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Radio 4 Extra: Responding to your feedback

Tim Brooke-Taylor, Graeme Garden, Jo Kendall, David Hatch and Bill Oddie from 1965

Hello again,

I've been reading your comments and feedback on the blog and elsewhere and wanted to respond to some of the points that people have made. I commented last week on the blog and Streetlight2 has identified some of the other things many of you are asking about so I've based my answers around them:

The presenters on 4Extra - what's the thinking behind changing them from the R7 team?

Now that Radio 4 Extra is aligned with Radio 4, the presentation teams are working together. Some of the Radio 4 presenters were keen to work on Radio 4 Extra, which is very different from reading the news on Radio 4! Of course Jim Lee, a stalwart of Radio 7/4Extra, has worked on both networks for over 8 years and Alan Smith, who was with Radio 7 in the early days, is now back with us again. Former Radio 7 presenters will have the occasional presence on 4Extra; in fact you can hear Helen Aitken in a couple of weeks interviewing a comedy troupe performing a Sherlock Holmes spoof.

All of the presenters have other work of course, both on radio and television, and fans of Alex Riley can see him popping up regularly on BBC Three.

What about the lack of drama programming?

The drama remit for Radio 7 was originally to broadcast a minimum of 50 hours per week. As Radio 4 Extra, we committed to a minimum of 55 hours of drama per week, and we actually broadcast more than that. You might be surprised to know that on Radio 4Extra, we broadcast on average of 68 hours per week, including of course the 24-hour overnight repeats.

As Head of Programmes launching Radio 7 over 8 years ago, and faced with a blank sheet of paper, I was keen to schedule longer drama on the archive station, and introduced two 90 minute plays at weekends, plus a 75-minute Woman's Hour archive omnibus on Sundays. The omnibus has been popular, and to build on that we have introduced a second 75 minute omnibus on Saturdays, made up of the previous week's Radio 4 Woman's Hour serial. With adding some new elements to the schedule, we stopped broadcasting the 90 minute drama on Sundays, but brought in the 60 minute children's/family drama slot, commissioning 8 new dramas in the process.

But of course, radio stations evolve and as with any radio station we will continue to review our output.

On Radio 4 Extra I was also keen to retain the 60 minute dramas, daily from Monday to Friday, plus the daily 45 minute dramas. These have included Fortunes of War, Howard's End and Ben Hur, three terrific and substantial dramas, plus currently for Easter, the landmark Dorothy L Sayer's production, The Man Who Would be King, in twelve 45 minute episodes. We have had good feedback on these productions, and are planning to follow-up with the Complete Smiley dramatisations, beginning in May.

The 7th Dimension and Crime and Thriller hours have remained the same, with the 1.00am repeat of the Crime and Thriller Hour being re-instated for the night owls from the week beginning 16 May.

Complaints about broadcasting The Archers, Ambridge Extra and Desert Island Discs. If some of these programs are available on Radio 4, then why put them on Radio 4 Extra?

Following the research and consultation we undertook, the BBC Trust wanted to ensure that there wouldn't be too many changes in the re-branding and in fact 85% of the Radio 4 Extra schedule has remained unchanged.

The Archers and Desert Island Discs are very popular strands, so we decided to build on these strengths to attract Radio 4 listeners (many of whom were/are unaware of the existence of Radio 7).

Regarding The Archers, we considered some archive programming, but with some missing programmes this would be difficult to sustain; we also felt that a repeat of the omnibus was not quite right, so the decision was made to commission a short, new Archers serial - Ambridge Extra. This will be running until the end of June, followed by a summer break.

I was interested to note that in the most recent podcast chart, Ambridge Extra came in at number 2 - just behind Adam and Joe.

When I started Radio 7, archive Desert Island Discs was on my shopping list, and I was keen to group the DID programmes in batches featuring The Comedians, The Actors, The Musicians etc. I have always thought that listeners would value the opportunity to hear archive editions of DID and the launch of 4Extra provides this as does the new DID website, updating information on the castaway, linking into the schedule when possible. For example, we began with children's authors, and when Jacqueline Wilson was last week's castaway, we broadcast one of her readings on the 4 0'Clock Show.

We will be following up with The Authors and The Comedians.

Any change to a network can be difficult to accept, and when the idea was initially mooted to change Radio 7, I admit I had my reservations.

Like some listeners, I was concerned that the station might become too serious.

However, I truly believe that there are many benefits in being so closely aligned with Radio 4. Some fresh ideas have been introduced, but at the same time I feel that we have managed to retain the entertainment essence that launched Radio 7 eight years ago - we continue to bring you great radio comedy and drama.

It would be impossible to please all of our listeners all of the time, but I hope that all of you manage to find entertaining programmes to listen to on Radio 4 Extra most of the time,

Best wishes

Mary

Mary Kalemkerian is Head of Programmes at BBC Radio 4 Extra

  • The photograph is from the BBC picture library. The caption reads "Picture shows (l-r) Tim Brooke-Taylor, Graeme Garden, Jo Kendall, David Hatch and Bill Oddie, five young comedians from the world-travelled 'Footlights Revue' Cambridge Circus, who star in the new comedy revue series I'm Sorry, I'll Read That Again, which begins in the BBC Light Programme on Monday 4th October, 1965."

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    First, I would like to thank Mary for responding to the many comments on the new rebranding of Radio 7. I would like to give my personal reply to some of her individual remarks.

    “The presenters on 4Extra - what's the thinking behind changing them from the R7 team?
    Now that Radio 4 Extra is aligned with Radio 4, the presentation teams are working together. Some of the Radio 4 presenters were keen to work on Radio 4 Extra, which is very different from reading the news on Radio 4!”

    As Mary said in 2002, Radio 7 “really is a special kind of radio station.” Part of what made it so special was its style of presentation, which has always been very distinct and very different from Radio 4. From the comments above, however, it would appear that this unique station identity has now been abandoned, with the aim of “alignment” with Radio 4.

    There has been no explanation from the BBC as to why there is a need to align Radio 7 with Radio 4. They serve two very different functions and very different audiences. According to Tim Davie, the new station will have a similar budget, so it is clearly not a cost-cutting exercise.

    I am interested to hear that Radio 4 presenters are keen to work on the new station, however, just because people like the idea of working somewhere else, doesn’t mean that it is the right strategic decision to allow them to do it. Surely what the listeners want is more important?

    “Complaints about broadcasting The Archers, Ambridge Extra and Desert Island Discs.
    If some of these programs are available on Radio 4, then why put them on Radio 4 Extra? The Archers and Desert Island Discs are very popular strands, so we decided to build on these strengths to attract Radio 4 listeners (many of whom were/are unaware of the existence of Radio 7).”

    So, let the Radio 4 listeners listen to Radio 4 to hear these shows then! The logic followed here seems to be: We want to make Radio 4 listeners aware of Radio 7, so rather than trail elements of R7 on R4, to raise awareness of the digital station, we will just make R7 sound more like R4 and change its name so people don't forget.

    What seems likely to be happening is that you may have got some R4 listeners to switch over to R4X for some programmes, however, many loyal R7 listeners who are not interested in this type of show, have switched off completely, thus reducing the overall BBC Radio audience.

    “I was interested to note that in the most recent podcast chart, Ambridge Extra came in at number 2 - just behind Adam and Joe.”

    From which we may conclude that Archers fans are just downloading the podcast, rather than actually switching to the new station!

    “...I feel that we have managed to retain the entertainment essence that launched Radio 7 eight years ago...”

    It would appear that the very essence of Radio 7 is what has been lost, which is very sad.

    “It would be impossible to please all of our listeners all of the time...”

    But, apparently it is quite easy to please pretty much none of them.

  • Comment number 2.

    well said robert i couldnt agree more .
    In my reading of this mary basically said we would rather have radio 4 listeners so we have made them another station , well who am i to stand in the way of the bbc i will follow this blog and listen to the occasional show from the radio7 archive that survived to 4extra but i will go to audible and other audio providers and leave you alone,i really would rather pay my cash to a company that gives me what i want and one day the bbc will lose its right to demand a licence fee from people who subscibe to a digitall provider and i will no longer be forced to pay to the money pit the bbc has turned into .
    goodbye radio7 you are missed

  • Comment number 3.

    On Saturday review there was a crit of photo exhibition in which it was stated that the raising of the flag at the Reichstag was staged by the Red Army. This triggered a memory of reading, or hearing on the radio, or seeing on TV that the American flag raising at Iwo Jima was re-enacted for the photograph, as none was taken when it actually happened. Does anyone else remember this?

  • Comment number 4.

    Totally agree with Robert.

    "Like some listeners, I was concerned that the station might become too serious."

    What? Who? Where? Have just checked through the blog posts (yes all of them) and that seems to be the opposite of what is being said.

    It also seems bizarre to me that you want to attract Radio 4 listeners. If they are already listening to Radio 4 and therefore already part of the BBC audience what happens if your Radio 4 audience figures decline? Surely you should be offering choice and not more of the same.

    60 minute "family friendly" dramas (i.e dramatisations of children's books) are not a substitute for 90 minute dramas aimed at adults.

    85% of the schedule is still the same? I'd like to see the sums... Have just been looking at the old Radio 7 schedules and although I am not up to the calculation myself it certainly doesn't appear to be the case.

    And even I downloaded to Ambridge Extra podcast - just to give it a fair chance and find out if it is as bad as the newspaper reviews have said (it is...) I imagine many others have done the same thing.

    Many people who have posted complaints will not be satisfied with this response.

  • Comment number 5.

