Every so often at the World Service , our programmes are reviewed by our "peers" around the building. It was the turn of World Have Your Say this week and i thought i'd report back.
The two editions of the programme the review board focussed on were the EU enlargement special (the voices out of Bulgaria and Romania) and the one which featured Saddam's trial and the film "Jesus Camp", but the panel, who included heads of some of the language services, heads of sport and World Service Commissioners, were looking at the programme as a whole.
Over the hour and a half of the session, here's a sample of some of the things said , while David and i listened...
* "The programme is interesting and good.....but what's next? "
* "Ros and Anu show some nice touches..."
* "It's disorganised....it could be more so, it's one of the programme's strengths...."
* "The problem is that sometimes the audience aren't good journalists and don't ask the right questions..." (naturally i disagreed with that premise - the comment was made by one of the business managers here....)
* "Should the presenters get more involved? sometimes they stand back and let people talk too much..."
* "Are we really getting to the big issues around the world?"
* " We should hear more of the drama within the programme"
* "Is the agenda too western-influenced? "
* "There should be more banter between the presenter and the "2nd voice" "
* "You should get a more memorable phone number" (and apparently we will next year- at last).
The overall mood was positive and on more than one occasion people said it was hard to think the programme was only a year old. Believe you me i've been to a few of these review boards over the years and seen some programmes getting a real kicking. We got a good, constructive and encouraging result. They know we can and must improve (bad phone lines came up a few times) but believe that overall, the programme is unique and different. and enables people around the world to hear voices that don't always get airtime elsewhere.
So, thank you- for interacting with each other in the WHYS forum.
Oh, and by the way , on the subject of Anu ; she hasn't left for good. She'll be on the blog, you'll hear her on the radio, she'll be presenting WHYS from India in February and one day, she'll come back to WHYS as a regular presenter.Of course we'll miss her but won't miss the smell of her food (she has a penchant for eating fish while in our small, cramped office) or her endless gardening anecdotes. Honestly, i feel like i know every inch of her allotment.
And as for presenters....Ros will be live blogging the meeting today, he should be appearing in the entry above this one...