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Mark Damazer Mark Damazer 12:55, Thursday, 12 February 2009

Several of you have raised the matter of repeats - and others trails.

I'll write about the vexed subject - and it is - of trails later this month.

I'll deal with repeats in this one.

Yes - we repeat a fair amount - about 19% of the schedule. It can feel like more - because if you strip out things that you couldn't repeat, like Today, PM, The World at One, news bulletins etc... it's higher. Some of this is pure economics. We simply can't make more programmes with the money we have. We have several ideas for new programmes/formats - but I can't afford to take out repeats and replace them with these news ideas. We'd go broke.

It has got a little more difficult in recent years - but we have always repeated a range of programmes and I do not believe that things are very different now - a little, but not much.

But it's not all about economics. Take the recent move (and re-branding) of Archive on 4 (The Archive Hour as was). This format/title, now ten years old, was very often one of the best things we did all week. It was going out only on a Saturday night at 8 pm to an audience of between 300,000 and 400,000. (That's the number who listen to at least a portion of it - not necessarily all of it).

Now it gets a slightly shorter transmission, 45 minutes, at 3 pm on a Monday afternoon. The total audience for something of quality has more than doubled as a result. Thus this week's fascinating programme on the burning of The Satanic Verses and the fatwa against Rushdie is heard by far more people. That's a good thing.

Bad - if you miss the reading that was once there at 3.30 - but on balance, and keeping in mind the economics, a decent trade.

For heavy listeners - it can be wearying. But there is not much overlap between the two Archive on 4 slots and although I wish everyone would listen to R4 most of the time - not everyone does. Some people listen lightly - so well-placed repeats are a boon for many - and a pain for some.


  • Comment number 1.

    I should perhaps confess that I am a very light listener to BBC Radio 4, Mark. I prefer to listen to BBC Radio 3 in general, although the advantage, if there is one, is that I am very specific in what I listen to on 4, and I will listen with full attention. The issue of repeats therefore does not bother me in the slightest.

    I understand the economics of the situation. The bigger your budget, the fewer the repeats. As the BBC is constrained, your budget is under pressure. In all likelihood, therefore, we shall see more repeats on BBC Radio 4, and elsewhere on the BBC over coming years.

    In terms of what you choose to repeat, and what you choose not to repeat, this decision is, in my opinion, a tough call. I would say that some of the very best broadcasts get relatively small audiences, and it would be good if more listeners had the opportunity to listen. Of course, Mark, as a Controller, you cannot ultimately control what listeners will tune into, but I would say that if you feel that something merits a wider audience, you ought to try and give it a wider audience. Cheers (dinner)! c.

  • Comment number 2.

    There's repeats and there's repeats isn't there?

    I'm coming to the conclusion that I may be an unusual Radio 4 listener. For many, it is on foreground or background for much of the day, attention waxing and waning according to inclination. I on the other hand scour the Radio 4 (and cast an eye over R3 and BBC7) schedules and do much of my selective listening in LA mode. Thus I have a different take on the whole matter of repeats. You, understandably, come from the view of trying to juggle a weekly schedule to a predominantly live audience and who still outnumber the 'connecteds' by a large factor. Fair enough. It won't always be that way though. How much longer will the live audience outnumber the non-live audience? Ten years? Five? How rapid is that change, and the change to an audience who can switch between live and non-live modes?

    Some of the better plays seem to be on a 2-year (approx) repeat cycle. Again, no objection in principle, but why is it we rarely get older gems? Is it because such material hasn't been digitised or that the attention span of the producers can't hack it? Radio 4 has one of the greatest sound archives in the universe; great plays, great documentaries, great interviews, and no doubt great other things as well. BBC7 carries only a particular slice of this archive.

    Use that archive. Use it and start to plug it into iPlayer. There's a whole new mini-channel for you, and it won't cost you a penny. (Well, not many.)

    And there you were telling us you are trying to save money. No such luck, matey. We want more, not less.


    P.S. Yes, this week's Archive on 4 was very good.