    I recall the head of Radio 7 being quite adamant on Feedback (Radio 4) about 18 months to two years ago that "what our listeners would like is more detective stories and science fiction". I assume this was you Mary (Mary Kalemkerian) as you've been with the station from the start.

    You knew what your listeners wanted at the beginning and you knew what they wanted two years ago. Why this recent change of mind? Why the belief that they now want something so diametrially different to what you've being giving them for so long? This new sort of genetically modified version of Radio 4 rather than the organically derived archive programming of radio's more nourishing past.

  • Comment number 6.

    its 03:10 just finished listening to a great audio book , no 4extra at all today , thought i would come see what has been said and as the other blog is now closed came here, so get your complaints in quick i think the bbc are running out of patience .
    i was just wondering will the 4extra listening figures be bumped up by the podcast download numbers even though they havent actually listened to the station , also found these .
    This comes as part of a plan to more closely align some digital-only networks with their analogue "sister stations" to help exploit the strength of established brands and programmes.
    so we lost 7 so they could use the radio 4 name to boost figures we knew that but nice to be told after all you couldnt have advertised radio7 to radio 4 listeners .

    Describing the BBC's current radio plan as "a step forward rather than a radical change of strategy", Davie also announced more independence for once-threatened Radio 6 Music, as well as the return of popular comedy DJ combo Adam and Joe to the network in the spring.

    are you sure he should have step forward surely he meant a step sideways and slighty to the rear , and adam and joe why wont ant and dec do radio?

    Despite this raft of digital innovations, Davie was keen to stress the importance of all radio listeners to the corporation, and to reassure them there were no plans to reduce the quality of the analogue experience.

    laugh i nearly well i wont finish that but i think you get the idea, i guess when he said all listeners he meant all listeners in excess of 1 million , and very cleverly he said analogue ,so they can ruin digital as much as they want
    more of this statement at http://www.radiotimes.com/blogs/1199-bbc-radio-4-extra-to-replace-radio-7/







  • Comment number 7.

    I couldn't agree more with Robert's comments. I think he sums up the feelings of the majority of Radio 7 listeners.

    I find the BBC's excuse for changing the station to attract a different demographic at odds with my experience. On a recent visit to London to see my son, aged 31 and his partner aged 24 I was delighted to find that they had discovered Radio 7 and liked it so much that they had it on round the clock. When they discovered it was going to change to the new format they were both very disappointed but decided to give it a try. They both came to visit me this weekend and expressed alarm at what the new station was broadcasting, particularly the new appalling Ambridge Extra and the dire new comedy output - in fact they hate the volume of comedy that now occupies the station. They actually loved the classic comedy shows such asHancock, the Goons and the like. By far their favorites though are the Crime and Thriller programmes such as Paul Temple, the drama and the 7th Dimension output. Whilst they admit that these are still with us they think the overall atmosphere and feel of the station has gone - it has lost it's soul and its identity. They loved Radio 7 exactly as it was and are baffled as to why the BBC wanted to change it.

    Richard

  • Comment number 8.

    The content of R4’s programme pages is notoriously skimpy and inconsistent, but where there is good programme information, why does 4X insist on changing it? Taking ‘Howards End’ for example, compare the two versions:

    R4: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00n6yws
    R4X: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0107x1n

    Russ

  • Comment number 9.

    Thank you for responding to the feedback Mary.

    You have defended the amount of drama output and it is true that we have had a lot of serials and these are worth a listen. We have also had the odd 90 minute play most recently Kind Hearts and Coronets so I will try to keep the faith on drama. Also, congratulations on getting The Complete Smiley. That was one of the best pieces of radio drama I have heard for some years but it has to be said it is only a year or so old. So, while you may have secured a significant piece of work, please don't lose sight of the older dramas.

    Do you realise though that what the BBC has destroyed is a station that many listeners were happy to listen to for hours on end? Now, I for one will only be tuning in when I see something in the Radio Times that I want to listen to, although the detail is so scant that is a bit of a challenge. As Russ has pointed out at #8 it is hardly easy to find much useful information on the website.

    Does the return of the Crime and Thrillers hour mean we may get back some of the other old zones?

    You haven't mentioned the large number of short items (often recent ex-radio 4 items) which populate the morning schedules - they are now a no-go area as far as I am concerned as they are exhausting to listen to.

    You mentioned Woman's Hour Dramas and I have in the past sent feedback about how good it was to hear them again at the beginning of the drama hour - just for the avoidance of doubt I did not mean repeating the WHD from just the previous week.

  • Comment number 10.

    Poor old auntie BBC, marketing has never been her strong point!
    Let me try and explain as simply as possible......
    Even if you manage to move some radio 4 listeners to 4 extra, these are NOT new listeners to the BBC, because people only listen to one radio station at a time, so for the time they are listening to 4 extra they are NOT radio 4 listeners. On the other hand, loyal radio 7 listeners who leave because of the mess that's been made of their radio station are no longer BBC listeners at all. Therefore, the net result of all this is LESS listeners, not more...
    I used to have Radio 7 on most days from about 9.30am until around 8.30pm, and was usually back sometime after midnight until I fell asleep. The past 2 weeks I've listened to 4 programmes on the iplayer, and my radio listening is now taken care of by several internet drama, comedy and sci-fi stations, so I'm definitely not a BBC listener any more. Having crime and thrillers back in the early hours of the morning might tempt me back late at night, but the awful morning mess would have to be sorted out before I returned full time.
    Another fact that even the most basic research would have revealed, is that the vast majority of radio 4 listeners are dedicated and vociferous FM users, and won't have anything to do with DAB radio (it's probably them downloading Ambridge extra :-)). After all, even if they happen to be in one of the few area's where DAB actually works, why should they move from a station that gives them what they want in high quality stereo sound to one that gives them much the same thing in decidedly inferior quality mono?

    One more thing, can you please stop your announcers introducing 45min plays as 'long drama'? The correct phrase is 'minimum acceptable length drama'.

  • Comment number 11.

    Mary can explain all she likes about the changes to 7, it doesn't alter the fact that there was no demand for the changes and on the various blogs the overwhelming comment is negative. I've tried to listen 4extra but I just end up switching it off in frustration. As for things have to move on does that include programmes like just a minute, DID, womens hour and many others that haven't changed format in decades.
    I no longer listen to 4 or 4extra but i'm sure the BBC sees me as the wrong demographic and therefore my opinion doesn't matter.

  • Comment number 12.

    More full length 90 minute plays please. You surely have many, many recordings which pre-date the big R4 dumb-down foisted on us 15 years ago by then-controller James Boyle. R4's still lacks any quantity of long, involving drama.

    As 4extra is allowed only a poor quality mono bandwidth on DAB, the vintage of the plays is immaterial technically.

  • Comment number 13.

    I miss Michaela Saunders, I like Arthur Smith but seriously, enough is enough (the repeats are driving me crazy.. before work then after work!!!).. and all being said I listen to Radio 4 for my Radio 4 reasons and like (d) Radio 7 as it had more drama... I ditched the Archers in protest (due to Nigel being killed off) and now you've added Archers Extra! Leave my stations alone (yes, they are mine.. I pay for them don't I???!). Anyone remember C4's Oneword - they came, they meddled, they shut it down!

  • Comment number 14.

    I listened to the radio probably 18 hours a day. I used to switch between 4 and 7 depending on my mood and content. Now I am increasingly switching off or searching the internet for alternatives. The introduction of repeats of R4 programmes so soon after the original is particularly annoying.I may be getting old but even my short term memory is not that bad! Programmes are already repeated on R4 and available on iplayer, why repeat them again and again?
    The loss of the second 90minute drama slot is criminal - there is so little full length drama on radio these days. I look forward to hearing Smiley again but surely there is a lot more from the archives that could be made available to R4X
    I wanted to say something positive about the new schedule but I really can't.

  • Comment number 15.

    Well, so,then, Mary, we are being given what we are told and told to like it eh? Whether it is all the factual programming of the Archers, we have to like it or leave. Well, I guess you see it as YOUR station so maybe we can't complain but there are problems with the present schedules that you could fix and keep some listeners.

    "The Archers and Desert Island Discs are very popular strands, so we decided to build on these strengths to attract Radio 4 listeners (many of whom were/are unaware of the existence of Radio 7). " Interesting - so you want to make Radio 4 Xtra like Radio 4 ... but then it just becomes Radio 4 and you lose all of us who were trying to get away from the factual programmes that are the joy of Radio 4. radio 7 was different and us listeners liked it for that. Are we wrong to like difference - to like fiction and comedy rather than factual? I listen to factual programmes on Radio 4 but at bedtime I want something different.

    Drama, Drama? Well, what happened to the 90 minute plays on Saturday and Sunday nights? Plays from some great playwrights performed by great actors - are we denied that so that you can broadcast Garrison Keeler? Really? If he is so Radio 4 why not put him on Radio 4? As for Sunday night instead of good drama it s more factual at 01:00 onward.

    It is not the way to keep an audience - I mean ask yourself, Mary, how many posts praise the new schedule? Ok, we may be the grumblers but there are going to be plenty more who just turn off and about whom you never know. You've agree to put back Crime and Thrillers at 01:00 so why not give us back drama at the weekend?

  • Comment number 16.

    My comments echo elsewhere but to be part of the massed ranks of complainents; Surely the iplayer is provided for hearing loose-ends, woman's hour etc. I want to hear as much stuff as poss from the distant past, not last week. Ambridge extra is the dumbing-down of the Archers. I saw marvellous comic potential involving characters such as Mr Pullen, Titcombe, Freda Fry giving us a rather bitchy diatribe on the main characters (something that happens in real life but not in Ambridge. Finally "Extra" is a fashionable word unlike "Radio 7"

  • Comment number 17.

