I love chillout music, despite the facts I’m not (a) a massage therapist, (b) living in Hoxton, or (c) a girl. I even used to present a show called Dreamtime, which was two hours of this stuff nightly. The queen of chill is clearly Claire Anderson, still doing the business on Jazz FM, which we’ll listen in to another time. It seemed, for a time, chill could gain momentum with .. Chill, a masterfully-programmed chill-out station on various DABs.

Then Global happened and chill kind of … froze. It’s still there on London 3’s melting-pot multiplex, and on the UK Radioplayer (nestled between Channel 103 and Choice. And, without irony, under 14 Capitals). But it’s vanished forever from Sky and the digital ears of places like Newport, Basingstoke and Telford.

Listened In is 2ZY’s weekly air-check blog. Every week we listen to a random twenty minute sample of a station or programme in the news.

WHO Automated

WHAT chill

WHEN Tuesday 26 March, 1826

ID: There’s never been a better time or place to chill than helpmechill.com

La Ritournelle/Sebastien Tellier

ID: Time to chill.

Deep Believe/Buddha Bar

Mychael Danna/Pi’s Lullaby

ID: Chill


Get Misunderstood/Troublemakers


First, on Radioplayer, an aside. A screen of green grass and blue sky, with the clever chill ad. And an ad from refuge.co.uk: Learn more about the different ways abusive men exert control over their partner. Err, no thanks. I came here to chill.

Boyfriend beat you up?

Boyfriend beat you up?

Was surprised to hear so much foreign language in this combo of tunes. But of course, chill is about a feel, rather than a meaning. A glance at their last.fm page (the only place to find song info) shows the usual suspects like Air, Lamb, Zero 7 and royksopp as most played artists but with plenty of room for music discovery alongside. Frustrating then, that there’s not even a scarce voice-track to endorse and identify the songs.

The imaging is long overdue a refresh, and there was no commercial message in a twenty minute listen. There’s also very little going on online, or to its not-at-all shabby 46,000 Facebook fans. But the music was as on-brand as ever, and in a world of clutter, it just works.

It is sad then, that such a simple and well-defined offer has been left to ossify. This was a station clearly loved by its creators (and its small but loyal band of listeners). Sure, it’s still there. But that burst of activity around chill in 2006 is long gone.

With that era’s analogue applications, big name (in chill) presenters and even some RAJAR, it looked like just the kind of thing DAB was built for. Genuinely extending choice, with the potential to “do a Classic FM” on this amazingly broad genre.

After all, what better format for these post-austerity times?

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