    P.P.S. Us plebs don't get to see any audience figures for specific programmes, and often waste time arguing about such things and whether they might amount to anything meaningful even if we did know them. Having let the cat out of the bag though, how's about you putting us out of our misery and giving a few more numbers?

  • Comment number 3.

    I would agree with Russ here, Mark. There is no reason, in my view, why you should not be totally transparent about audience numbers for specific programmes on BBC Radio 4. It would certainly make a refreshing change for the BBC.

    Russ is also right to highlight the glories of the archive which the BBC, and BBC Radio 4 in particular, has available to it. As your budget is obviously under pressure, Mark, a more imaginative use of the archive would be an obvious route forward.

    Of course, as discerning listeners, we also want new 'stuff' as well, but broadcasting, in my view, has been an experiment. You put something out there, and you see whether it works.

    As for the digital revolution (etc.), well, here you are, Mark, engaging with your (potential) audience online. Cheers (morning coffee)!


  • Comment number 4.

    Mr Damazer sir, would you be in the market place for a suggestion for an afternoon play repeat ?

    I can't remember the title but know it was a play about a bowls club and one elderly couple's attempts to swing a win at the tournament.

  • Comment number 5.

    I do listen to Radio 4 from dawn til dusk so I am very conscious of repeats. But this is to be expected... those robbed of the luxury of regular access to your excellent programmes are entitled to catch-up!. I do switch to BBC7 whose schedule is repeated during the course of the day. As I choose not to watch television, radio is my main staple for entertainment and current affairs so I listen around the repeats and use the listen again facility for programmes I have missed. As most of the popular repeats are of such good entertainment value it is often enjoyable to hear them again.

  • Comment number 6.

    I am a massive Radio 4 fan, and it would be my choice of luxury if I was cast onto the desert island.

    Which brings me to my point. I appreciate that Desert Island Discs cannot be repeated on Listen Again because of music copyright regulations. But please consider posting a verbatim text of the interviews on the DID website. Even without the music, this would make such interesting reading. And would be some compensation for missing the actual broadcasts.

    And both the first broadcast and the repeat of DID are both morning timings, which I cannot always catch. Could not one of the two slots be in the afternoon or evening. Usually, regular programme repeats are at noticeably different times of the day.

    Finally, can the Listen Again for In Our Time please offer the full 45 minute broadcast, and not the shortened evening repeats, which only give us 30 minutes of the original.

  • Comment number 7.

    ronsands: thanks.
    The complete 45min versions of In our time from the current series are all available to listen at

    Previous series can be browsed at
    and are also all available to listen in their full versions.

    or subscribe to the podcast

    (Jem Stone - host)

  • Comment number 8.

    A simple comment from a new contributor - There is a schedule to fill and a budget to operate within so reasonable repetition of programming is justifiable and the good programmes are very often worth hearing again

    But when it comes to the bad programmes, well they should not go out in the first place. I am a particular fan of radio comedy and regularly listen to the 6.30pm slot and recently have started to experience a sinking feeling when one of these poorer programmes comes on having two reasons to feel glum:
    1/ I am trapped in the car on the way home and such a slave to the timeslot that I wont listen to another radio channel preferring instead to rant at whoever commissioned the programme in the first place and
    2/ I am going to hear this programme repeated again some time in the future while I am trapped in the car and such a slave to the timeslot that etc etc.

    Quality output can withstand repetition.

  • Comment number 9.

    I see a problem here, FourbetterthanFive, particular with something like comedy. Humour varies so much! I sometimes find myself laughing at the wrong moments, for example, and often sit stony faced, when everyone else is rolling around laughing on the floor.

    Of course, we all have different sensitivities, and what one person finds funny, someone else might boring and a third person might find deeply offensive. Humour often lies on the edge of what is socially acceptable. In terms of measuring the quality of programmes, particularly comedy programmes, it can, therefore be extremely tricky.

    The same arguments can be applied to aesthetics in general. If we were all to walk around an art gallery, for example, I would be most surprised if anyone preferred precisely the same paintings as kleines c.


