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Closure of The Archers message board

Monday 11 February 2013, 12:00

Nigel Smith Nigel Smith Interactive Editor

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Today we are announcing the closure of The Archers message board. It will close, in two weeks, at 12pm on Monday 25 February. All of us at Radio 4 and on The Archers team understand this news will be disappointing for regular users.

The Archers Message Board

The Archers is extremely popular on digital platforms. More than 120,000 users regularly visit the website every week, the podcast is three times more popular now than it was in 2008 with downloads in the millions - and more and more listeners are talking about the programme on social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.

Amid that growth, traffic to the message board has reduced greatly. While there are around 10,000 regular visitors to the message board, the number of people who contribute actively has dropped below a thousand.

For some time, the BBC has been moving away from message boards, as Ian Hunter explains in this blog post, and there are now no other BBC Radio message boards and only two related to other BBC output. 

The Archers community has been a rich, witty and fun space for fans over the last decade and we acknowledge the strength of the community. We hope that you continue to contribute to Archers discussions elsewhere online.

We will still be listening to you and we welcome feedback via this blog, on our Facebook page and through Twitter where Tayler and Keri will remain as our hosts. All feedback will be collated and shared with the programme team each week and published on our blog.

The board's vast archive will remain online. We’re giving notice so that you can make plans to migrate to alternative Archers forums and spaces, say goodbye to fellow Archers board users and discuss this move.

We will respond to comments and questions about the closure on this blog later in the week.

Nigel Smith
Interactive Editor, Radio 4 & 4 Extra

Other places to talk about The Archers online

The Archers Facebook page – official page run by Tayler and Keri

The Archers on Twitter – official profile run by Tayler

#thearchers – Twitter hashtag

Archers Addicts Forum - fan forum

Peet's Place - fan forum

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Comments

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  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 61.

    Nasty and vindictive BBC. How much money are you going to save, and what are you going to spend it on ?

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 62.

    This message board has been company for me sometimes, sometimes even a lifeline, often a source of education, and a lot of fun, whether it was the crazy fantasy Archers threads or some other very amusing things in the Bull, a place to keep up with the news of people we have come to think of as friends, not to mention the huge importance to many people of the MH and Cancer threads in TVH - which was a place for many people with troubles to come for comfort and support. I think it will be a terrible loss to many.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 63.

    Twitter is really rubbish. Quite respectable organisations have been forced to go over to it because they think they will reach the public that way.

    You've said it yourself that these messageboards are the only ones for radio. Admittedly the DTA board is populated by many of the kind who used to terrify people reading the Woman's Hour Board, but the other boards are relatively civilised. The numbers of those listening to the Archers reduced to a trickle at one stage, but then you started to Shake Ambridge to the Core. and now that's rubbish too. I listen because I've listened since the first few weeks.

    I am saddened, but much more than disappointed. I'm outraged by the cavalier behaviour of the BBC. Radio is much better than TV and speech radio is unique to the world. How do you think people are going to react? Not well.

    "Go forth unto the BBC and get yer 'ands on Judith Chalmers" (or someone).

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 64.

    You say " and more and more listeners are talking about the programme on social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter."
    How many *is* more and more, please?

    You say " While there are around 10,000 regular visitors to the message board, the number of people who contribute actively has dropped below a thousand."
    How many contributors are there who contribute *regularly* to Twitter, please?
    How many contributors are there who contribute *regularly* to Facebook, please?

    Farewell! a long farewell to all your greatness!

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 65.

    Perhaps someone could enlighten us as to how much the message board actually costs to run. The number of posters is not really relevant. I've never posted on it but go into it every day and enjoy the witty and clever comments. It's actually much better when the Archers is bad!

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 66.

    It was not me sir. I never criticised the Archers.
    So this is how you deal with the paying audience. They say things which point out the ways in which the storylines can be improved.
    Its fingers in ears time for the Archers team. Bad listeners, naughty listeners that will teach you!

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 67.