    Thanks Mary for at least trying to address some of the issues raised by the (ex)listenenrs but even if 85% of the output is the same, the BBC seem ti have chopped out the best 15% and in turn lost the charm that radio 7 possesed. Losing the longer 90 minute dramas has been especially hard to take as they where the highlight of the schedule for many of us and had restored my love of the art of storytelling.

    All in all i feel as though i've lost a good friend in radio 7. Radio 4 extra just isn't the same. It was the last BBC "product" i still enjoyed and now that it's gone the ties that had bound me to the once great BBC have been broken. Farewell Radio 7, farewell BBC.

  • Comment number 18.

    Actually, very of us are fooled by the '85% the same' statement. Of course, if you break it down into drama, comedy and sci-fi, then that probably does still make up 85% of the programming. The fact that a lot of it is no longer GOOD drama, comedy or sc-fi is somewhat hidden by this statistic. (although, in fairness, The 7th Dimension is still as good as ever - probably because it hasn't changed at all! Thank heavens for the iPlayer.}
    I suppose the appalling Archers extra is still technically drama, in the same way that The Birdie Song is still technically music,(playing it endlessly on Radio 3 probably wouldn't go down too well though, despite the fact that a few people consider it 'a classic'). I also assume that the programmes explaining why it isn't important that the new comedy programmes on 4 extra aren't actually funny in a post-modernist era, are also classified as comedy. The 'only 15%' of change officially recognised is Desert Island discs and the seemingly endless snippets of recent radio 4 that are too short and/or boring for anyone to bother categorising.

  • Comment number 19.

    oops! that should be 'Very few of us.......... :-/

  • Comment number 20.

    #8 Russ, I put your query regarding why programme information can vary between the two networks for the same programme to the 4 Extra team. This is what John Partington, A&M Programme Information Product Manager, said:

    "Russ - thanks for your comment. Yes, you're right, if Radio 4 does have good programme information that should appear on the 4 Extra page too. We try to ensure the best information is always used but we do slip up. At the moment our back end systems don't help networks to share information, so we're re-engineering the system; but it will be autumn before the software engineers finish their work. Meanwhile we'll sort this one out."

  • Comment number 21.

    Hmm, that's interesting, you've chosen to reply to the one comment that's off topic................
    :-)

  • Comment number 22.

    What did you expect, Dave? We are only the listeners after all!

  • Comment number 23.

    I have only just registered, but I would like to add my comment about the loss of Radio 7 and the dumbed-down Radio 4 we seem to have got in its place. I left radio 4 originally for a number of reasons, high among which was The Archers and now I find myself inundated with more of them on radio 4X.

  • Comment number 24.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 25.

    Thanks Paul for that information from John Partington. As some here regard the matter of R4/R4X programme information as somewhat offtopic in this blog (and I do not disagree with them in a sense, but one takes a chance in these places to address side issues), I suggest the subject of the shoddy state of some of the parent R4 programme pages warrants a separate blog of its own - for the sake of transparency, I would like to know more about the scope and strategy of the re-engineering of the backend systems before that re-engineering is rolled out, and feel the process would perhaps benefit from some user input and discussion.

    Russ

  • Comment number 26.

    radio7 asked listeners to fill in a survey , about what they wanted from a radio station it also asked if they would like to be able to download episodes for upto 12 months after they had been played , among many other questions , i can not and will not believe that the resulting radio4 extra is what was asked for and where are the sites for downloading the shows .
    if this is what happens after the bbc ask us for input i would be very suspect about filling in another survey as we may end up with chris moyles reading this sceptered isle the radio one years.
    i think we all know the bbc will not change its mind we will not get radio 7 back we will also not get rid of ambridge extra or d i d and we will not see the drama ,or crime and thrillers back to the way it was ,i have not listened to r4x for a week now as complaining does not get results so i have bought a stack of audio books and found some nice audio sites online and hope i will not be alone in doing this as complaints mean nothing and figures mean everything. this and as we have seen here we dont get straight answers to questions we get spin on why things are they way they are , i still cant get my head around the presenters are here because they were keen to try it i am keen to try out for the stigs job not sure if that is enough to get it but you never know .

  • Comment number 27.

    Good point about the consultation. When Government consults it has to produce a summary of the responses so it can show whether there was support for what it has decided to do (or at least explain why it has decided to go ahead anyway).

    Could our hosts point us in the direction of such a summary issued to the licence-paying public?

    It's very easy to say that these changes follow on from the consultation but do the changes made actually tie in with what was said by those (including me) who responded to the consultation? Does the summary have numbers of people who responded, what they actually said, what they said about what they definitely wanted to keep and what they certainly didn't want?

  • Comment number 28.

    If I wanted to listen to music I would tune into radio 1, 2,3 or 6.
    If I wanted to listen to puerile comedy, panel games, news, the archers soap or incessant chat, chat, chat, I would tune into radio 4.
    If I wanted to listen to wall to wall news, tiresome phone-ins or sport, I would listen to radio 5.
    I wanted, however, to listen to UNINTERUPTED classic comedy, quality drama, plays and stories in a variety of genre to suit all tastes radio 7 had it all!
    Regretably, the BBC has dumbed down what was an excellent station. The Beebs egocentric jobsworths will not admit that they have made a huge mistake and have alienated their core and faithful listeners.

  • Comment number 29.

    I am afraid Mary, your answer is the sort I'm used to hearing on Feedback "- There's nothing wrong, we're going to do it anyway, and we'll throw the listeners a few concessions and hope they shut up "

    You post is similar to the BBC explanations I've read for the trashing of the Archers and the closing down of nearly all the BBC Message boards.
    I agree with everything Robert and other people have said , and especially this comment -
    "More full length 90 minute plays please. You surely have many, many recordings which pre-date the big R4 dumb-down foisted on us 15 years ago by then-controller James Boyle. R4's still lacks any quantity of long, involving drama.

    As 4extra is allowed only a poor quality mono bandwidth on DAB, the vintage of the plays is immaterial technically."

    Since you changed the name and contents of Radio 7 I've spent £40 on audio books from a website which sells them at a discounted price, because I can't bear to listen to Radio 7 any more !

  • Comment number 30.

    How I agree with most of the people on here.
    Radio 7 was the BBC's best kept secret. It was never promoted properly and yet the number of listeners was growing steadily.
    I got many friends listening to this unique radio station and we all appreciated its warm relaxed style (no time checks, no irritating pips style music), its wonderful presenters (where are you Michaela Saunders?), its quality drama (proper drama including 90 minute plays and not AmEx), archive comedy and all the other elements which made it so good.
    I do not understand how the BBC could create something so special and then trash it overnight.
    Having listened to R7 for an average of 10 hours a day, I no longer listen because it is too painful to trawl through the wreckage to search out a few gems.
    I feel those who think like me are "the wrong kind of listener" and we are crying in the wilderness if we think the BBC gives a toss about our opinions. If the BBC thinks the change is going to increase DAB radio listening they are in for a nasty shock.

  • Comment number 31.

    [I'm posting this in 3 parts, because the comment box seems unable to cope with it as a whole.]

    Reference cats' #27, the Trust had three primary sources of information as part of its consultation process in the recent review of R3/4/7. The first was the audience research document conducted by Optimisa in June-July 2010. I don't wish to belittle that process, but a glance through many of the comments listed in it indicate that the research hinges on highly anecdotal and instantaneous-reaction snippets from the focus groups, e.g. "On Woman's Hour they'll have things like an Asian girl talking about her marriage. It does make you think about how people live in other parts of the world." For R7, the focus-group associations are expressed only in vague and undiscerning terms - "I didn't know anything about it until tonight. Sounds great, right up my street, but I've never heard of it." The positive iconic phrase for R7 from the focus groups, and subsequently picked up by the Trust, was "Yesterday's creativity". The downside R7 phrase was "The idea for the station is original, but I'm not sure you could say the programmes are." Have a read for yourself and form your own opinion.

    The second main input to the Trust's review was the public consultation itself, and on which nearly 17000 licence payer responses were made, together with responses from the radio industry and other stakeholder organisations. A full listing of these responses can be found here.

    The third main input to the Trust review was the Management proposal from the Executive. The Executive has declined to release the full management proposal to the review. All of the inputs, it carried the most weight and is the most pivotal.

    The first two voluminous sets of these three inputs were assessed by a single person in the Trust, David Liddiment, who compiled, no doubt after iterations of input from and argument/negotiation with the Executive's management proposals, the final report. With such a range and choice of input, it's impossible to say whether the report was a fair one. One area I paid close attention to was the axeing of the R4 Friday Play, and the report's rationale was I thought particularly blinkered and disingenuous. On the plus side, the report contained sensible recommendations in respect of 7/4X, viz the official green light to the archive and a recognition for the need for a rethink over the low-reach and expensive children's output. I think it is fair to say the Executive now drives the Trust on the service licences, rather than vice-versa, which is the intended method. The Trust is now simply playing catch-up with whatever the Executive has decided.

    That being said, the report represents something of a tradeoff between different agendas, but fortunately, the Station Controllers paid scant notice of its more lunatic elements, notably the Trust's perennial bleatings about R4's demographics, and the Trust was roundly laughed at in the press for complaining that R4 didn't appeal to enough 42-year old Polish plumbers living in Bolton. (I paraphrase of course, but you’ll remember the hilarity had at the time, even to the extent that the ever-diplomatic ex-controller Mark Damazer issued a suitably sharp and incisive retort to the Trust’s tired class- and ethnicity-ridden dogma.)

    [continued in next comment]

  • Comment number 32.

