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Now Show geography

Thursday 20 August 2009, 17:47

Mark Damazer Mark Damazer

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Now Show world map

I went to the recording of The Now Show last Thursday night - the last of the current run. It's recorded at the Radio Theatre in Broadcasting House. Free - and a very jolly evening can be had. The News Quiz also records there - as do a lot of other BBC shows. Click here to find out how to get tickets. In the previous week's podcast (but not on air) the team asked listeners outside the UK to email with their (personal) big news. We got a lot back - and used some of it in this week's show. I am indebted to the producer - Ed Morrish - for the geographical breakdown.

  • When The Now Show asked for news from listeners around the world, 621 podcast subscribers replied, from 72 different countries. The most remote was South Georgia (lumped together with the Falklands on the map) and furthest away Stewart Island, New Zealand, 11,828 miles from the Radio Theatre.
  • We used Many Eyes to visualise the geographic data. The visualisation is here and the raw data here (CSV file). Many Eyes doesn't recognise Antarctica, Easter Island, South Georgia or Tibet as separate countries, although listeners from all four emailed the programme).
  • The Now Show is off-air at the moment but you can still listen to the most recent episode and subscribe to Radio 4's Friday Night Comedy podcast.

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  • Comment number 1.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

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    Comment number 2.

    Is there also a separate breakdown [say via a pie chart?] of how many of these listeners think the programme would be immeasurably improved by having the smug, supercilious, condescending and really rather arrogant 'comedian' Marcus Brigstocke replaced by someone who is actually funny ?

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    Comment number 3.

    Has there been any research done that would show how many extra listeners the station would get if "The Now Show" (and similar sketch shows of it's ilk) wasn't broadcast - has it been decided by R4 that it needs to move it's listener demographics towards the puerile content?...

    As I said elsewhere on the BBC blogs, the current state of BBC (R4) comedy makes the comedy greats of old appear to be Shakespearian actors...

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    Comment number 4.

    @Boilerplated Nearly a million people downloaded The Now Show's podcast during June, making it the most popular podcast from BBC Audio & Music by about a mile - more than twice as popular as Kermode's film reviews and three times as popular as Chris Moyles' weekly highlights.

    The download stats are here.

    Steve Bowbrick, editor, Radio 4 blog

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    Comment number 5.

    #4. At 08:59am on 21 Aug 2009, steve_bowbrick wrote:

    "Nearly a million people downloaded The Now Show's podcast during June

    First off, thanks for the URL!

    A healthy DL figure but not really what I asked, if the active (radio) audience is only million or so, considering the time slots...

    "The Now Show" having two time slots that are basically a filling of many listeners sandwiches how many people really choose to listen (opposed to just having the radio on in the background or actively re-tuning), has any research been done regarding listening figures being boosted by such sandwiching. Yes I'm probably asking a loaded question but I do feel strongly that otherwise weak content (not just "The Now Show" BTW) is being given undue prominence due to such 'sandwiching'.

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    Comment number 6.

    Peeps, BBC Radio 4 Comedy is wide and varied - that's the point! There is something for every taste.

    My favourites have included The National Theatre of Brent; Fags, Mags and Bags; Cabin Pressure; The Sunday Supplement; Ed Reardon; and Deep Trouble.

    And in recent years, I love Laura Solon, and Justin Edwards has wonderful songs!!

    The Now Show is established, and many people tune in. Dont knock it just cos it doesnt do it for you. There is much else besides!

    nikki

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    Comment number 7.

    #6. At 10:26am on 21 Aug 2009, nikki noodle wrote:

    "The Now Show is established, and many people tune in."

    That's the question I'm asking, how do we know that they are tuning in to listen to "The Now Show" and not for the content before and/or after?...

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    Comment number 8.

    Nikki Noodle - I'm not Nocking the Now Show..

    I just think it would be Substantially Better if Mark Watson replaced Marcus 'smugchops' Brigstocke, who seems to have to check the 'party line' in the Guardian before writing his material.

