It’s one of the longest-established routines in my life, though also one that marks me out as old beyond my years.
Every Tuesday, the Radio Times arrives in the post. I throw away the adverts for walk-in baths, hearing aids and elasticated-waist trousers, sit down with a highlighter and a cup of tea, and plan my week.
Not, I admit, the actions of most people my age.
It’s ninety years since the BBC, frustrated by newspapers’ refusal to publish radio listings, launched its own magazine, and quickly saw it become a huge success.
For almost seventy years, it had a monopoly on week-long BBC listings. It, and (kind-of-but-not-really) rival TV Times, were essential coffee table companions for night's viewing.
(You did hear rumours of people who only bought Radio Times, as ITV was a bit too common, but I never actually saw this happen).
Now there are half-a-dozen listings magazines, plus the hand-outs given away in the weekend papers. And the electronic programme guide on your TV. Radio Times, which once sold almost 9-million copies a week, sells fewer than 1-million. Who to?
Actually, to people like me - not TV obsessives, or passive viewers ploughing through the channels in search of the least objectionable programme. People with limited time to devote to TV, and keen to make the best possible use of it.
What strikes you about old copies of RT (sorry, I’ve slipped into geek-speak now) is how little there was to choose from.
In 1980 you had three channels, each broadcasting for between 6 and 12 hours a day. Across a week, there would perhaps be ten hours of “must-see” programmes.
Now there are thousands of channels, rambling on around the clock. Even if that includes twice as many top-quality programmes, how on earth would you find them? How can you make an intelligent choice from a never-ending menu.
Enter the Radio Times, and my highlighter - fifteen minutes is enough to line up a week’s viewing - potential new discoveries, and no need to ever watch ITV2 (I never said I wasn’t a snob).
And I haven’t even mentioned that if you’re even vaguely serious about radio, there’s never been any comparable way to find out what’s on.
The BBC sold off Radio Times a couple of years ago, in search of cash to boost its bank balance. Understandable, but sad.
For it’s ninetieth birthday, readers drew up a fantasy schedule, including Blue Peter, Only Fools and Horses, Doctor Who, and Morecambe and Wise, with News at Ten before bed. A schedule from another age.
There’s no room for The X-Factor, or The Voice, or a painfully un-funny re-invention of Through the Keyhole. This is the world of the discerning viewer.
As Radio Times turns ninety, it’s carved out a very middle-class niche for itself. It might not sit on every coffee table, the way it did in my childhood, but I wouldn’t be without my Radio Times subscription.
Though if I ever send off for those “relax-fit” trousers, I may need outside intervention.
That leather-bound magazine cover looks nice though….