    [continued]

    Amidst the breezy soundbites and political fighting, discussion of specific programmes tends to get lost, and the mixed messages from the Trust report are therefore left to the Station Controllers to be interpreted in whatever way they think most suitable. In the case of 7/4X, this was left to newcomer Gwyneth Williams, no doubt relying heavily on Mary K's experience and track record with 7, and in the background trying to pull the big commercial strings is of course Tim 'Mr Pepsi' Davie. It would be a big mistake to imagine these three individuals have the same views, which may go some way to indicating why there is such a deafening silence from the Executive to what you’ve been saying here on this blog. In my slow-winded way, I'm kinda getting round to trying to answer cats' question:

    It's very easy to say that these changes follow on from the consultation but do the changes made actually tie in with what was said by those (including me) who responded to the consultation?

    My view on that is the answer is a lot more 'no' than it is 'yes'. As far as I can see, there is no evidence for some of the new 'extra' programmes in the report. Indeed, there is very little detail on exactly what the rebranding from 7 to 4X should entail, although the report acknowledges there was a "mixed response" (half in favour, half against) to the basic rebranding notion. Nevertheless, the report's compromise overall commitment is clear:

    "We endorse BBC management’s proposal to reposition Radio 7 as Radio 4 Extra but will protect the current elements of Radio 7 that audiences particularly value"

    Those of us wanting to see the return of the longer dramas will take comfort from that, but the trouble was, as acknowledged by the Trust report, the smaller R7 audience size has never enabled the BBC's regular audience surveys to evaluate the quality or impact of R7's offerings effectively, and the underlying focus group evidence didn't actually mention "Oooo, we really like those long plays!", and of course, the focus groups and the licence payer consultees could not have imagined the horror of the Vanessa Whitburn gang riding into town, putting on sheriff's badges, and plonking AmEx drafts all over the table. You see, when you get consulted on something, you have to imagine all the possible things you don't want as well as the ones you do want. Unfair, isn’t it?

    The killer 4X service licence requirement (amongst others) however for Mary K is that "no more than 15 per cent of Radio 4 Extra output across the year is Radio 4 catch-up programming". So she can't repeat DID as is or the Now Show as is, but if they are sort of slightly different she can pretend they are new programming. And there in a nutshell, is what is behind much of the 'extras'. They're lowest common denominator things that few people actually want, things that have been dropped out or squeezed out of a highly imperfect consultation process and a politically fraught service review process, all of which had umpteen different agendas. I detect the Trust knew this was unknown territory, and it took care to specify a qualifier:

    "We will monitor closely the effectiveness of this strategy, and have asked that BBC management reports this to the Trust on a regular basis. In doing so, we have asked them to assess what impact this change has had on the current Radio 4 and Radio 7 audiences in order to monitor how much disruption there has been."

    In short, the Trust was far from convinced that the Executive has made a good case for the direction of 4X, let alone the programme details fleshing out that direction. You see, and I know you'll all think me naive for saying this, but maybe Mary K et al are not so snootily arrogant after all, and are waiting to see what you say here, so she and Gwyneth have something concrete to go back to the Trust with. Note 'regular basis'. I guess that will probably mean quarterly, initially. In terms of feedback, the BBC audience surveys can't get a proper handle on 4X's quality and reach because of the low audience, and RAJARs are not good at tracking teenage consumption. And, now that the BBC has shot itself in the foot by dumping the messageboards, that feedback mechanism no longer exists either. The feedback therefore, such as it exists at the moment, is likely to be a very subjective finger in the wind assessment, as well as highly anecdotal. The first official crunch point will be the Q2 2011 RAJARs, available from mid-July. The Executive objective is to achieve a 50% increase in 4X listening over a 3-year period. Hmmm...

    [continued in next comment]

  • Comment number 33.

    [continued]

    (In case anyone is wondering, the origins of the 4 O'Clock Show and AmEx are all there in the Trust's report, and reflect the views of a number of professional organisations, and align very closely with BBC Management's proposals - "a stronger speech service for older children and their families". These proposals were obviously prepared in some detail before the review process started - see para 283 et seq of the report.)

    But let me change tack, because Mary K has introduced a new thought, and I was astonished she should feel obliged to express a concern that 4X "might become too serious". Now the Trust would never use such a politically-incorrect word as serious, but it's a useful notion to explore, and I recognise this could be the crux of many of the frustrations being expressed here. I can understand the BBC wanting to increase awareness and reach of 7/4X, and maybe it thinks that going too 'serious' will jeopardise its chance with its new target family audience. Personally, I'm dismayed the 'alignment' of 4 and 4X has translated not only into more of the same, but also a dumbed-down version of more of the same. To admit a fear of 4X becoming 'too serious' indicates the predecessor R7 was also felt to be too serious, and therefore we must conclude that there has been a deliberate intention to make 4X less serious. To the extent that R4 no longer has any enthusiasm for ambitious or long drama output, 4X is now (regrettably) aligned with 4, but such an alignment, far from being lauded as Mary does, is actually tantamount to a damning indictment of 4 as well. For me, the 'alignment' (the 'extra') would be better if 4X complemented its current family-lite direction and started to become a bit more serious, or at least continued to carry the longer drama output as a complement to the lite stuff, which to my mind would then be a better alignment with 4's mission statement of intelligent speech. You can't get less serious than much of 4's current entertainment output, so why try to make an even lighter version of The Archers for example? (AmEx being "unforgivably dire" according the Guardian's Elizabeth Mahoney.)

    I would question whether there is a demand for the new 'extra' shows, but if there is seen to be a need for a DID-extra or Nowshow-extra or a whatever-extra, then they are better left to Radio 4 to produce those versions available from the website to complement its live schedule, leaving space for 4X to do what it does best, namely getting the gems out of the archive. To my mind, 4X now has a great opportunity of leading the way in establishing the permanent archive, a BBC project that is currently floundering because of a lack of a clear vision and of course the obsession with live-schedule listening stats. As it stands, most of 4X's current 'extras' are merely padded-out non-value-added items - the 'extra' has been a con.

    It was interesting to hear the caution in the way Sir Michael Lyons talked about 4X in his Call You and Yours interview, stressing at least twice it was "early days".

    Russ

  • Comment number 34.

    Russ

    Thank you for the informative posts. I am off to study now - I may be gone some time!

  • Comment number 35.

    The above post(s) addresses listeners' views pretty comprehensively, this one's a mere addendum:

    Just WHAT is the point of Radio 4extra on a Sunday morning? Radio 7 provided a useful alternative to R4 listeners who, though a regular and largely satisfied audience, might look to escape from The Archers and/or Desert Island Discs. Both programmes are repeated and hard to miss on R4 as it is.

    As The Archers inevitably comes round at 10.00, and one knows sure as day that it will be followed by Desert Island Discs, a switch to the new channel for something different is met with... what? An edition of Desert Island Discs. When that's over, it is a mere 25 minutes 'til the wretched Ambridge Extra appears.

    The ultimate effect is one of complete frustration and I, for one, just TURN OFF.

    If the BBC is determined NEVER to restore the far superior Radio 7, the least 4extra's programme schedulers could do is ask themselves WHY people might be tuning in to their station at any particular time.



  • Comment number 36.

    How irritating to hear on radio 4 extra this morning an advertisement for BBC TVs Dr Who! Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. How many more TV advertisments will we have to suffer?

  • Comment number 37.

    I just not understand any of the reasoning behind the change. radio 4 is full of repeats DID is on friday and sunday the 6.30pm comedy spot is repeated saturday the bloody archers is repeated everyday plus an omnibus to say nothing of the morning slot which is repeated everyday up to womans hour but the drama in that is repeated. If the BBC loves DID and TA that much just broadcast the 'extra' bits on R4 and cut down the repeats. The BBC seems obsessed with certain programmes and presenters DID should have faded into history when Roy passed away ditto I'm sorry i haven't a clue and Humph. Just a minute seems to be something for Paul Merton to do when HIGNFY isn't on air but the BEEB seems to want to foist these kinds of programmes on to the radio 7 listeners. If DID and Inheritance tracks are so loved by R4 listeners then repeat or extend them on that station. Ambridge extra was developed to cock a snook over the vast amount of criticism about TA over the new year - a case of auntie beeb saying we know you said you didn't like this but we know better so heres some more.
    I don't understand who controls what in radio land but the same arrogant and patronising attitude seems all pervasive throughout the BBC.

  • Comment number 38.

    well done russ
    now if you look at the 3 blogs we have posted to here , the first being welcome to radio 4 extra with 81 posts mostly if not all negative (now closed) the second being radio 4 extra the first week with 97 again mostly negative comments (also now closed) and now this blog with at this time 37 mine will be 38th , there has not been a surge to defend the bbc as you normally see when a negative comment has been made , i also havent seen many blogs elsewhere that has more than around 1 in 30 saying anything good about the new station but there has been a couple saying good things about the shows but as most of those were about the 7th dimension and other surviving shows from radio 7 should they really count as praise for 4extra .
    how many negative posts will it take for the bbc to realise they have made a mistake and we are not just complaining for the fun of it and maybe restore a complete day of radio 7 shows to see if this affects the listener numbers then work on a new schedule from there ok we wont get radio7 back but atleast we could get the format back to something people woulld listen to .

  • Comment number 39.

    I suspect my contribution may seem effectively redundant along side Russ' comprehensive exposition of how the BBC has undertaken this assessment, and the insight it gives into the organisation in its wider operations. It's frightening because it seems authentic and it reveals an organisation afflicted by the paralysis of mechanically undertaking ineffective processes rather than a collection of competent professionals who have the ability to make decisions because they know the milieu in which they work. (Thanks Russ for your work.) However as I've prepared my contribution, I'd be dismayed if I didn't post it.

