Wednesday 17 March 2010, 17:00
Editor's note: Radio 4's network manager explains three recent on-air errors - SB
Radio 4 broadcasts 13,000 programmes a year - a hugely complex mix of human activity and technology which, most of the time, comes out of the speaker in a seamless stream of beautifully crafted radio. Which makes it all the more noticeable for listeners - and frustrating for us - when there's a glitch. This week we've had a couple of glitches. On Saturday, we broadcast the previous week's edition of the Now Show instead of repeating the one from the night before.
This earned us some inevitable headlines about the 'Now and Then Show'. And yesterday morning we read out the wrong Shipping Forecast at 0520, for the second time in a month. These lapses are entirely unrelated to each other: the wrong Now Show was due to an error in operating the digital system that plays out programmes; the wrong shipping forecast was due to the forecaster selecting, at the end of a night shift, an earlier bulletin. We take these things very seriously and after any error we study what went wrong to see what lessons can be learned.
In the case of the shipping forecast, we are already implementing changes that should make such a mistake far less likely in future. The system has been adjusted so that the previous bulletins will be automatically deleted. And instead of the 0520 bulletin being read as the last task of the night shift, it will be the first task of the day shift. I can't promise that we won't make any mistakes in future. But we shouldn't make these ones again.
Denis Nowlan is Network Manager at BBC Radio 4
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