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Giving it some death

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Andrew Fletcher | 14:05 UK time, Tuesday, 18 January 2011

With the British cycling team preparing for next month's Track World Cup in Manchester, I was given the chance to ride at the city's Velodrome for Weekend Breakfast.

Until now my cycle racing experience has been limited to a frantic pursuit of the 17.37 from Kings Cross when I've been running late on my commute through London.

But I was in good hands at the Manchester Velodrome. Olympic gold medalist and Omnium World champion Ed Clancy was warming up for the evening's Revolution meeting by guiding me around the track.

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Ed Clancy and his Great Britain team-mates are riding a wave of success at the moment. They deserve our support as they aim to maintain their lead in the World Cup standings at the Manchester Velodrome between 18th and 20th February.

Related links
British Cycling
Cycling on BBC Sport
5 live Best Bits


  • Comment number 1.

    This is the future. Along with vox pops from Manchester Airport, Salford streets, the Velodrome and anywhere else that means the cost of sending a reporter is less than 50p, as long as they can find it in Manchester, Oldham, Stockport or Salford, every outside broadcast will be like this one. Please don't deny that more and more of these pieces are being broadcast because that would not be true. The rest of the country, many of whom have differences of opinion based on regional issues and population, can go hang.

    It was totally uninformative, superficial and contained no information we couldn't have picked up during or after every cycling broadcast - "why no brakes?" being a good example - and a two sentence piece on the station's sports news.

    I do not understand why this piece is called "Giving it some death". Horrible choice of words considering the number of cyclists who are killed on the roads every year. Finally why on earth has this piece got the tag 5 live Best Bits? (Your punctuation)

  • Comment number 2.

    Still no relevant blog to write on.

    Hull MP Alan Johnson's news was the first item on Livesey last night at 1035pm. Naturally, the comments on him, his circumstances, and Ed Balls, was provided by - the ubiquitous Salford MP Hazel Blears.

  • Comment number 3.

    Completely agree carrie. I despair.

  • Comment number 4.

    Agree with Nick Vinehill's comments on previous blog suject re the Message Boards - well said. best to ignore Fedster's ongoing one-man sniping against the users of said MB _ all rather bitter aND OFF_TOPI*C. NIck - you have quiTE few emails/texts read out on JERERMY Viner prograMME ON R2 don't you?

  • Comment number 5.


  • Comment number 6.

    Sarnia you can call it sniping,or whatever you want, but my posting regarding the old messageboard,was based on fact, not some dodgy conspiracy theories which are posted on here.

  • Comment number 7.

    Whatever , Fedster (can't remember your earlier nom de plume but you were spouting the same paranoid 'facts' thbn as I recall - still, yiou got what you wanted which was thwe closure of the MB - So what's yr current agenda? THe removal of the blog as a forum?

  • Comment number 8.

    The following statement was made by the former Interactive Editor of 5 Live,Brett Spencer;

    "Our previous station board was not good value for money. When we closed it there were only 50 unique posters a week. We could not justify the resource in maintaining it for such a small userbase"

    So Sarnia can you tell me, how a messageboard that attracts only 50 unque posters a week is good value for money?

  • Comment number 9.

    Why was Mark Pogatch's immediate response when Everton equalised this pm about West Ham's disappointment?

    The moment was about Everton's delight but of course the Londoncentric Pougatch had to sympathise with West Ham. Pathetic. Makes you realise what a good job Mark Chapman has done while Pogatch has been sunning himself.

  • Comment number 10.

    re comment 8 - my gripe isn't to do with money and nor was yours as I recall rather an obsession with what you called a 'clique' ad finitum.

    Jcvk - I felt sorry for wet Sham tooand I'm a Chelsea fan! Chapman is okish but alan GREEn was way too partial this mornin g just before the Wolves Pool game- he really does need a word in his eardescribing the POol owners as 'those two muppets' hardly impartialand blaming POOL's form on the 'shocking ttenure of ROy Hodgson' whilst absolving Benetiz of any blamewasthrough red-tinted glasses/braincells - so boring yet so predictable. as for the continuing presence of SAvage on 606 well PAL -words elude me!