  • Comment number 40.

    There are clearly several issues of concern about the changes to 7 that have emerged from the move to 4 Extra and it would be difficult to address all of them here.

    To my mind the most noticeable aspect of the change is the disparity between much of the carefully developed and produced programming that makes up archive broadcasting in contrast to the generally disposable output of Radio 4 and the programming which originates from it. These disparate elements together now create a jarring discord inside the new 4 Extra schedules. Also what we shouldn’t loose sight of is that archive programmes are generally broadcast because they’ve stood the test of time, whereas with programmes from the output of Radio 4 currently - it’s much too soon to be sure how they’ll be regarded in ten or twenty years time. Though we may already have our suspicions. I do, however, have some comments about the relative merits of the comparative drama outputs from the two stations: 7 & 4 Extra.

    Although Mary boasts that the new station now excels Radio 7 in committing to broadcasting even more drama I don’t believe this statistic provides a meaningful comparison of the drama output before and after the change.

    For example, included in the 55 hours per week statistic will be all the output categorised as drama on 4 Extra. This includes drama made for children which is entirely different in character from the adult drama that 7 used to concern itself with. Similarly I don’t believe an omnibus of the Woman’s Hour serial is likely to have any serious equivalence with a drama that is progressively developed over 75 or 90 minutes; like the feature length ‘Theatres’ we became used to at the weekends. The Woman’s Hour serial omnibus is limited, firstly because it’s broadcast for a Woman’s Hour audience, but particularly because it’s a compilation from an episodic form. A drama purpose made to develop effectively over an extended period without any of the constraints of parcelling the story into equal segments is able to provide an altogether more effective exposition over the available time than an "omnibus" of accumulated episodes.

    The use of the comparison between Radio 7 and 4 Extra based on these drama output statistics, to me smacks of a target based approach to ‘improving’ performance. An organisation defining such measures for itself to satisfy will often chose them because their application can facilitate the organisation’s true ambitions whilst also obscuring the truth about a decline in other aspects of service quality.

    The perception by the listener that an improved score on an organisation’s arbitrary target scale corresponds to a failure in service isn’t wrong. People who listen to a radio station and perceive a marked change in output do so because that is what’s happening. People know what they like and why they chose to listen, and they know what quality means to them and when this declines. However these qualities are often difficult to quantify and anyway it may be inconvenient for the organisation to try to do so.

    I suppose the listening figures will ultimately provide some indication of peoples’ appreciation of what is on offer, but here again the BBC don’t provide themselves with anything much of significance to achieve.

    In the ‘Radio 347 final’ report the management says it expects the new station to achieve "a 50% increase in both awareness and reach over a three year period". (They don’t specify which three year period this will be.) The terms "awareness" and "reach" seem fairly nebulous so the expectation is insubstantial. It would be quite possible for the total number of listeners to 4 Extra to increase by 50% whilst at the same time the amount of listening overall stays the same as for Radio 7, or even reduces!

    Over the next three years with the push towards digital radio and the inevitable passage of time the prevalence of digital radios will increase; radios get replaced why not buy digital or an analogue/digital combination? Thus more people will listen to digital radio and so the audience for 7 would have gone up anyway. With the relentless promotion of the new station on Radio 4 the ambition they have set themselves is probably one in which the BBC can’t fail because it means so little. So what in the end will the achievement of this target really mean?

  • Comment number 41.

    Regarding Russ' long exposition on the process involved in moving Radio 7 4Extra and many other very erudite posts, the fact remains that the vast majority of posters want Radio 7 back as the old Radio 7, perhaps without the children's programming. The powers-that-be must accept that a mistake was made, and with or without an apology just return Radio 7 as Radio 7. That's the bottom line. Get on with it.

    In an earlier post by me (#51 in the 1st Week thread) I summarized most folks' complaints. Not a lot has changed since then regarding what people find wrong with Radio 4extra. Repeating: Radio 4Extra is a disaster for many reasons and listeners want Radio 7 back the way it was. That seems pretty simple to me.

  • Comment number 42.

    Mary Kalemkerian,
    9.30, Sunday evening. I have just tried tuning into 4extra once more, having given up on the station this morning, fed up with the Archers and Desert Island Discs which now dominate Sunday mornings on both R4 AND its offshoot. What is on? Desert Island Discs.

    Off.

  • Comment number 43.

    Well, I am just back from a weekend away avoid a certain wedding and the posts seem to be coming in think and fast.

    I question this idea of the seriousness of Radio 7 against the less serious Radio 4 Xtra. The old Radio 7 was more or less free of factual programming and even our comedy was allowed to be comedy (stand-up or scripted). Now just look at the 'serious' stuff we have - Front Row Interviews, Loose Ends and, I see this coming week even the history of a Garden. What the heck? Drama, comedy and entertainment? I think Radio 4 Xtra just god more serious now less.

    Now drama must include TA Xtra I presume so that's quite a lot of real drama we have lost - presumably in replacement for the excellent 90 min dramas at 01;00 on Saturday and Sunday nights. Can anyone at the BBC understand why people here are complaining? Good solid drama by established playwrights or a soap opera is hardly a question especially as we had some great comedy plays.

    Comedy is at its best a a good scripted show which is why panel games ought never to be included. radio 4 audiences enjoy, we are told, panel games so let them have such. They are not what radio 7 listeners want though the Comedy club seems to get them regularly.

    I hope the schedulers are reading the replies to blogs - I hadn't counted the numbers but I was not in the least surprised as the count or adverse ones. I wonder if anyone has written or posted a view that the new schedule is 'much better' the the old Radio 7. Maybe Mary K could tell us that....

  • Comment number 44.

    Re-reading Mary's post, I did notice one ray of hope -
    "Ambridge Extra. This will be running until the end of June, followed by a summer break"
    Maybe it'll get eaten by a shark while it's on holiday.................

  • Comment number 45.

    Whilst waiting for The Likely Lads to air, I suffered The Sunday Format and was left wondering what heading this program come under, it was certainly neither funny or entertaining.

    I notice it is 1/6 episodes, so I am asking if anyone knows the whereabouts of the barrell that this was scraped out of would they please destroy a.s.a.p.

  • Comment number 46.

    Thank you for reinstating the late night crime and thrillers hour. Please let this be a permanent fix - I can't handle comedy in the wee small hours. I thought it was only me, but it's obvious many people have missed it.

  • Comment number 47.

    Having gradually, and very sadly, moved away from World Service after many years because I found the very varied content had given way to almost round the clock news items, with a narrowing definition of the "world" (please do correct me if you can point me to recent reports on Liechtenstein, Italy, Switzerland, Denmark, Panama, Canada as in days of yore) and an abandonment of drama series such as Citizens and Westway, I still remained loyal to Radio 4. However, it was a delight to find Radio 7 last year. At last a channel for those who rejoice in radio as natural medium for the interpretation of the written word. In Radio 7, there was a literary alternative to the factual and comedic output on 4. Now it seems to have lost its identity to become a mere extension of 4. If I, as an Archers, comedy and DID fan (and, incidentally, also a Doctor Who fan), find their transferal to Radio 4 Extra annoying, I pity the regular Radio 7 listeners. Interesting to read that there are internet drama channels though....

  • Comment number 48.

    I rather think I agree with many others above - I am ordering an MP3 player and will be listening to audio books instead.

    I am still sad for poor old Radio 7 - if they didn't want it there should have been decent burial and not just change its name and leave it to rot.

  • Comment number 49.

    ". . .if they didn't want it there should have been decent burial and not just change its name and leave it to rot."

    wheels5894, I think you've hit the nail on the head. "Radio 4 extra" sounds a lot more 'extinguishable' than "Radio 7".




  • Comment number 50.

    If the BBC Trust is requiring the management to undertake an assessment of the changes to Radio 7, that is 4 Extra, on the listeners they will expect the management to take soundings from a range of places

    Feedback, Radio 4, was already off air before the move of 7 to 4 Extra, but if they receive a large number of comments during their break I expect they'll find it extremly difficult to resist reporting on listener's reactions to the new station early in the show's next run, and they'll probabily wish to interview relevent parties within the BBC about what's been happening.

    Feedback's contact page is: http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/feedback/contact/

    If you email them they will receive your comments, but if you leave a message on their answerphone you'll be far more likely to have your views aired on the programme.

    It would be reasonable that a report on 'Feedback' about the audience's reaction to 4 Extra should be part of the management's assessment and also be something that the Trust would get to hear about directly.

  • Comment number 51.

    "The Archers and Desert Island Discs are very popular strands, so we decided to build on these strengths to attract Radio 4 listeners (many of whom were/are unaware of the existence of Radio 7)."

    And your point is??? and why re-runs of Mark Lawson and and and .......!

  • Comment number 52.

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

  • Comment number 53.

    I hope to find time over the weekend to go to the published documents Russ mentions in his posts ## 31, 32 and 33, but in the meantime:

    Womans Hour Drama
    I believe Mary refers to the popularity of the omnibus edition of WHD and uses that as a reason for putting it in the 4X schedule. Someone will correct me if I am wrong but since when has the omnibus edition of WHD been a regular feature on R4? It was done when a History of the World in 100 objects filled the 7:15 slot but wasn’t that just a one-off? It may have been a popular as a way of replacing the nightly repeats but it seems to me to be a bit cheeky to use that as a justification for broadcasting it the next week on 4X when it has already been on twice on R4 the week before and it is probably still on the iPlayer.

    If there is a limit of 15% on catch up programming why use some of that 15% allowance for a third airing of WHD?