  • Comment number 10.

    sad that the bbc's radio 4 broadcasts are partially restricted by lact of funds. Why not stop this continual 'Americanisation' of the bbc-radio and tv. At the drop of a hat and needlessly Americans crop up on programmes, British broadcasters for british programmes-as the Pm would say. Transmissions from the USA must cost you more than. domestic transmissions-and at the same time contaminate our native language with American jargon

  • Comment number 11.

    Reply to kleines c 12.35 am comments. I totally agree, everyones tastes are different and no comedy programme is likely to/nor should it appeal to everyone. Indeed the opposite should be true and we should expect a broad spectrum of prorammes from m.o.r to cutting edge so that all tastes are catered for.

    However whatever the type of programme there has to still be a minimum quality and that standard is evidently not there in some cases. Personal taste here I know but I cite Rudys(?) Rare Records as an example of a programme that utterly failed a minimum quality performance standard. What tests did that programme have to pass to make it to the airwaves?

    To paraphrase; good programmes should: make most people smile some of the time, some people smile most of the time and on no account should anyone never smile once at all throughout a whole programme/series.

    In the context of this debate good quaility programming withstands/deserves repetition - bad quality should not be made in the first place.

  • Comment number 12.

    About Desert Island discs. I think it is a silly argument to say because of music copyright.
    Woman's Hour for example, prepare a digest of all the hour and sometimes we can listen at least 30 minutes.
    Other programs I listen in different radios do the same, take music off and only give the interview.
    I liked DID but because of the difficult hour you transmit (9 and 11 am I think) I just cannot listen at it. I work mornings!!! if at least you transmitted once in the morning and another in the evening it would be nice.
    For the repeating of programs, I rarely note that, I listen a lot radio 4 but I do it by internet or in the afternoons.
    I think a lot of people do the same, I want to say, it is rare someone is listening all long day.

  • Comment number 13.

    "Because Plomley was a freelance, Desert Island Discs became his copyright. After his death in 1985 it went to his wife, Diana Wong. She still owns it but is now in her eighties and their daughter, Almond, acts for her.

    Mother and daughter and the BBC agree to have Plomley mentioned in the credits and the corporation pays Diana an annual sum (£5,000 in 1996). However, the family and the BBC cannot agree a payment to make the programme available after the broadcast. This is why it is not available via the BBC’s website."



  • Comment number 14.

    Re: Archive (hour) on 4, I don't object to the repeat but I do object to it being a shortened repeat. You might get away with editting In Our Time from the live broadcast, as there might be a certain amount of um-er-ah that can be cut, but in a pre-recorded programme like the Archive, you're just short-changing those who only hear the "repeat".

    If you're going to repeat Archive, do it justice and have the repeat the same as the original -- ditto In our Time, come to that.

    Veering off-station, the same applies to Radio 7's Garrison Keillor show -- I've abandoned this in favour of the original two-hour Prairie Home Companion avaiilable on RTE Choice and numerous US stations on the Internet.

  • Comment number 15.

    Hi all, I listen to Radio 4 on line and in the car, so hear much of the content and I accept that budget restraints cause problems and repeats, by and large I don't have a problem with them. However some of the so called "comedy" programmes cause even me to switch off. Whilst I am here - why is it that I can only get two weak radio frequencies for R 4 on my car but R 1 pours out at huge strength and from many more frequencies. I listen on FM mainly in Central Scotland.

  • Comment number 16.

    The Daily Mail wrote a story/republished a large part of this blog post
    over the weekend.

    They also use quotes from a number of users' comments on this post (and some of Mark's earlier posts).

  • Comment number 17.

    It's interesting to see that 'The Mail' does not know how to use apostrophes in your link, Jem. Of course, this does not reflect on the intelligence of Mail journalists, or readers, but perhaps they ought to listen to BBC Radio 4 Repeats a bit more often.

    In terms of ratings, of course, Radio 4 is doing pretty well, even with 19% repeats. I dare say that the judicious use of repeats could raise your ratings even further, Mark, although it is a good idea, in my view, to offer something new as well.