    Echoing what Rosie said upthread, the Archers MB could be seen as being part of the Big Society. We help each other, round the edges of the discussion threads (where we have formed friendships) we support each other. Housebound by illness or circumstance we find friendship. Real improvements are wrought, in real people's real lives, through the medium of the message board. But that is not enough for the BBC, who exist to inform, entertain and educate. As a matter of interest will the BBC get any financial benefit from pushing posters towards commercial organisations? That really would be unconscionable (I guess I've answered my own question there)

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 68.

    Well, the 2 years of irritation in knowing they all Could Do Better, is now intensified as the hubristic leaders pull the plug on anything over 140 characters of dissent, or twitbook, with all the info. ownership concerns THOSE sites have.

    'Contemporary carp in a management setting.' (You're welcome to print that one out and stick it on your important 'I'm in charge/We've decided,' wall, but a self-referential font might be most suitable.)

    Not surprised, but disappointed, because you CAN get it right, even if you haven't for a long, long time. 'Engaged listeners giving feedback? Cut 'em off, unless it's soundbites!'

    'Public servants think they aren't!' Another headline to stare at for a while, too.

    Bah.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 69.

    One of the reasons I still listen to The Archers is this messageboard. Quite frankly I think you will lose listeners but then again maybe that's what you want.
    This messageboard is a lifeline to many people with worries, they know they can always find a friendly ear and real help.

    Shame on the BBC

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 70.

    Disgraceful. The BBC should be ashamed of themselves.

    Roy ; )

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 71.

    I don't use FaceBook and I find Twitter utterly boring - I will just have to go.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 72.

    Disappointed by this announcement but not surprised. I'll not be joining twitter or facebook. Funny that the Beeb is pushing the website of the Addicts Fan Club. Why would it do that?

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 73.

    I think I know who you are, rhedeg, and may I suggest that you simply rhedeg i fwrdd?

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 74.

    Bad move BBC. Like others I thought it must be a joke. We have been repeatedly reassured on these boards that there were no plans to close them. And why the short notice?

    I suspect that the programme will be the next for the chop. Many posters stay with it only so they can contribute on the boards. And there are others like me that only listen rarely and that is because we have been alerted in DTA that something might be worthwhile.

    I do not use Twitter or Facbook and have no intention of doing so. There will be no point using the website because all we get is the self congratulatory stuff about how well the programme is doing and how brilliant the SW's and editor are.

    These boards will be much missed by a lot of people

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 75.

    This is a ridiculous decision. I use Facebook and Twitter regularly in other contexts but there is no way that they could be used to discuss storylines, characters etc. in the way that the message board is, even if the many regular posters were willing to use them. I am not a regular poster but the wit and wisdom of most of those who are has been a great source of entertainment over the years. I agree that this decision appears to be motivated by pure spite because many regular listeners have been expressing concern at the deterioration of the Archers over the last few years.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 76.

    If those working on The Archers produced more convincing material, then the BBC would have seen and - more importantly to itself, perhaps - been able to preen itself, over what a good job it was doing, for its licence-payers.

    Wrong kind of listeners/customers, or wrong kind of editor/SW's/suppliers?

    Yet another nail in the BBC coffin of, 'We know what we're doing, oh yes.' The glowing record of recent bosses shows how skilled the Beeb is in dealing with reality.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 77.

    THe amount of peope contributing may have dropped, but I'm sure there must be many more who, like me, spend a lot of time lurking (and laughing) and only contributing once in a blue moon. This message board affords me more pleasure that the programme itself. I do wonder, sometimes, why I am paying my licence fee. The arrogance of the BBC these days is beyond belief.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 78.

    I have listened to TA on and off for nearly 40 years. I too recently found the Messageboard and liked it. Twitter is indeed idiotic. I joined and then left because of its banality. I looked at the FB page but it's entirely driven by what the BBC want to push. Sad...but typical of large organisations.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 79.

    I'm one of the people for whom these boards have been, quite literally, a lifeline. It's probably one of the cheapest ways available of providing support - from a bit of company to helping people with suicidal despair. I've lurked a lot more than I've posted, and the board has got me through some bad times. So thank you, people who post.

    BBC - a cruel decision and a wrong-headed decision. This is hurting a lot of people, and it hurts the BBC.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 80.

    So where are the answers to questions posed....? Or did you just say that because you couldnt think of anything else?

 

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