    Drama generally

    There was a clear appetite amongst Radio 7 listeners for archive dramas. I know that in my case that is not because I don’t want to hear new drama - I do – it’s because I want to listen to longer dramas and you have to go back a while in order to be able to get them, outside the classic serials.

    It began as others have already said with the cutting of the afternoon play to 45 minutes. The demise of the Friday Play is another blow to longer one-off drama. That has cut down the supply of longer dramas and that’s probably the reason why so many listeners are cross at the axing of the 90 minute dramas from 4X.

    45 minutes simply isn’t long enough in most cases and often they are not really plays, more like extended short stories or in some recent cases series of extended short stories. It’s true that some writers can produce engrossing drama for radio for a 45 minute slot, (there have been some good recent examples) but only a few afternoon plays really involve me in the way I think a play should. I don’t blame the writers – I blame the BBC for putting such a time constraint on them so could the BBC give them a chance to show what they can do and start commissioning one hour dramas? Even then, I might still hanker after some of the older plays (some still stick in my memory even though I only heard them once many years ago) and I would still want plays from the archive to be revived but it would be good if we were able to mix that up with newer longer plays.


  • Comment number 54.

    the reality is any intelligent discerning radio listener is not the demographic the BBC wants. its obsessed with 'youf' and both radio 4 and 4 extra are seen as far too middle class and white so the bbc makes a useless gesture to extend its listnership conveniently forgetting it has radio stations that appeal to a youth audience and both a black and asian audience in radio one extra and the asian network. if the bbc is so desperate to give the archers to a wider world repeat it on radio 1, 1 extra and the asian network. the fact that 7's listenership is was possibly mainly white and dare i say middle aged is not a bad thing its just drama comedy based radio appeals to that audience its like saying sport radio doesnt attract non sport fans so radio 5 should broadcast front row instead of its endless inane phone ins. if the bbc thinks that it should be competing with jeremy kyle for its audience then stop pretending that its about anything other than that.

  • Comment number 55.

    Please all i want is my old radio 7 back it was great just as it was.

  • Comment number 56.


    I used to listen to BBC 7 from around 8.30 a.m until around 3p.m. Since the change to 4extra there might be just one program worth listening to during this period. I just can't be bothered to set a timer to remind me to switch stations for one program. 4 extra is now permanently OFF.

  • Comment number 57.

    With so many complaints, why can't the BBC be honest and admit their mistake. Respect is earned is it not.
    Listen to your listeners (and disapointed ex listeners)

  • Comment number 58.

    #14: "The introduction of repeats of R4 programmes so soon after the original is particularly annoying.I may be getting old but even my short term memory is not that bad! Programmes are already repeated on R4 and available on iplayer, why repeat them again and again?"

    I couldn't agree more. I've just turned off 4Extra (12.30pm, Weds) because "The Gobetweenies" has just come in. Now I quite enjoyed this when I heard it a few days ago on R4. But do I need a repeat this quickly? Hardly. I'll also be turning 4Extra off when the Comedy Club comes on air tonight, for exactly the same reason.

    Are there really any listeners who can receive 4Extra but can't hear R4, and so need repeats of programmes such as Down The Line, Gobetweenies, The Unbelievable Truth etc etc to be broadcast on a different channel? I used to be an avid listener of the noon-1pm R7 slot (if for no other reason than to avoid You & Yours) and of the Comedy Club: but no longer, because those slots now broadcast programmes which have been heard so recently on R4.

  • Comment number 59.

    I agree with all the previous comments which demonstrate the feelings of frustration felt at the powerlessness to effect a change of the collective mind of the BBC management. It's all the more galling when we are the poor saps who have to pay for it. I would be happy to pay for Radio 7 on demand if need be but really object to endless Radio 4 excerpts, spin-offs, repeats and mind eroding padding with pointless celeb interviews.

    As someone who listened to Radio 7 mainly at weekends and particularly for the Crime catchup, it does not help me to have the crime strand repeated only at 1am. I always thought that the Garrison Keiller programme was rubbish and always turned off when it came on; now it seems to have replaced the crime catchup which adds insult to injury for me.

    I am definitely losing patience with the BBC and will soon join the camp calling for it to lose its licence fee. No taxation without representation - and I didn't vote for this.



  • Comment number 60.

    I am very surprised that the BBC has been deprived on Life with the Lyons recording. There are many to be found on the Internet in many of the 'Old Time Radio' websites. I have over 80 and had no trouble finding them on the net!

    I am reserving judgment on 4Extra. Why are we being deprived on real Archive material rather than being served up with recent programmes. Plays produced these days, with few exceptions [in my opinion] are far too dependent on sentimentality. There must be hundreds of plays produced over the years.

    The problem is that the BBC's promises with Radio 7 and now 4Extra, has never really lived up to expectations.

  • Comment number 61.

    after reading the blog rather fabulous-the q1 rajars are in , this part means the end for us ,( And then there is Radio 7, now transformed into Radio 4 Extra. Weekly reach there too is a record 1.159 million. These record figures are in tune with the trend for radio which is something to celebrate but my personal view is that the greatest value they bring is to give all of us at Radio 4 the confidence to set them aside and concentrate on making the best programmes we can for our cherished and discerning audience.)
    this is Gwyneth Williams way of saying the dont need or want us . as i agree with her i no longer want or need radio 4 extra i havent listened for over 2 weeks now and find life going on without it there are plenty of alternatives out there and i am having fun finding them:)

  • Comment number 62.

    Hello, Mary. I am a listener from America. I am a bit behind at the moment, but can you tell me why everything shifted from BBC 7 to BBC 4Xtra?

  • Comment number 63.

    Dear caelether

    It's so that Radio 4 can use BBC 7 as a catch up service for their listeners.

    William.

  • Comment number 64.

    These are the first quarter RAJAR listening figures for Radio 4 and Radio 4 Extra. Isn't that for the first three months of 2011?

    BBC 7 didn't become Radio 4 Extra till April!

  • Comment number 65.

    re william
    you know that i know that but the bbc will use it to say look at how good radio 4 extra is .
    the part that made we think that we had lost is (our cherished and discerning audience) this meaning radio 4 listeners ,this only goes to enforce the ideas placed earlier here and in other blogs that 4extra is for a 4 audience not for ex 7 listeners

  • Comment number 66.

    I am amazed that so many people took the time to express their views. Three cheers for the brave R7 listeners!

    My husband wrote to the BBC Trust, during the consultation period, to plead for R7 to be left alone. For a while, I thought that they might actually do that because the audience figures were so good. I know. I am a hopeless optimist.

    It seems to me that the BBC originally intended to axe 6Music and the Asian Network, in order to cut costs. [It was under pressure from the Government but apparently never thought about reducing the salaries of big stars and "top brass" or cutting down on bureaucracy. Who would have thought it?]

    However, when this assault on the Young People With Their Electric Guitars, Long Hair Etc [to use official BBC term] and ethnic minorities [That's the Young People and ethnic minorities, who couldn't be bothered to listen to "their" stations.] was attempted, both networks mounted vigorous counter-offensives, mobilising some very influential people from the worlds of politics and pop music in their defence. The BBC Trust, terrified of being seen either as "unhip" or racist, surrendered without a fight.

    That still left a problem in the minds of senior BBC managers, however. Something had to be sacrficed, so that the retention of 6Music and the Asian Network could be justified. Step forward the most popular digital-only station, [FX/... Fanfare; Rustle of gold envelope]

    Radio 7!

    It has been sabotaged. Its listeners have deserted it in large numbers. Reviews of policy will allow the "Trust" [as inappropriate a word in the context of the "meejah" as it is in the NHS] to change its service requirements.

    Radio "Four X" [so called either because each member of the R4/R7 management team might as well have drunk nine pints of Castlemaine before the crucial meeting or because they don't give a xxxx about listeners- you decide] can then be filled up with not-quite-the-same versions of R4 "favourites". When the time is right, it will be shut down altogether.

    I honestly believe that BBC managers were embarrased by the success of Radio 7. Compared with some of the gems that appeared on the network, much of today's output (especially in the fields of comedy, drama and "talks") sounds very poor.

    There was one "post" from an erstwhile R7 listener, which seemed a little off target. Surely, if the BBC wanted to make R4 and R4X less middle class and less "white", it wouldn't be ramming the most "white" and "middle-class" programmes it makes down our throats at every opportunity!

    I doubt that senior managers or Trust members listen to the radio. They probably think that Desert Island Discs is about reggae or something and is, therefore, likely to attract more listeners of Afro-Caribbean origin. Next month's trails will go something like this.

    "Yo, man, dis Extra tis Radio Four wi' jam on it!"

    [I say! Will this do? Did we get the accent right? It ought to be enough to attract those coloured chappies we need for our audience figures. - Head of Wizard Ideas, Blytoncasting House.]

  • Comment number 67.

    This is the first time I have written on a blog but i am so disappointed with the new format for BBC 7 i feel the need to let my feelings known. I listened throughout the day and am frequently awake in the early hours and found listening to BBC 7 a great help I loved the dramas and crime and thriller hours. I really miss the morning drama at 10 00 am and do not want to listen to a repeat from Radio 4 which i only listened to the day before. Please bring back the old Radio 7.

  • Comment number 68.

    At the risk of sounding unpopularly positive, as a long-time overseas listener (aged a mere 38) to Radio 4 and Radio's Heaven via Listen Again and the iPlayer, the changes from R7 to 4X have struck me as being quite minimal. But then I never used to listen to the continuity announcers much anyway, perferring to save my bandwidth for the actual programs. I didn't listen continuously, but just picked and chose the programs that interested me.