    What to repeat, and what to do new, is a tricky question, particularly with increasing budgetary constraints across the BBC, and elsewhere, including 'The Mail'. I think that if something is worth doing, it is generally worth doing well. Who knows what is worth doing?

  • Comment number 18.

    Will you puuuuhhhleeeeaaazzzzeeeee stop allowing these whingers to hijack what is, after all, a very sensible opportunity to listen to 'Desert Island Discs' on a Sunday if one has missed it earlier in the week.

    There may be some saddoes who have no life and therefore consider it a fate worse than death to have to listen to 'Start the Week' for a second time.

    Perhaps you could suggest to these people that 'alternative forms of entertainment are available'. They could try...

    * Walking the dog
    * Popping down the pub
    * Visiting their local park.

    Trails are a pain in the @r$e, but how else would one find out about a particularly important 'File on Four' or indeed 'Weekend Woman's Hour' with Sharon Shoesmith ?

  • Comment number 19.

    I want the BBC to go on repeating programs. Ones like 'Just a Minute' and 'The News Quizz' really lift my spirits. It is not always possible to tune in at the program time and sometimes it is fun to hear a program again. The two above are a perfect example.

  • Comment number 20.

    I listen to radio 4 most of the day nearly every day so it comes as no surprise that I do often find myself listening to repeats. And I also listen to long wave which is interupted by the cricket so I do welcome repeats however for example the afternoon play, Friday or Saturday play are not repeated why not? Also Any Questions is repeated on Saturday which is a longer programme than Any Answers which seems absurd. rather than repeat any Questions have a longer time slot for Any Answers as John Humpries cuts up and cuts off the last few callers each week to get a varied view in what is such a short programme.

  • Comment number 21.

    For those of you following the coverage of this blog post via the press then The Telegraph have published a similar piece to the Mail here:

  • Comment number 22.

    Good point above re Dessert Island Discs. It would be one of my favourite programmes (I've got over the loss of Sue Lawley now..... I think) if only it could be repeated in an afternoon or evening. You get a side of the interviewees you never see (or hear) anywhere else. Fridays and Sundays are the busiest mornings so tuning in is the last thing I ever think of. Aside from that though if putting repeats on means the quality of other programmes is kept up - I can only see that as a good thing. And some things - especially some of the better plays demand repeats anyway. When a repeat comes on live radio I switch to the iplayer anyway and find things I've missed.

  • Comment number 23.

    Out of interest, Jem, is part of your role to monitor press coverage of BBC Radio 4? Of course, the BBC is part of the British media, so it is interesting to see how it relates to 'Fleet Street', so to speak, and also to other broadcasters in Britain and around the world.

    Perhaps Mark could write something about how he feels that BBC Radio 4 is portrayed by the media, and whether he feels that that portrayal is fair. As a listener, for example, I often look at various radio guides and reviews to see what is worth tuning into on Radio 4, so there is an obvious symbiotic relationship within the media. The BBC is not generally best placed to offer a critique of BBC programmes.

    Traditionally, the BBC is often seen as a bit to the left of Fleet Street, politically speaking, but I see this as a bit of an oversimplification. BBC journalists are perhaps under slightly different organisational pressures, and this is inevitably going to be reflected in broadcasts.

  • Comment number 24.

    As I work full time I appreciate the repeats in the evening.

    I do think some of the plays are reapeated too quickly. I can often remember them clearly.

  • Comment number 25.

    I don't mean to be (over)facetious, but isn't the question of too many repeats one of the most frequent repeats in any discussion of the Beeb?

    If iplayer could last longer than 7 days, and possibly not use up too many permitted gigabytes, there would be no need for repeats.

    Of course, that then brings in your problem of dead air to fill versus budget. Time to get inventive, Auntie?

  • Comment number 26.

    "Which brings me to my point. I appreciate that Desert Island Discs cannot be repeated on Listen Again because of music copyright regulations."

    Mark, you should bang some heads together on this - because one suspects we are not far away from the time when someone with more technical nous than I starts illegally uploading pirate copies of 'Desert Island Discs' onto the YouTube platform - along with a accompanying video of a relaxing seaside screensaver.

