Pic: David Shankbone

Musician Sting has become one of the first people featured in a new radio collaboration between BBC Radio 4 and the American TED lectures.

TED talks, well-known for inspiring tech and progressive thinking audiences in the US and across the world, has joined forces with the Beeb to have hand-picked episodes of TED Radio Hour – an original radio series produced by TED and NPR (National Public Radio).

It will go out weekly on the Radio 4 Extra and monthly on Radio 4.

In the first episode broadcast this week Sting goes back to his North East roots for a talk on overcoming writer’s block.

He said he developed his own creativity going out at 5am on his father’s milk float in Wallsend and being ‘allowed to dream’ in that quiet time of the morning.

When his song-writing dried up, after many successful years, he went back to his roots to ‘honour’ the people he was brought up with and stimulate his creative juices. You can listen again to the episode here.

In what Radio 4 commissioning editor Mohit Bakaya feels is a natural tie-up, the deal will also find new global audiences for Radio 4 content. Selected programmes from the network that relate to the subjects and themes of TED talks will be made available via the TED website.

Initially, the partner organisations are choosing the best programme matches for the most viewed talks and eventually it’s hoped to extend Radio 4 content matching to newly published talks on

“It’s an unprecedented deal with a third party, giving users of the chance to click through and listen to more interesting players in the world of ideas,” said Bakaya at Ariel magazine this morning.

TED Radio Hour will be broadcast on Radio 4 Extra on Sundays at 11am and 7pm, with one monthly Sunday episode on Radio 4 at 11pm.