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    Comment number 9.

    Sorry but it's each to his own. I'm a great Now Show fan and although I think Marcus Brigstocke is a bit predictable sometimes (and certainly a bit too lengthy) he raises some valuable points and says things that you won't hear elsewhere. He has drifted away from the comedy perspective a little but it's not out of keeping with the rest of the show.

    The point about lsitening to a show because you happen to have the radio on before or after is irrelevant. I think most Radio 4 listeners have the radio on for most of the day.

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    Comment number 10.

    #9

    "The point about lsitening to a show because you happen to have the radio on before or after is irrelevant. I think most Radio 4 listeners have the radio on for most of the day."

    No it is not irrelevant, if it means that programmes/content that would otherwise have very low audience figures are actually getting a higher figure on the back of their scheduling. For example, the audience figures of "Thought for the Day" (as contained within the "Today" programme) is probably very high but how would it fair if "Today" was to end at 08:50hrs and then be followed by "Thought for the Day" as a stand alone programme, is the same sort of (possible) distortion occurring to the audience figures with "The Now Show"?

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    Comment number 11.

    "I think most Radio 4 listeners have the radio on for most of the day."

    Er, how exactly ? Maybe if they are taxi drivers, possibly. But most in the office will not have the radio on all day, and contrary to 'urban myth' not all Radio 4 listeners are pensioners for heaven's sake !!

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    Comment number 12.

    Re: Comment 4 by Steve Bowbrick: Whilst I love the Now Show and know that it stands up well to older satirical classics, I do not think that any metric that uses the phrase "Chris Moyles" will be a reliable indicator of quality.

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    Comment number 13.

    @Boilerplated I asked Tony Pilgrim, Radio 4's head of scheduling, to come in on this one but sadly he's on holiday so we might not get his angle on this.

    But although you're right that some programmes acquire a bigger audience by virtue of being scheduled next to popular ones, it's also true to say that programmes are scheduled next to each other on the basis that listeners to one might like the other.

    So there's a quite benign side to the scheduler's art and my limited experience of this area suggests that people like Tony are much less interested in 'pulling' listeners through from one big programme into the next than in designing coherent and satisfying schedules.

    And besides, since nearly a Million people voluntarily downloaded The Friday Night Comedy during June, more than for any other BBC programme and with no regard whatsoever for what comes before or after it, that must be some testament to its inherent appeal!

    Steve Bowbrick, editor, Radio 4 blog

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    Comment number 14.

    " Er, how exactly ? Maybe if they are taxi drivers, possibly. But most in the office will not ..."

    Perhaps I should have said many rather than most. But please remember that there are very many of us whose work is based at home, or who can work at home linking to an office with video conferencing etc. In fact practically all the R4 listeners that I know are in those situations and only a couple of them are pensioners. Just because we have the radio on all day, it does not diminish the pleasure with which we listen to certain programmes (e.g. the Now Show) or the amount of abuse we hurl at other programmes (e.g. Any Questions/Answers)

    Sorry if you don't like this particular programme and Mr Brigstocke but there's an awful lot of us who do. And I loved the closing show with the comments from outside the UK - a splendid acknowledgment of their wider appeal.

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    Comment number 15.

    Messers Damazer and Bowbrick.

    Just for light entertainment, I have to make the scandalous confession that I was a great fan of the amusing series Giles Wemmbley Hogg, thinking it was someone like Jon Holmes alter ego doing the voice, and having absolutely no idea that it was a creation of Marcus Brigstocke..

    Serves me right, I guess.. and it just shows how wrong one can be..

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    Comment number 16.

    #13. At 3:49pm on 24 Aug 2009, steve_bowbrick wrote:

    "@Boilerplated I asked Tony Pilgrim, Radio 4's head of scheduling, to come in on this one but sadly he's on holiday so we might not get his angle on this."

    Any possibility of a follow up comment from Mr Pilgrim regarding the issue I raised, or even blog about the art of programme scheduling as a whole?

 

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