    It is not as though the 'whole records' are played, although I do sympathise with the trustees of the Plomley heritage wanting to maintain control over his gift to us.

  • Comment number 27.

    I have become a blogger simply to reinforce the pleas for more Desert Island Discs. I have long wished for more repeats, written transcripts, more convenient scheduling. Sunday mornings can be very tense in my household when I have to remind my family that this is the ONE opportunity I (and many other workers) have to listen to the programme. Yes, we are grateful to Roy Plomley for coming up with the original idea but Kirsty Young has made it her own and deserves a better airing. Less Archers and more DIDs please.

  • Comment number 28.

    @23 re whether Jem monitors the media about coverage of the BBC - I bet there's a big database of every news story from the papers, probably from scanning in the papers, if not monitoring with some service such as www.newsnow.co.uk with BBC as a keyword.

    I doubt Jem needs to do more than enter 'radio 4' to get hundreds of items, but then filtering or sorted by date, would easily see new items.

    I think the Telegraph article was pretty much a crib of the Mail, and puzzled me as both claimed that different listeners had been responsible for the comments - clearly neither journalist noted the author's name (singular) and seems doubtful the second (if they had researched the piece independently) would have made the same error :)

  • Comment number 29.

    @18 "There may be some saddoes who have no life and therefore consider it a fate worse than death to have to listen to 'Start the Week' for a second time."

    Maybe if you get to be elderly, or sick and bed-bound, you will consider yourself a 'saddoe' with no life, as you would cherish the opportunity to 'walk the dog' or 'go to the pub'

    I am not convinced that 21:30 - 22:00 is the best time to be 'going to the park' however, unless you are looking for 'action' (!!)

  • Comment number 30.

    Anon2009 - Fair point !!

    I see what you are getting at, and indeed I guess we will all end up in a situation at some time or another where we have limited choice on entertainment and will rely on the radio.

    But I feel strongly that Radio 4, or 'intelligent speech radio' in general should not simply be the preserve of a ghetto of older middle class white people - and Radio 4 does try hard to serve a diverse audience with catholic tastes.

    Although I do agree that it does seem to carry on the continual English obsession with 'class' which as a working class Welshman I find very baffling, and not a little out of date.

    Your point about the park is well made - but I guess what I'm driving at is that if one is older and not working, there is the choice to go to the park at nine, knowing that one can listen to 'Start the week' later on while curled up with a good book in the evening.

  • Comment number 31.

    I love Radio 4. Having (almost) the entire output available via iPlayer is a revelation.

  • Comment number 32.

    .......so to summarise the above. Very few complaints about repeats. Many more requests made to hear the good programmes again. Top of the list of output to be broadcast at more listener friendly times/repeated in full is DID. Anyone up for a petition - 4junkie?
    Mark - I would be interested to see your thoughts on the content of this blog.

  • Comment number 33.

    Does "Something Understood" REALLY need to be repeated? Or even broadcast?

    Wouldn't what is essentially empty space even when it is being broadcast be better dedicated to bringing back the Radio 4 UK Theme?

    Oh - don't "older middle class white people" DESERVE a channel of their very own? Yoofs and Effnix have dedicated channels - why can't we curmudgeons have ours?

    It's one reason why I'd "fight the good fight" to preserve the licence fee - we DESERVE to have other folks contribute to our entertainment and continued edification!

  • Comment number 34.

    'Does "Something Understood" REALLY need to be ... even broadcast?'

    I find it handy as a reminder. In the morning, that I've stayed up too late and should go to bed, or at night, to switch over to a commercial talk show as R4 will descend into the World Service fairly soon. Once in a while, I have heard part of the rogramme but invariably I switch over/off within 2 minutes.

    Seems some others consider it "interesting", but much like "Thought for the Day" (and those intrusions into late night music on R2 called "Pause for Thought"), I generally consider it "from a time gone by" and due for 'retirement'.

  • Comment number 35.

    Steady on, Anonymous2009!

