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21st-Century Mythologies - Omnibus, Part 1

Feedback: Salford, Radio 5 live and Radio1 Breakfast

Thursday 13 September 2012, 17:08

Roger Bolton Roger Bolton

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Editor's note: This week Feedback visits programme makers in the BBC's new buildings in Salford. You can hear Feedback on Radio 4 on Fridays at 4.30pm. PMcD.

Roger Bolton

"In Xanadu did Kubla Khan a stately pleasure dome decree".

And in Salford the BBC leadership did a similar thing.

On the banks of the Manchester ship canal has arisen another pleasure dome, the headquarters of BBC North, now home to the BBC Philharmonic, BBC Sport, Radio 5 live, the Religion and Ethics department and much more, and soon to be the base for Radio 4's You and Yours programme.

Just across the canal ITV is building its northern headquarters and independent producers are clustered around, hoping to catch commissioners over coffee.

The architectural merits of the buildings are for others to judge, but of the success of the rejuvenation of this once derelict area there can be no doubt. It rivals the Olympic site in Stratford, East London, in terms of transformation.

And for licence fee payers worried about the cost of the BBC's contribution to all this, land of course is rather cheaper there than in the middle of central London. Most listeners and viewers, I suspect, could hardly care less where programmes are broadcast from.

What they care about is quality and cost.

I hope to explore the true costs of the BBC building projects in Salford and Portland Place at a later date, but what of the quality of programmes coming out of 5 live? If the programmes sound no different, is that a compliment, or evidence of a missed opportunity?

Should the sound and content of the network be different now it is some 200 miles away from its former home?

With these questions in mind I went to Salford and, with some difficulty, because security is tight, gained entrance to the building on the first of whose five floors, 5 live is ensconced.

Once inside the building we were allowed to go anywhere and ask anyone anything.

You can listen to the show in full on the webpage where you can hear also BBC Radio 1's Director of Programmes tell me what the new Radio 1 breakfast show will sound like now that Chris Moyles is leaving to play King Herod in Jesus Christ Superstar.


Happy Listening,

Roger B.

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    Comment number 1.

    Monday 17/09/2012 Tony Blair on "Today"
    Mr Blair although a minor player in the current conflict with the Middle East still fails to recognise any complicity in this dreadful conflict. Is the "Today" program so short of worthwhile news that they have time to give him a platform for his misguided beliefs.

    Very Sad

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    Comment number 2.

    On the quality of programming coming out of 5 live, I was much impressed by the Stephen Nolan interview repeated on Sunday's Pick of the Week. A seriously ill elderly caller who takes morphine and who described himself as having a migraine 24/7 spoke eloquently on why he should have the right to die with dignity in this country.

    The thing that struck me most in this week's Feedback was the interview with Aaqil Ahmed on Thought For The Day. He dismissed the reasonable concerns of contributors to the programme with gusto and gave the impression that he thought that anyone who asked for non-religious voices to be included in the programme, for fairness, must be a lunatic. That he chose to make this attack on moderate secularism just before the new Director General takes over is perhaps telling. Is the new Director General a weakling who can do nothing about this or did he give him the nod to act?

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    Comment number 3.

    I was really disappointed to hear on Feedback there will be no changes to prayer for the day & thought of the day, in only allowing religious speakers to be broadcast. These are the only two items that make me switch off or over. Religious folk pushing their values gets very wearing, it is time both were stopped (too drastic? not for me, but for many others I fear) or at the very least changed significantly (possible eventually?), to allow other non religious decent moral views to be expressed. It will yet again, more than likely, show how slow the BBC can be in changing to reflect current public feelings. There are so many good things about the BBC, (especially R4) but always just a little too slow to move on when needed.


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Identifying the top ten game changers operating in the UK today.


See the latest on our blog


Find out about this year's panel and theme