international shipwreck tales superbly told by John
- Tales of The Lost with Carl Walrond | Tales of those who got lost, often fatally, in the NZ wilderness
- Albums turning 40 with Grant Smithies | A look back at whatever was in the charts forty years ago.
- Strange Societies with Prof Matthew Trundle | History of societies from throughout history
- Jesus, make it stop: The death throes of WW1 | Compelling week by week documentary on the last couple of months of WW1 to commemorate the Centenary
Sadly after this weekend Weekend Variety Wireless will be gone, victim of a station format change, and I’m going to miss it. The only hope is someone else will pick it up. It would be a perfect fit for our public radio National Programme.
If that doesn't happen all I can do is thank Graeme for years of entertainment, education and laughs. I’m a better person for just having heard the best radio show on the Planet.
Weekend Variety Wireless with Graeme Hill
Life, the universe and everything in between. For anyone with a curious bone in their body, tune into the most interesting radio show on the planet!
Graeme Hill wrote for the popular TV shows “The Unauthorised History of New Zealand” and “Eating Media Lunch”. He is a talented musician and member of the iconic kiwi band “The Able Tasmans”, and he's fascinated by flora, fauna and astronomy.