    And what programs! I know people are missing some of their favourites, but good lord, look at what new goodies 4X have been bringing us: the long-lost Series 7 of I'm Sorry I'll Read That Again; restored episodes of Take It From Here; the promise of a whole bunch of "new" Life With The Lyons. (Although I question the theory that the BBC only had three Lyons episodes in their archives because they put four out on cassette many years ago!) I can understand that rusted-on R7 listeners might be disgruntled, but to me it's like manna from heaven!

    Let's have more of it. Can we have also have a complete restored run of Beyond Our Ken, please, now that the CD box sets seem to have died the death? How about a broader selection of Much Binding In The Marsh episodes? Or perhaps... no I must stop, or my wishlist could go on all day.

    My only minor complaint was that I was expecting the Now Show Extra and News Quiz Extra programs to be more like Have I Got A Bit More News For You or QI:XL, where the extra bits were edited into the body of the show. The current Extra versions feel a bit "bitty". But frankly if the best I can find to complain about is that a show isn't what I imagined it was going to be, then the fault is clearly with my imagination rather than your station. ;-)

    (Oh, and whenever I read or type 4X it makes me think of Doctor Who's Fendahl, but that's just my diseased brain again!)

  • Comment number 69.

    Chris tp post proves the point that most people have been making, radio 7 was a station that could be listened to all day 4extra is a buffet you pick what you want and leave the rest .
    As the bbc need you to only listen for 5 minuets per day to count you as a listener the figures can look good I sometimes use I player but with up to 5 minuets of either the programme before and announcements if you then dont like the show it is to late you have been counted,i have been guilty of adding to their figures by waiting for a programme to start then realising I have only recently heard it but to late even if I turn it off I have been counted,i would like to see the figures for people who listen for 6/8/10 hours per day as I used to when we had our beloved radio 7

  • Comment number 70.

    "Chris tp post proves the point that most people have been making, radio 7 was a station that could be listened to all day 4extra is a buffet you pick what you want and leave the rest."

    No, my point was that I treat 4X exactly the same as I used to treat R7 - to only pick and graze. Given the frequency of repeats during the day on R7 (off the top of my head, the classic comedy slots used to get three runs a day - 8am, 12pm and 7pm if I recall correctly), I'm not entirely sure that R7 was ever really programmed as a station you could listen to all day.

    Perhaps this marks me out as a sad-sack of epic proportions, but my approach to listening to BBC Radio is to go through the forward schedules for Radio 2, 4 and 7/4X, note down the programs I'm interested in, and listen to them all on the iPlayer during a leisurely weekend afternoon. But looking through the schedules, I don't think there's any BBC Radio station I'd leave on all day, not even the late lamented BBC's Heaven.

    (By the way, if you think you've got it rough with the changes at Aunty Beeb, come down here to the antipodes and try spending a few days listening to the ABC's radio output. They magnanimously give us a helping of classic BBC comedy once every day - at 5:30 in the morning!!! And it's not made available for streamed listening later.)

  • Comment number 71.

    The issue is whether we have a radio station or a vehicle for downloads.

    Radio 7 used to be a radio station that was enjoyable to listen to for hours on end; it is no longer that for many former listeners, including me. I have always checked the radio scehdules for the week ahead for things I want to hear - I am using the iPlayer more now and that just isn't what I want. It's also not what we used to have.

    I have to say that I do feel that the drama and readings output has improved after a shaky start (although I avoid Ambridge Extra) and the return of the Crime and Thrillers hour will remove another no-go area for me. That said I would still like 90 minute dramas and more of the older plays to be broadcast.

  • Comment number 72.

    I also feel that the drama and readings output has improved (so this isn't all bad!) - but why have the oddly scheduled DID on Monday at 1am and not Crime Hour? Why are Saturday and Sunday early morning slots (1am onwards) still so dire? Ideal spot for longer drama as it used to be.

    Also I am not able to move my PC or laptop everywhere with me - bathroom anyone? The delights of radio are convenience and portability. I have an Ipod but prefer listening without being encumbered by headphones while working around the home and office. Suppose I could get my iPod speakers out but yet more hassle.

    I am not a technological dinosaur by any description. When someone comes up with a portable digital radio which also lets me select and download whole batches of iPlayer radio programmes and stream them back easily and continously I will be first in the queue - if there is anything like that could someone tell me where I can get one?

    Until such a device is widely available at reasonable cost and made easy to use, the needs of digital radio only listeners who prefer scheduled listening for the reasons above or who may not be techno savvy (it's not a crime) or may have a disability which makes using a PC difficult or who just like a bit of serendipity in their listening, the main issue most definitely is "whether we have a radio station or a vehicle for downloads" as cats22 says.

    Great to have both (and we are very lucky in that respect so thanks BBC) but fixed scheduling is still the main way of listening for the majority I would think.

  • Comment number 73.

    Hello all,

    Just to let you know Mary's on Feedback today: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01130pv talking about 4 Extra. I'll be posting that section of the programme's audio on the blog later if you miss it.

    Cheers Paul

  • Comment number 74.

    Hello Mary Kalemkerian,
    I've just heard your spot on Feedback. I'm afraid you really did NOT respond to so many of the comments to this blog, with regard particularly to the near loss of 90-minute drama of which in my view, even Radio 7 could have featured more.

    Calling weekly compilations of the Womans' Hour serial, broadcasts and re-broadcasts of which are still ringing in the ears and follow-ons from the already well exposed 'Archers', with longer, REAL, plays is a mistake - and makes for a trivialisation of what was Radio 7.

    The apparent 'worship' of DESERT ISLAND DISCS, something from which Radio 7 provided an escape, seems to confirm 4extra's placing in the BBC's roster of radio stations, i.e. as nothing more than a Radio 4 'add-on'.

    Radio 7 at least had an IDENTITY. Not perfect (impossible!), it was no 'radio heaven', but often a haven.

  • Comment number 75.

    When are you going to do something about the 1am slot at weekends ? We used to have a play, now we get the dire Harrisin Keeler !

  • Comment number 76.

    Ah yes, Garrison Keillor. I don't wish to be unkind about him as he seems to be a very amiable and experienced broadcaster and there may be listeners who like his programmes but I am not one of them and I fail to understand 4 Extra's love affair with his programmes. The last time I looked (I now find I don't switch 4 Extra on on a Saturday as I don't want to risk catching the programme), he was on 3 times in the space of 24 hours on Saturday - why so many? Even for listeners who like the programme that's at least one repeat too many isn't it? The repeats seem to be around the time I used to be able to hear a play and in the cherished 1am slot.

    I do still feel that the drama and readings are improved and the 11pm Saturday slot is good. The real problem for me is still the rest of the day when there are the little bits of programmes such as Inheritance Tracks and the Front Row interview that really break up the flow of the station.

    I was surprised (although I probably shouldn't have been) when I heard one of the announcers say before the start of a reading that for those (I think she said younger) listeners with a short attention span, don't worry - these are all 15 minutes long. I realise one of the reasons for the changes is to attract younger listeners but doesn't that sort of comment insult younger listeners and alienate older listeners?


  • Comment number 77.

    Mljo you can get a pure evoke radio for £149 which you can use to listen again and also listen to many internet stations and any music you have on your pc. It's portable and if you get a power pack the batteries can be recharged when using the power cable.

  • Comment number 78.

    Great - I have finally realised I can log on and have my say about the shocking conversion of Radio 7 to 'Radio 4 Repeats' (oh sorry, Radio 4 Extra).I love Radio 4 and I loved Radio 7 because it was intelligent talk radio that was different from Radio 4. I even liked the Radio 7 childrens programming (unlike the patronising former offerings on Radio 4). I was also one of the night listeners who turned away when you changed the crime and thrillers schedule - thanks for fixing that. The only thing on Radio 7 that made me switch off completely was the classic comedy (of its time and now ultra boring). Add that to all the other feedback and what I heard on Feedback recently and I am led to believe that you did not actually know who was listening to Radio 7, how many of us there were and what we were enjoying. Radio 4 Extra just fails to hit the spot - I want to hear something different, not rehashed Radio 4. Despite using some former Radio 4 material, Radio 7 somehow pulled that off. Beyond an initial episode to check it out, I certainly don't want to hear the unappealing Archers Extra that - I gather from Mary Kalemkerian on Feedback - we will just have to keep on listening to because it was expensive to make and it has been commissioned for some time to come. I regret that my money was spent on it, but I'm not going to waste my time as well (unless Lizzie wakes from a bad dream on it and you bring Nigel Pargeter back of course). Radio 7 was a gem and the way to increase the listenership is to let people know that, not submit to some unrepresentative viewing figures and abandon it. The high level of repeats on Radio 7 within one day naturally reduced the listening hours per day, but we were there and we loved it. Please please bring it back before our patchy listening to the changeling substitute is taken as proof that Radio 4 Extra is all right. It isn't.

  • Comment number 79.

    Thanks very much MariaClaire! Should have done my research before I bought my (quite expensive) plain old digital radio.

    In my defence I didn't expect the BBC to do so such a good job of ruining a good radio channel!

  • Comment number 80.

    i dont know how to express my feelings towards the bbc , they tell us that radio7 had the largest listening figures of a digital radio station , but it wasnt enough they were concerned that it would be cancelled if the figures didnt go up , and the only way they could think of gaining more listeners was to destroy it totaly and call it radio 4 extra ? now after all the complaints from listeners they have had an idea why not advertise the rotten 4extra , why didnt they advertise radio 7 and keep the listeners they had and to make my feelings towards them worse i have just seen an advert on tv for 4 extra how much cash are they going to throw at this rubbish to try and make it popular , surely when the next figures come out unless they have at least double the radio7 listeners for the amount of money they have spent someone deserves to lose their job and i am sad to say this but i really hope they do

  • Comment number 81.

