Transitions in Broadcasting – The Continuity Announcement

Here is a clever transition or ‘bridge’ between two items on a weekly magazine programme  on the radio. Following an extract of serious modern music, the presenter repeats the composer’s name and identifies the composition, and then introduces a further musical item- a comic take-off  of Verdi’s opera La Traviata, this time:
Berio, in ‘The Labyrinth’ on Radio 3.
Cantabile presented an opera with a pretty labyrinthine plot, on Radio 2: ‘La Traviata . . .
-Margaret Howard, ‘Pick of the week’,
BBC Radio 4
The presenter has actually forged a double link here- the labyrinthine plot of the second item puns on the title of the first item, The Labyrinth. And the phrase Radio  2 harks back contrastingly to the phrase Radio 3.
Continuity links are not always as smooth as that. All too often they sound extremely strained. Various producers or announcers appear in fact to run a secret competition for the silliest or most far-fetched or most complicated links or bridging announcements.
Exposing the absurdity of such artificial continuity, two comic musicians provided the following satiric link between  two numbers  they were performing on a radio programme:
That first piece was the overture to Tancredi, by Rossini. The opera is set at the time of the Crusaders.
The crusaders fought the heathen Saladin. Wooden bowls is what you find salad in.
Bowls was the favourite game of Sir Francis Drake.
He fought and defeated the Armada.
The Armada came from spain.
Which leads us neatly to Bizet’s opera Carmen, which is also set in spain, from which we’d like to play the seguidilla – from Carmen.
-‘The Classic Buskers’, BBC Radio 2
Here are the views of another  satirist:
Radio 4 has invented a kind of English not found anywhere else in the media: the radio link.
This consists of taking two topics which have absolutely nothing in common and then finding a link between them, and the more tortuous the better.
One example comes from a presenter who was linking a murder thriller to a programme about
Cheese-making : ‘And from something blood-curding to something rather more milk-curding . . . ‘ She might equally well have said: ‘And so from the gruesome to the Gruyere . . .’
What’s  amazing is that this sort of contorted thinking has not spread. It  seems a natural way of doing the Radio 4 news headlines:
‘New controls were announced today by President Mubarak to bring tourism back to Egypt. And talking of pyramid selling, that’s just one of the many financial devices that Mrs Thatcher promised this  afternoon to examine more closely, as she spoke in the Mother of Russian dissident Yuri Orlov who made the headlines in Moscow today with a brave declaration of liberty. A brave declaration of liberty. A brave declaration of another kind was made by David Gower in Jamaica, where England are only 356 behind the West Indies and their steaming attack, though steaming is hardly the word to apply to the weather which will continue cold and frosty . . .
-Miles Kington, The Times

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