The Radio 4 Blog
It seems rather discourteous of us to leave you before the end of the election campaign, when several listeners are only just managing to restrain themselves from smashing their radios with frustration about some of the election coverage, particularly bad tempered interviews.
By the time we return I assume a government of sorts will have been formed, either a coalition or a minority one with pledges of support from smaller parties. One of the issues which will surface early will be the future of the BBC and the licence fee.
It is pretty clear that the latter will be frozen at best and that there will be a substantial public debate about what services should be cut. The Corporation and the incoming Government will likely be trying to offload the responsibility on each other for what should be chopped.
Once more the streets around Broadcasting House in London may be filled with polite but angry listeners whose favourite networks have been threatened with extinction.
Fortunately for the Corporation there have been wise heads around to stop prejudices turning into bad broadcasting policy. Just as William Whitelaw and...
Alan Davey has thousands of CDs and LPs. The new Controller of Radio 3 knows that in the digital world he has no need of them but he can’t bear to throw them out. Just to look at them gives him pleasure.
This does not sound like a man who is going to take a yard brush to his new network. Mind you, he would not be popular with the BBC Trust if he did. It said recently that :”we think that the priority for Radio 3 should be to increase choice for radio listeners by maximising its distinctiveness and minimising similarities with other stations”, by which they presumably mean Classic FM.
Mr Davey is a cheery soul who looks on the bright side and is obviously delighted with his appointment but there are causes for concern.
For a start the average age of his listeners is 58, older than the average for Radio 4. Then he has been given no extra money to spend on new initiatives to help him on his way, in fact the 5 per cent per cent cuts per annum continue.
The future is particularly uncertain.
After the Election the BBC’s Charter will be renewed, but on what terms is not clear, and the level of the licence fee is once more...
Does the BBC take its radio audiences for granted, because they are loyal and have nowhere else to go?
I raise the question because it has been raised with me by a number of listeners as a result of continuing problems with iPlayer radio. Three years ago on Feedback we discussed the problem of radio programmes made available on iPlayer after broadcast, sometimes cutting out before the end, leaving listeners frustrated, rather like readers of detective novels who come to the climax of the story only to find that the last, crucial, pages are missing.
Well the problem has recurred and this is how we dealt with it on this week’s programme.
To return to the larger question of whether BBC Radio is the poor sister of BBC TV; some senior radio figures think it is.
They point to the fact that whenever the Director General, or other senior managers, make speeches, there seem to be few mentions of radio, and often those are tagged on at the end. Some also say that radio has been cut to the bone, compared with TV, where failure is often rewarded by additional investment, and where audiences are often a fraction of those who...
25 years on, people are still talking about Laura Palmer. Writer and broadcaster Danny Leigh's documentary asks why Twin Peaks has had such a lasting influence.
At first glance, the mystery of Twin Peaks was cracked halfway through the show’s second series. After all, that was when the murder of high school prom queen Laura Palmer was solved and the guilty party unmasked. But the real mystery...
Who has the toughest job in the BBC during the election campaign?
A good case can be made for those who work on Radio 1’s Newsbeat. For a start young people are less likely to vote than the rest of the population, more likely to shrug their shoulders, less convinced that their votes matter.
Then there are the constraints of time. Radio 1 is still a music channel. Newsbeat usually has only 15 minutes in which to cram the day’s events. Explaining the deficit, in seconds not minutes, is some task.
On the other hand, young people are in some ways more accessible than older people like myself....
Writer, performer and broadcaster
AL Kennedy's new Radio 4 documentary - America's Gift to the World - tells the story of Alcoholics Anonymous and its methods, and asks whether AA is still the best 'cure' for addicts given new science and treatments. This is the background to the story, and how the making of the programme impacted on its presenter.
The initials AA are peripherally familiar to many, as is perhaps the name
Jim Naughtie presents Bookclub on BBC Radio 4
Let’s be blunt. Not every poet, however talented, can write a decent novel. So Adam Foulds is remarkable: he has achieved mastery of both forms, above all perhaps with his outstanding work, The Quickening Maze. This is not simply a novel that works; it’s a marvellous fusion of his poetic gifts and the natural...
This week’s Prime Minister’s Question Time was the most exciting of this Parliament and I had the good fortune to be in the BBC Westminster newsroom on Wednesday while it was going on. I listened eagerly to the immediate political analysis of the Corporation’s keenest political brains as they worked out how to develop the stories that resulted.
It was like watching speed chess. OK I was inside the Westminster bubble but it was immensely impressive. Most of the big broadcasting beasts were there, Andrew Neill, dressed as...
I first went to Moscow in 1977, just before the Cold War got even colder.
I was making a film for the BBC about the Soviet military build-up. A few days before, I had been underground in the United States, at the headquarters of Strategic Air Command in Omaha, Nebraska, being shown what the US targets in Russia would be in the event of nuclear war.
In Moscow on May Day, I stood below the Lenin...
Commissioning Editor, Radio 4 & 4 Extra
Frankly Speaking was considered 'risky' and 'unkempt' when it originally aired in the 1950s. Now, as Radio 4 Extra rebroadcasts a selection of high profile interviews from the series, Caroline Raphael sheds light on an archive jewel …
Frankly Speaking, which starts on Tuesday 17th March at 6.30pm.
The interview as a genre courses through modern broadcasting. Morning punch ups to late...