    There once was a barren wasteland between the National Anthem (now THAT is an anachronism and a candidate for retirement if ever there were one) until the late-lamented UK Theme before a vigorous listener campaign resulted in the much better alternative of the World Service than .... nothingness (or more accurately the background hiss of microwave radiation left over from the birth of the Universe - but strangely something that monumental gets pretty boring after a while).

    There are some gems on the WS too, which should be candidates for inclusion - at pretty low cost - in the R4 schedule. That would eliminate the need for the ''space filling' repeats of soporific low-budget air-fill presented by folks-who-don't-really-fit-in-anywhere-any-more-but-to-whom-we-still-have-contractual-obligations* to be eliminated entirely.

    *I bet the Germans have just one word for that!

  • Comment number 36.

    'just one word for that' - I don't know, but it could be even longer in number of vowels and consonants if there is one...

    As for gems in the WS schedule, I seem to hear programmes (sometimes with the same name, sometimes another name) which already go out on R4. Do they get paid twice, once from licence fee for R4 playing, and once from Foreign Office funds for going out on WS, so production companies give them different names to help avoid confusion in BBC accounts about how they pay for a second copy?

  • Comment number 37.

    I'd like to suggest 6:30 in the evenings as a possible permanent slot for repeats. It's perfect for people coming in from work, and there's little, if anything, of merit on at that time - mostly adolescent musings by a few chums and cronies of Beeb high-ups.

    Naturally, this might pall after a while. But the BBC could in the meantime develop some original programmes to slot in when the repeats become wearisome.

    Perhaps some comedy shows?

  • Comment number 38.

    Some of the 18:30 content is already repeats, since some of the comedy has already been on in an 11:30 slot. However, while some (such as the previous poster) consider the material 'adolescent musings by chums and cronies', I for one enjoy the majority of content.

    Of course, not everything appeals, so I tend to switch over from Count Arthur, and don't listen to John Shuttleworth on BBC 7, but in all the output, I find a lot that I enjoy, from panel games to sketch shows.

    Unless you (imperialkestrel) voice what _you_ consider to be 'good' comedy, your suggestion (however clever you thought it when writing) falls a bit flat, in my view.

  • Comment number 39.

    You're not an American are you, Nonny09? They don't get irony either ..... which is what I take the content of #37 to be .....

    You have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find your price - and although quality has been variable over the years the 18.30 slot has been required listening for me since - oh - 1971.

  • Comment number 40.

    I am not American, and knew it was irony, but it still 'fell flat' as there is plenty of enjoyable (to me) comedy in the 18:30 slot, despite the detractors.

    But as I indicated, it's also difficult to know what classes as 'good' comedy (when someone else is being critical) without them spelling out what things they enjoy, unless you're a mindreader, of course :)

    I cannot claim such a lengthy period of listening because of being a student and then work committments, at least before the early 90s when I went self-employed, but find plenty to enjoy, albeit with some exceptions

    The exceptions include some repeats which are unclear in them having already been broadcast - so for example, a 'new series' of "Ed Readon's Week" might mean 'first playing in the 18L30 slot, previously heard at 11:30 a few weeks ago'

    It was for that reason I missed the second series of "The Castle" in the 11:30 slot, because when I happened to notice negative comments on the MBs, it did not 'click' it was a new series. Only when I heard an excerpt on "Feedback" was it clear that it was actually "new" !

  • Comment number 41.

    Ahh. Yes, but your complaint (which I endorse) seems to be more about the sophistry deployed in advertising programs (ooops - sorry - "trailing" them) rather than the repeating of them per se.

    The old "R" which use to signify "repeat" in listings seems more or less to have dissapeared now - or is, as you lament, more or less abused.

    Most of my viewing and listening is based around Freeview and my Topfield PVR which can be programmed in various sophisticated ways to take notice in descriptions of such things as "R" and "SL" to avoid (or select) particular versions of a programme.

    A little more honesty and completeness in program descriptions would be VERY helpful

    Oh, and completely OT since it refers to a visual medium - wouldn't you have thought in the "Day of the Red Button" that there would be a way of switching off the demented dwarf in the corner of "SL" transmissions?