  • Comment number 11.

    although, Jack Itakytr point , POUgatch like Green , should be impartial

  • Comment number 12.

    So Sarnia you agree that bringing back the station board,will not be a good use of license money?

  • Comment number 13.

    I do not.

  • Comment number 14.

    As these thread seem to disappear pretty quickly is it about time we reminded Nigel that

    "About this blog
    Behind the scenes at BBC Radio 5 live. A blog where 5 live’s programme makers, interactive team, editors and senior managers talk about the station and respond to listeners. Best bits, events, changes and announcements. "

    does not seem to apply to Giving it some death, Stories from Haiti, or weekend jobs for Steph, whatever that piece was called.

    Please get on with it, do your job and provide a forum on this blog for these subjects to be aired and discussed by YOUR consumers and YOUR employers, the licence fee payers of the UK.

  • Comment number 15.

    Bad news folks - Robbie Savage is not going to Canada. He's consulted his family apparently (It's probably too far away from his spiitual home somewhere between Birmingham and Blackburn)

    And talk about believing his own publicity - here's what he said on BBC Sport

    "It was a massive call, but I've worked hard in the media to get where I am and took good advice off people. It's the right choice."

    So exactly "where are you" Robbie? Conning the BBC into thinking you are a pundit is not exactly working hard. More like committing a crime in my eyes.

    Keep the other spats going - makes good reading. Carrie as ever spot on. The MANAGEMENT forgetting we are the customer.

  • Comment number 16.

    JACK CONNENT NO. 15 hasruined my day! but prob made Canada's !!!

  • Comment number 17.

    Talking of death, is this blog part of the 25% of online content to be axed as per today's press release?

  • Comment number 18.

    It might as well be part of the axed content because the blog is a complete waste of time now. Who is interested in posts like ‘Steph’s Shift at the Kebab Shop’?

  • Comment number 19.

    Spot on Dom. Just what are these folks doing? I'm never one to see folks out of work but if I felt I was in any way under threat the natural reaction is to knuckle down and make yourself indispensable. In this case a wide range of interesting blog topics that might entice some beyond the faithful would have been a good start maybe?

    But no.

    PS: Sarnia - what's he matter with your keyboard?

  • Comment number 20.

    I can't find anything on this site anymore.

  • Comment number 21.

    AVK is on a basic salary of £185,000.

    It makes me wonder what he does for this money? Anyone seen or heard from him about his station, since that last debacle of a public reach out on VD's show? We know he has ruined the station, we know he has inflicted gossip, trivia and lightweights on the listeners, whilst presiding over the loss of sport rights.

    I suppose we will be in for a telling off from Nigel for protesting, but as we are not allowed a place to say what we want, the Trustees of the BBC hopefully occasionally look on here and will see the discontent. And the Rajars of course.

  • Comment number 22.

    Well the next RAJARs are out on Thursday 3rd February 2011, I wonder if the Blog will still be here for AVK to try and spin the figures? Listening figures down due to the snow? The schedule changes still need more time to bed in? Richard Bacon has made to station more ‘accessible’ and expanded our reach into the important teenage demographic?

  • Comment number 23.

    Roll on February 3rd.

    Still don't know what "Giving it some death" means. Is it a Salford expression?

  • Comment number 24.

    comment no. 19: nothingw rong with my keyboad jack, the fault is me or rather my left side/hand/arm, hopefully just a temporary setback - v frustrating though...

  • Comment number 25.

    Eleanor Oldroyd is standing in for Gabby today. She is MILES better and seems to be doing the show effortlessly. No nervous laugh, no ridiculous comments, and no George! My advice would be to give her the show, and let Shelagh Fogarty have the woeful Bacon show.
    (I am clearly not called Andy Gray!)

  • Comment number 26.

    I agree "let Shelagh Fogarty have the woeful Bacon show."

    Today I made the mistake of listening to Bacon and 'Comedy' Dave's Weekly Moan-in which is 5 Lite at its very worst, I'd like to see AVK or Jonathon Wall try and defend the feature which is just dumbed down, lazy and trivial filler.

  • Comment number 27.

    the weekly moan in, what a waste of time, we've been moaning on here for ages and nothing has been done.

