Your Questions Answered
On Wednesday when I appeared on Victoria Derbyshire's programme there were lots more questions than I was able to answer on air. So in this post I'll try to talk in a bit more detail about some of the main points you raised, including comments added to the blog.
There were a lot of questions about how we use audience contributions, whether from text, Twitter, email or Facebook. The main concern was that some of the issues we talk about are too trivial and therefore uninteresting. The first thing I'd say is that one of the most distinctive features of 5 live is our two-way relationship with our audience. We want to hear from people about their views, concerns and questions. But beyond that 5 live is a station with light and shade and many of the wittiest comments you hear on air come from our listeners. To get these contributions, you have to ask the right question and that's where the challenge comes. We often get this right but I'd be the first to accept that sometimes we don't.
It tends to work best if there's a clear reason for asking that question that day and if I, as a listener, care about the answer - either because it tells me something I didn't know, it makes me think or it makes me laugh. To an extent it's subjective but those are the contributions we try to use on air and we'll keep on working to try to make sure others don't slip through.
There were a few questions about political balance. Impartiality is central to what the BBC, including 5 live, stands for, and we work hard to make sure we have a fair balance of views and opinions from across the political spectrum. We do this by thinking daily about how we are covering individual subjects or stories and making sure we have a wide range of contributors - for every Kevin Maguire there's an Iain Dale.
There was also a question was about our use of BBC foreign correspondents. We do use them extensively - for instance the pieces this week by Aleem Maqbool on the floods in Pakistan. We try to highlight the most important international stories, the stories which have a direct relevance to Britain and those stories which give you a real insight into life around the world. We do not have a predominantly international agenda but instead try to cover the international stories which matter most to our audience. The BBC's network of foreign correspondents is vital to how we do this.
A few other answers to specific questions:
Gabby Logan will be leaving her lunchtime programme in the spring. The demands of a five-day-a-week show alongside her sport commitments are proving too great to sustain in the long-term. I fully understand this and I'd like to thank Gabby for the great job she's done on establishing the new lunchtime programme. I'll let you know her replacement as soon as I can but there's no decision yet.
We don't have a specific books slot at the moment in the daytime schedule though we do of course talk about individual books and interview their authors a great deal. I certainly wouldn't rule out finding a specific place to talk about books again at some point in the future and I'd be keen to know more about what people would like to hear. The rain clearly disrupted our plans for the coverage of the US Open Final. In the circumstances I thought John Inverdale and the team did a great job and we brought forward the start of Up All Night.
The issue of whether we over-apologise for swearing on air even late at night was raised. This is a very subjective area - what is completely acceptable to one person is offensive to another. I think we can be a little more lenient late at night but these are individual judgments depending on exactly what language is used in what context.
I often get asked about the timings of our news and sport bulletins on the hour and half-hour. Mostly it's about why we don't keep to time but on this occasion it was a concern that we too often cut things short for the news. I do think it is important that listeners know exactly when they can hear the news and sport and I know many people tune in at those specific points. We have to be very flexible around live news and sport events and sometimes around specific interviews but I think these things should be the exception rather than the norm. Again though it's a subject I'm keen to hear more views on.
Questions for the Controller - your questions for Adrian