    Mljo my pleasure, it can be a bit tempermental at times but you can carry it about with you which is what I do, agree about the ruining of a good radio station. I rarely listen live to 4X but do listen again to the crime and thrillers. Too much comedy and chat on 4X, it's driven me away and I used to listen all morning. What happens of course is that because I'm not listening live I've lost touch with what's coming up (despite the endless ads which are usually for programmes I'm not interested in hearing) so just don't tune in anymore.

  • Comment number 82.

    "I've lost touch with what's coming up (despite the endless ads which are usually for programmes I'm not interested in hearing) so just don't tune in anymore."

    MariaClaire: Yes, me too. I no longer tune in to this dull station or know what might be on. The more trailers, plugs and references to it are slipped into R4 the less inclined I feel to investigate.

  • Comment number 83.

    I don't honestly know why I bother to add to the massive number of complaints, other than to hope than one day someone at the BBC will take on board the views of listeners.

    That the BBC doesn't listen to complaints that it is overrun by 'Top Executives' or that it has a strong left wing bias, is indicative of the fact that its employees, who are supposed to be 'public servants', care not a jot as to what the paying public think.

    When BBC7 was first mooted I must have been one of the first to offer praise and I expected all sorts of goodies to be offered from the archive. We soon learned that the hype would be just that because it seems, plays etc have either been lost or are subject to copyright issues - well you can't help the latter but the former is a disgrace. Neverthless, there were many surprises to be had for the listening on BBC7. Then came the alleged listener consultation which I and many others, completed though for my own part I knew that this was a PR exercise and that the BBC would decide what was best for listeners and would then provide statistics to support its case for these changes. Well, we all know the saying: 'lies, damned lies and statistics'.

    I am so disappointed with 4Extra but even more disappointed by the cavalier attitude of the head of this station.

    As for the trailers.............................!

  • Comment number 84.

    I see the Beeb are desperately resorting to advertising radio 4 extra on BBC TV! I can only assume that the listeners are dropping off like dead flies, and are desperately trying to attract new listeners, having lost the old radio 7 ones. Me included.

  • Comment number 85.

    Just like to add my voice to support the sentiments expressed above. The soul & identity of bbc 7 are greatly missed. While I still listen from time to time, the appearance of DID or The Archers always make be turn off. How refreshing would it be for someone at the beeb to hold their hand up and say, "You know, we really got this wrong. Sorry"

  • Comment number 86.

    It's been nearly three months and I am still finding I don't feel inclined to have 4 extra on for hours on end. That does mean that I don't mind the trailers because they can alert me to things I might otherwise miss (despite a careful reading of the Radio Times) so I hope they are drawing other listeners over.

    I do feel that the drama and readings output has improved and I applaud the repeats of old classic serials. There are, however, still programmes and sections dotted through the day which destroy the mood, just when it begins to feel like our beloved radio 7 such as the Front Row interview and What's so Funny. Desert Island Discs ought to have been ideal for 4 Extra but it doesn't work for me and it's still irritating that one slot is taken up with a repeat of the Woman's Hour Drama from just the week before.

    Still, there is some good news - Ambridge Extra is coming up for its "summer break", the Garrison Keillor radio show also seems to be taking a break and Crime and Thrillers are back at 1am. The new announcers are also increasingly getting the right tone, that is not so intrusive. Books at Beachtime is also a good initiative.

    So for my taste it's getting there after a very shaky start and I want to encourage the BBC to carry on trying and not to give it up as a bad job.

  • Comment number 87.

    Sometime ago my sister encouraged me to buy a digital radio. I started to listen to BBC Radio 7 and thoroughly enjoyed it. The old dramas, the beautiful voices of the female presenters and the comedy. Suddenly, the BBC feels the need to change things; why, why, why? I no longer listen to 4 Extra and rarely now to Radio 4 - there's simply no enjoyment. Would somebody please put me in charge of the programmes schedule for just six months? I promise to turn around your listening figures within that timescale. Believe your Radio 7 audience when they tell you what they want to hear and don't assume to know. I sincerely hope that listeners who don't want to listen to the mundane programmes on 4 Extra, switch off! That's the only way the BBC will listen to us, their audience.

  • Comment number 88.



    What are you doing to Radio4extra?!

    Three examples of madness hidden in the digital schedules:

    Meet David Sedaris: Series 2 first run on 4extra not Radio4 as any normal listener would expect. Meanwhile the repeats of series 1 are to be found on Radio4! Why?

    Dad's Army: First 13 episodes of radio series 1 broadcast (of 20) and then with no reason it has been taken off.

    Ambridge Extra: Great spin-off of a very long running radio soap. Broadcast as two episodes a week for three months and then just ends!

    Your plan (if any) is very frustrating for the listeners (if any) who were better off with Radio7.

  • Comment number 89.

    4 Extra is dreadfull! We have lost a lot of comedy (despite BBC claiming the opposite). After all, we used to have seperate comedy playing on Radio 4 and Radio 7, but now we get almost immediate repeats from 4 to 4extra. Listener choice has been reduced.

    I no longer have my radio on for hours as I once did, and positively avoid all the Dessert Island Discs (if I had wanted to listen to that I would have tuned into Radio 4 in the first place).

    As for the presenters... well! The Radio 4 presenters don't have the right approach whilst voicing the links, and the proliferation of inane drivveling interviews as time fillers drive me to distraction.

    For goodness sake, listen to your audience and sort it out!! But the cynical side of me says you won't, that when you can produce figures to show audience share has dropped dramatically you can then close it with a clear mind.

    You took your digital jewel (Radio 7) and swapped it for a stone.

  • Comment number 90.

    the other change that irritates me is that there is to much talking programmes like 'what is so funny with marcus hound' not funny laughing at himself all the time, repeats of loose ends.... arrrrrggggghhhhh
    and what about the crime hour and science fiction hour, could we have something new rather the continued repeats along with much of the comedy. At least with the comedy some of it bears repeat as you can laugh again but if you have heard the crime and science fiction 6 times already on radio 7 then they don't really benefit from even more repeats along with the repeats of the likes of the Now show days after they have already been on radio 4 twice, what is that about. most people can listen to the repeats on the i player.

  • Comment number 91.

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

  • Comment number 92.

    I did not read the removed post, but how about this for an idea... instead of removing posts, why not address the flaming issue?

  • Comment number 93.

    Like many of the contributors here (I suspect), I took part in the consultation process. It was clear then that the Radio 7 re-branding was going to go ahead no matter what. I was previously a dedicated Radio 4 + Radio 7 listener, switching between the two frequently—The Archers? Not to my taste; switch to 7; Navy Lark? Didn't like it when I heard it as a child, now it's dated rubbish; switch to 4.

    So, I've tried to be dispassionate and objective. I've given it time to settle in. It's still poor. I don't agree with the rationale behind the change, but even by that rationale, I don't understand the change(s).

    Enough has been said above about the content changes.

    One notable aspect of Radio 4 is the absence of inane station jingles so why populate Radio 4X with the most inane jingles before, after and often during every single continuity announcement? Perhaps that's the Extra.

    A second feature of Radio 4 has always been the announcers'/presenters' respect for listeners intelligence. Although I have my favourites and some I don't care for, even the worst are better by miles than other continuity announcers you can buy. Mel Giedroyc is the exception. I can't decide whether she thinks listeners are idiots or if maybe she is simply doing what she's been told to do, as there is a general shift away from the straight-forward announcements of Radio 7 to a "branded" drivel.

    Like so many here, I used to listen to Radio 7 for hours and simply tolerated those programmes that weren't to my personal taste or switched back to Radio 4. Now I switch off and I miss it terribly sometimes.

  • Comment number 94.

    I agree with your comments Washishu.
    Whose bright idea was it to have a comedian Mitch Benn to introduce the Seventh Dimension?
    Mitch Benn is fine on comedy programmes, but on SD he tries to be funny, by mocking classics, such as Journey Into Space, and it is highly irritating. I just can't listen to him doing it.
    This "branded drivel" also extends to other programmes. I have heard vintage crime being knocked for posh accents, and the names of characters in classic dramas mis pronounced. We also learn far more than we would ever want to about the opinions of these people
    These announcers don't do this kind of thing on Radio 4, but it seems as if they feel they have been let out of school and anything goes on 4Extra.
    Those of us who listened to Radio7 do not like being talked down to. Please tell them to stop. I have hesitantly come back to the station, but this is ruining it for me.

  • Comment number 95.

    I am not an old person, I am in my early 30's and I listened to Radio 7 since my oldest daughter was born back in 2006. I loved Radio 7 it was my constant companion the whole family would listen. I hate the new 4 extra. I was once an avid listener I would turn on the radio and turn off the TV now I do the opposite because I won't listen to Desert Island Poo as my daughter has dubbed it and the constant repeated pap they have imported from Radio 4.

    Radio 4 Extra you have lost three generations of listeners. My children have nothing to listen to anymore and I now borrow suitable listening CD and books from the library. My mum gave up. The is nothing for me to listen to as I cannot stand listening to the same programme repeated more than once a day, I am easy going listener I will listen to most things but there is nothing challenging nothing amusing and nothing wonderful anymore. With the amount of audio books available why is Harry Potter or Kathy Reichs, or Louise Rennisons books not on the Radio. Step up to the mark and allow the listeners to listen to good quality entertainment I hate having to change the station when Desert Island Poo starts. You are losing your audience you need to listen and not keep coming up with excuses or false the over 55's where the only people who listened to Cbbies on the radio my children are 5 and 2 and until you got rid of it they listened every day and where so disappointed that you cut it from the schedule.

 

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