  • Comment number 28.

    but you can't blame the presenters, it's the people at the top who hired these presenters and gave them their remit.

  • Comment number 29.

    You can't blame us consumers for moaning either, andashark.

    You can blame the presenters if they are dire, by the way.

  • Comment number 30.

    There's a great piece on the Guardian web site by Paul Hayward. Mostly about TV football commentators and their need to raise the bar (not literally) but he alludes to BBC radio 'offering the co-commentating microphone too easily'. That will be Robbie Savage then. Then he refers to Colin Murray's 'honey coated' questioning and the fact that those same questions are too long winded.

    Where have we read all this before Five Live bloggers?

  • Comment number 31.

    I am pleased the papers are picking up on these problems.

    I want to know when we get an actual blog subject concerning the station's quality of broadcasting, an invitation to give an opinion, and some actual news of what is going to happen in the reshuffle.

    I also want to know why the station ident appears to be at the end/beginning of every update by a presenter or in the advert for what you are listening to, as if you haven't a memory capable of remembering longer than 50 seconds. It would be good to count them up, it is quite, quite ridiculous. My assessment is not less than 50 an hour.

    I want to know where Nigel is and what is happening to his point of view. Where is AVK and what does he do for his salary?

  • Comment number 32.

    So this Weekend 5live are covering providing live commentary on 7 FA Cup games, i remember when BBC TV used to have the rights to the FA CUP, before every round,Paul Armstrong used to publish a Blog,such blogs were intresting and the details included were fascinating.

    Nigel here are a few of those blogs;






    Nigel you said last Friday, our ideas have been noted,but nothing has actually happend,another Weekend is upon us,and even though 5live have got rights to SEVEN games,there has been no blog published to reflect this,why are you wasting opportunities to publish intresting blogs?

    I hate to say it but the regular bloggers on here, are keeping this blog alive,but if you carry on neglecting this blog, and ignoring our reasonable requests,then the regulars will stop posting and you will be left with an outdated,irrevelant blog!!!!

  • Comment number 33.

    Fedster I applaud your effort but I fear you are probably wasting your time as this blog does not seem to be a priority for 5 Live.

    I wonder if we will get confirmation if this blog is part of the 25% of online content to be axed. You would have thought that Nigel would put some effort into the blog to try and justify its existence.

    By neglecting it the figures are likely to show a low number of unique visitors / posters when compared to the cost of running of the blog making it easier to justify its closure saying there are alternatives such as Facebook pages available.

    I wonder if we will get a post from AVK about the RAJARs on Thursday 3rd February. It probably depends if they have improved on the previous poor quarter.

  • Comment number 34.

    If this blog is going to be axed as part of the budget cuts, then Nigel should be man enough to come on here and tell us.

    Nigel please stop ignoring this blog!!!

  • Comment number 35.

    Regarding the 25% cuts to BBC Online we don't know exactly how they will pan out but I there are certainly no plans to close the 5 live blog at the moment. This is a pretty clear outline of what's planned for BBC Radio online in light of the cuts >>


    @Fedster - Those FA Cup posts were done by BBC Sport rather than 5 live. We'll hopefully have a good behind-the-scenes at 5 live Sport video blog post up here before too long.

  • Comment number 36.

    Yes i appreciate they were done by BBC sport, but my point was surely you have guys at 5live who could write similar blogs on a more frequent basis, i dont know about you Nigel but 1 blog post per week is not good enough.

    Anyway thanks for your reply Nigel,lets hope we see some new blogs from Monday!!

  • Comment number 37.

    Nigel has "no comment" about the rest of the points made on this thread.

  • Comment number 38.

    Just heard a quite superb update on the problems in Egypt. Well informed, intelligent Simon Mayo talking to the superb Jeremy Bowen.

    Sorry, but had that happened on Thursday Bacon would have had no idea how to conduct that interview.

    I am sure Simon did it with minimal briefing. Jeremy Bowen talking to Richard Bacon would not have been far from Bowen askng - do you know what you are talking about?

    This is what Five Live should be aspiring to. Sadly falling so far short.


  • Comment number 39.

