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Radio Week

Good on the ear.


A Prairie Home Companion, National Radio, 10.06am. After the Christmas whirl, relax with summer programming, beginning today with The Best of Saturday Mornings with Kim Hill (8.10am) and then the legendary and charming A Prairie Home Companion, hosted by Garrison Keillor. This live show began in 1974 and is usually broadcast from the Fitzgerald Theatre in St Paul, Minnesota. It's a mix of folk music and gentle prairie tales, often sponsored by fictitious benefactors, such as "Ralph's Pretty Good Grocery" and the show's main sponsor, "Powdermilk Biscuits". If you're wondering about the name, it's a reference to the Prairie Home Cemetery in Minnesota.


New Year's Eve with Warwick Burke, National Radio, 7.06pm. A low-key exit from 2006 with Warwick Burke on National Radio, while over on Concert FM, it's similar, with Year's End from 10.40pm. Works include Boyce's "Ode for the New Year", Arambarri's "Witches on New Year's Eve" and, at the close of day, "Fantasia on Auld Lang Syne".


Mustn't Grumble, National Radio, 10.45am. A repeat airing of Joe Bennett's wry observational travelogue Mustn't Grumble: An Accidental Return to England, in which he sets out to hitchhike around the UK, roughly following the path of H V Morton, who wrote the 1926 classic In Search of England. Bennett is "enjoyably severe on 'Tesco's England'," wrote reviewer Harry Ricketts and "mooches with awkward, Larkinian reverence round Hull". Bennett reads.

Summer Series, National Radio, 11.06am. David Steemson has been out and about and around the Kaipara Harbour, north of Auckland, the biggest landlocked harbour in the southern hemisphere. Once a vital link in the kauri-logging industry, the harbour is bracketed by Helensville in the south and Dargaville in the north, with beachside communities in between. Steemson presents a story from the harbour every day this week, starting with a trip with some Dargaville High School pupils to the local tribe's marae at Pouto Point. He also meets nonagenarian Mavis Smith, teacher Neil Notley, Unitec lecturer Dr Thomas Harding and some bloke called Sam Hunt, reportedly a poet.

Matinée Idle with Phil O'Brien, National Radio, 3.06pm. Every weekday at this time Phil O'Brien plays a Classic Concert. Today features Tom Waits - Nighthawks at the Diner, a 1975 recording that includes Jim Hughart on bass, Bill Goodwin on drums, Pete Christlieb on tenor sax and Mike Melvoin on piano. On Tuesday, the concert is Otis Redding - In Person at the Whisky a Go Go, a recording from 1966; on Wednesday it's great tenor saxophonist Sonny Rollins in an emotional 9/11 concert recorded in Boston four days after that tragic event. Thursday sees Bonnie Raitt - Road Tested, a concert recorded in 1995, and Friday brings it up-to-date with Th' Dudes 2006 Reunion Tour, where the older, wiser and slightly portlier Dudes played sold-out shows.

Vienna New Year's Concert, Concert FM, 8.00pm. When the Vienna Philharmonic's famous New Year Concert first began in 1939, it was a dark time in Austria's history and the event was intended to give local audiences a reminder of better times and a source of hope. Millions have since tuned into the BBC to hear the lively annual broadcast of the repertoire of Johann Strauss, his family and contemporaries. In this programme, Brian Kay gives an account of what makes the concert so special.