    I'm going to have to watch Ep1 of the Victorians with this distracting twitching because I failed to record the "proper" transmission being completely confused about when it was going to be broadcast by the number of adverts, sorry, trails for it.

  • Comment number 42.

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

  • Comment number 43.

    @41 I have a host of questions and complaints about the random handling of repeats, and the variation of handling of 'trails' (or, more bluntly, 'adverts')

    There's also the question of whether some material gets into the news, whilst really being a disguised 'promo' for either TV or radio. It has been criticised via Feedback, yet still goes on... That "Lenny Henry does Othello" item was done to death in the week of it being on air, for example...

    I'd also love to hear more UK stories - like TV's old Nationwide show - and not just 'media' or 'arty' stories - for example is it really of high importance that scrapping Go 4 It should have made the 18:00 news?

    I have to question the regular news content - the name 'world' in the news programme name seems to imply tripping off to report from some far-flung destination, not always successfully (!), and sometimes I think the local correspondent might be quite 'miffed' that having put their life in the UK on hold for some period of time, built up a variety of trusted contacts to get the lowdown on local viewpoints and history of bitterness between factions, the London boys get some UK 'anchor' flown in to "steal their thunder" when a 'juicy' story breaks...

    Sure I know events outside the UK are important, but US elections, politicians in Africa, and so on, seem to get much too muchcoverage, in my view... this was the 'Home Service' but now seems more like CNN Worldwide...

    Anyway, hopefully MD will remember mentioning the matter of 'trails' and I can then properly query R4 handling...

    ([1], on whether some programmes seem to be left out of pre- broadcast mention - eg Click On.. or most anything Science related,

    [2], whether some items get overdone - Darwin series, 'CERN week', that Wikipedia programme a while back - with announcements for 8 days before it went out,
    [3], whether there's need to tell us the plot before a programme, and dumb down so they always, before and after, The Archers, tell us a chunk of the story coming up...

    I'm sure there's a lot more to cover!!)

  • Comment number 44.

    @41 sorry not sure what "SL" refers to - "R" is clearly for a repeat, but I've no clue what the other is meant to mean, so would welcome clarification.

    (apologies that this is off topic, however, there's no way on the BBC message system for one user to pass a 'private' message direct to another, so can only make a public comment such as this one!)

  • Comment number 45.

    @anonymous2009 I'm pretty sure that in this context 'SL' stands for 'Series Link' which is the facility that some digital video recorders have for recording a whole series automatically. The clever ones will ask you if you want to record the whole series or just one episode when you click record. Just to make things a little clearer, each recorder has its own name for this feature - and in some cases the term is a legally protected trademark!

    Steve Bowbrick, editor, Radio 4 blog

  • Comment number 46.

    Ah - thanks. I had Sky in the 90s and remember it being an option on their EPG for scheduling 'favourite' programmes... It's so long since I have bothered with TV that I had forgotten such things... But, 10 years after writing to the TV Licencing people I get junk mail every month or two and visits now and then (they leave their card to say 'we promised we'd call')...

    Still no TV, but even if they had a freephone / freepost method of contact, so it would cost me nothing to make contact (since they 'demand' I do so) I'd be unlikely to bother, since they make it clear they will still need to 'come and check' and unfortunately I don't have an electrified fence to stop them pressing the front door bell... They're really _that_ welcome to "inspect" (not at all, for anyone who needs clarity).

    I resent the suggestion that I'm an 'oddity' for not being one of the group who has a box in the corner, and indication that even if I tell them (again) that I have no need of one, I'm "guilty" of evasion until they have inspected my property. Is it any wonder letters are ignored. I also have no landline, so at least they cannot consider pestering by phone calls (I'd class that as a nuisance call, if they ever tried it).

    I'd willingly make some payment (as for many publicly supported radio stations in the USA) if there was a way, but any unexpected visitors can look down the barrel of my rifle as my form of 'welcome'.

  • Comment number 47.

    I don't often plan to listen to radio programmes so I like repeats! I accidentally caught and loved the 'Over the Rainbow' programme this morning and wish you could have it available for listening again for my teenage daughter.


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