    Well said Jackstumps, Mayo lets the guest / correspondent speak while Bacon constantly interrupts will his own ill informed opinion.

    Did you hear Bacon with Kermode discussing the Oscar nominations? Bacon was extremely irritating as usual; he should just keep his mouth shut when he doesn’t know what he is talking about.

  • Comment number 40.

    Says it all about Bacon’s dire Thursday feature ‘Help’ that they have to get friends of the production staff to ring in with planted questions, see Twitter:

    @OurMateDave tweeted:

    Right this week just gets stranger - Just got a call and was recorded talking s**te for Radio 5 Live. Not so Live then... 12:41 PM Jan 27th via web

    @OurMateDave tweeted

    @lorraine_hagan My friend works for Richard Bacon's show and they needed someone to ask their culinary dilemma, so put me on the spot. about 24 hours ago via Twitter for iPhone in reply to lorraine_hagan

    AVK are you proud of the Bacon programme?

  • Comment number 41.

    Excellent research Dom. So,the ringers that Nigel said don't exist and which are against BBC policy do exist. A disgrace, that will shortly be denied. The station has become as bad as this blog: little thought or input and just a matter of going through the motions to pick up a fat cheque.

  • Comment number 42.

    Lorraine Hagan...why is that name familiar...is she on the editorial staff at Five?

  • Comment number 43.

    AVK - here's a challenge: I will travel to London at my own expense, interview you, and try to ascertain what your brief is with Five Live, why it has completely lost its way, why you have pursued the 'Five Lite' agenda and then report back to your bloggers and all other readers. As you have crept under a stone and failed consistently to respond to various requests (I would remind you, you are a public servant) I think we should be asking questions and you should be answering them. Frankly, on your salary you are getting away with murder. Will you respond?

    I am a professional journalist, a member of am appropriate trade union, ... I can then brief the relevant national media on the falling standards at Five Live or, indeed, why you think there is no demise.

  • Comment number 44.

    Carrie –

    To answer your questions…

    You say that “do not understand why this piece is called Giving it some death.” That was a phrase the cyclist Ed Clancy used in the piece. He explains that it is cycling slang for “going fast”.

    You also ask, “Why on earth has this piece got the tag 5 live Best Bits?” It is not a tag, it is a link to the Best Bits page on the website. This is where you can now find brief highlights from all 5 live programmes.

    I put your question about the station ident to our head of station sound. Here’s his response: “Whilst this particular person is listening at that given moment for a fairly long, continuous period of time, other listeners are dipping in and out of 5 live and for this reason we remind them what they’re listening to. It’s a bit like a train going from point A to point B, when you’d expect to hear which places it’s stopping at, regardless of how often you use that particular route.”

    To answer specifically about the “reshuffle” – as it stands I have no further news. I expect there will be a post here when the new co-presenter of Breakfast is officially announced. Shelagh does not start her new programme until May but I am sure nearer the time we’ll share more information about what’s in store.

    I think I’m right in assuming that your broad question is ‘Why doesn’t the 5 live website have a permanent forum for listeners to share their views about any aspect of the station?’

    Fedster has already re-stated my predecessor’s point about why the original 5 live message board was closed: “Our previous station board was not good value for money. When we closed it there were only 50 unique posters a week. We could not justify the resource in maintaining it for such a small userbase.”

    Message boards and online communities are very resource heavy. You may have noticed in last week’s announcement about cuts to BBC Online that the 606 forums and the H2G2 site are going to be closed or decommissioned.

    In the context of 5 live I don’t think there would be much public value in having a station board. As I have said previously on this blog I am fairly confident that if there was one dedicated to 5 live it would attract a relatively small number of regular contributors whose preferred topics would be subjective gripes about the network. The comments on this post about Mark Pougatch, Robbie Savage, Gabby Logan and Colin Murray bear that out. Encouraging such discussions also creates an unfair audience expectation that someone from 5 live will publicly respond to them. It is simply not feasible for programme teams and 5 live’s management to reply to every comment and question raised in a forum.

