My mission was simple.
I wanted to listen back to an item from RTEs Drivetime programme of May 16th last.
But from bitter experience I knew it wasn’t going to be easy. I knew it was going to be Mission Impossible.
In preparation, I locked all the doors, switched off the phone and tied myself to the chair in front of my computer.
I accessed the RTE Radio One website and went to the Radio Player where I was presented with a choice of stations. I clicked on RTE Radio One.
I’m given RTE Radio One live. I pause this unasked for distraction and click on the A-Z list.
I’m presented with an arbitrary list of programmes from a range of different RTE stations. Remember this is the Radio One Player.
I Click ‘D’ on the programme alphabet list hoping to gain immediate access to Drivetime May 16th.
Yes, I know, I’m chronically optimistic.
I’m presented with a list of programmes. The first eight are from 2FM and 2XM. Remember, I’m looking for a programme on Radio One.
Finally, I see Drivetime, May 17th. The programme is bracketed by Derek Mooney’s Dawn Chorus broadcast of May 6th and Driving Home for Christmas with Maxi broadcast December 24th 2011.
Even though I’m looking for Drivetime May 16th; like a drowning man clutching at straws, I click on May 17th but nothing happens.
There’s no ‘back’ button that I can see so I exit everything and start all over again.
This time I’m in and listening to Drivetime May 17th – Hallelujah.
But then I remember, it’s May 16th I’m looking for and there’s no sign of it anywhere so I use the search facility.
This doesn’t work and because there’s no ‘back’ facility I again have to exit and start all over again.
I get as far as the search facility but, again, it doesn’t work.
This completes the options available to me on the Radio Player.
I try a different route. I return to the Radio One site and click on ‘Find a programme’. I click on ‘D’ on the alphabet programme list and, as a passionate pagan, say a prayer to the Mighty Zeus.
Worryingly, I see that Derek Mooney’s Dawn Chorus and Maxi’s Driving Home for Christmas have followed me but I’m comforted to see that Drivetime is also there.
I click on that and, lo and behold, I’m into the Drivetime home page. Surely I’ll find Drivetime May 16th here.
I click on archives expecting to find, well, er archives.
Instead I’m presented with another arbitrary list of completely off the wall links.
Dublin’s working prams expo
Dublin’s political awards 2011
Diesel sludge in Monaghan
Fire safety at Halloween
Then I spot the following notice.
To access the audio for all of the Drivetime programmes, go to the Drivetime Audio Archive.
So I click on ‘Drivetime Audio Archive’ thinking, this is it, this must be it, please Mighty Zeus, let this be it.
But no, it’s not. Instead I’m presented with the RTE News Search engine and a calendar dated April 2009.
I scroll through the months and years until I reach the magical date – May 16th 2012 and click.
And what do I find? Do I find the Drivetime programme broadcast just two days ago? No, I get a link to just one item from that Drivetime broadcast but not the programme itself.
After disposing of the hair I’ve torn from my head I click on this link shouting at the computer – surely,surely, SURELY THIS MUST BE IT – CLICK.
Fuck, it’s not. After a good hour of searching, after pulling out all my remaining hair, after kicking the cat down the stairs, after making an emergency appointment with my psychiatrist I’m presented with a standard RTE News page informing me that Mattie McGrath wants the RTE board chairman to resign.
But no Drivetime programme.
The item I wanted to listen back to from May 16th is gone forever, gone away into the depths of dark space at the speed of light, never to return.
And it’s not just the Drivetime website, it’s every website on RTE.
They’re all complete disaster zones with just one purpose – to drive anyone foolish enough to try and access them into a state of complete insanity.
I simply refuse to believe that these websites, and in particular the archive sections, have been created by professionals.
I strongly suspect that RTE, probably as a cost cutting measure, have employed a group of fickle minded Transition Year teenagers to do the job.
My psychiatrist tells me, with a comforting arm around my shoulder.
It’s best to believe that Anthony, for the good of your health.
Drivetime (Wherever in the Cosmos it may be)