The BBC World Service has launched a new, weekday arts program called The Strand. Presented by Harriett Gilbert and Mark Coles, the half-hour program takes listeners on a worldwide journey through arts, culture and entertainment. According to the program producers, "Nothing creative is out of bounds" - and The Strand will bring the best, newest and most exciting creative enterprises to listeners around the world.
Novelist Harriett Gilbert has been presenting arts programs on the BBC World Service for over 10 years. She will present the Monday and Friday editions of The Strand, as well as a new hour-long version of another BBC World Service program, World Book Club, on the first weekend of every month.
Mark Coles, an award-winning broadcaster and acclaimed music journalist, will present the Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday editions of The Strand as well as a special hour-long Saturday compilation. Mark - who has played Jimi Hendrix's guitar and was once locked in a cage with Yoko Ono - has interviewed some of the world's top writers. He says: "We'll provide our audience with a thoroughly entertaining, truly global guide to the arts. We'll be featuring some of the world's most famous and creative people and be offering unique insights into arts events and consumption of culture around the world."
The program's scheduled guests for its first week (October 27th - 31st) included Roger Moore (the longtime James Bond actor) and Candace Bushnell, the New York cultural observer who initially created the long-running Sex and the City HBO TV series.
I was interested to see if The Strand is merely the replacement for Outlook, another long-running program with significant artistic / human interest content, but this is not the case - Outlook remains on the World Service schedule.
The Strand will air in the shortwave schedule targeting West Africa weekdays at 1430 UTC, which stands a chance of propagating to North America given the frequencies typically in use then (17830, possibly 15400). The Strand will air in the live Infotainment webcast weekdays at 1030, 1530, 1930, and 2330, and also Tuesday-Saturday 0230 UTC. The Strand will not air in the live News webcast. Listeners who get their BBC fix via Sirius satellite radio and US public radio stations should tune in weekdays at 0930 if you are an especially early riser.
And, yes, The Strand will be available for on-demand listening; a weekly podcast of the program's highlights is also available.