    As I have said before we care about what listeners think of 5 live. The last thing anyone at 5 live wants to do is work for a station that people don’t like. But it would be wrong to think that relatively few negative comments are representative of the wider 5 live listenership. For everyone who doesn’t like a feature like Richard Bacon’s ‘Moan In’ I’m sure there are many more who find it very entertaining each week (I am among that number).

    We do occasionally publish blog posts that encourage questions and comments about the station and there are many other ways we gauge reaction to 5 live's output. These include emails, texts, letters, comments on social media and non-BBC forums as well as professional audience research. The BBC also deals with all official complaints it receives.

    You may be interested to know that earlier in the month the BBC Trust announced that it will be reviewing 5 live and 5 live sports extra later this year. This process involves public consultation which of course you can contribute to.

  • Comment number 45.

    Nigel it would be intresting to get a response from you regarding Doms accusation of planted questions in post 40


  • Comment number 46.

    As a fan of the station I was invited to talk to AVK when he first began as the boss, plus Victoria and her team. Funnily enough, she told me I listened to the station too much too - because I knew too much about it and havd an opinion about virtually all the presenters and programmes. Plus my views encompassed all the subjects covered. Note to self: the station thinks I should listen less.

    As for the title, I did hear it said but it doesn't really explain why such a sick use of the language would attract those of us who care about accidents involving cyclists being more important than slang.

    Not good enough Nigel.

  • Comment number 47.

    I think you are being a bit senstive carrie,as Nigel said the title is actually slang,and many other points made by Nigel have been reasonable,i dont think even you can carry on arguing for the return of the station board,knowing that it is not value for money.

  • Comment number 48.

    Don't like slang. There is enough of it on the street already without it being used on a BBC station. I'm not asking for the return of the station board, a blog post kept up to date would do fine. I don't miss rambling, unconnected random subjects being put on threads any more than Nigel does but I do think there is a place for a proper discussion about what happens on the station and a freedom allowed to have an opinion, good, bad or indifferent. That seems pretty democratic to me. I don't see the need to criticise other posters or be rude, I think it would be just great if AVK and his colleagues could just accept points of view of whatever side, the reason it gets nasty is because there are hardly ever any answers to any of the questions asked - even when questions are invited. You don't have to look too far below on the topical posts list to see one which still has loads of answers outstanding. (But he is getting back to us very soon - mmm, yes, OK)

  • Comment number 49.

    @Dom - Apologies for the delay in replying to this point. Here is a response from Robin Bulloch, the editor of the Richard Bacon programme:

    "Having seen the comments on here, I wanted to explain what happened and reassure you that we would never plant a caller or a question on the programme. Dave wasn't a live caller to "Help". His voice was used as part of a very short pre-recorded trail for the feature, which is meant to illustrate the sort of problems people might want to phone in with. We mostly do this by contacting people who have emailed or texted the programme and asking them if they'd like to record a question. In this case, having tried several people and only having two of the usual three voices on tape, a member of the production team contacted someone they knew, and who they knew was a 5 live listener, and invited him to record a question. It was his own question, not one that we'd given him, and he did not take part in the "live" section of the programme. This was part of the production process and was in no way intended to mislead the audience. Having read your comments, though, I can see that it wasn't an ideal way to go about things and we don't expect to do it this way again."

  • Comment number 50.

    Thanks for looking into this Nigel and coming back to me with an explanation from Robin Bulloch. It is reassuring that my comment has been noted and that you won’t be using this method in the future. I do think that the Help feature is of poor quality and is little more than filler and in my view 5 Live shouldn’t be devoting a quarter of a programme to these trivial questions. The same could be said about the moan in. There are plenty of news worthy topics that this time could be better devoted to or alternatively something like the Book Panel that was a successful feature on Mayo’s programme.

  • Comment number 51.

    I'll try a third time. Let's be clear, Lorraine Hagan who works for the Bacon show got her mate Dave to talk, in his words, S***e, in a trail for the programme and this was aired as if a legitimate member of the public was calling in. And this wasn't misleading anyone!

  • Comment number 52.

    Thank you for replying to people's concerns Nigel. I have a question about it. If this was normal procedure presumably it was done many times before? If this is so are the BBC not admitting guilt by abandoning it the moment it is discovered?


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