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Mary Kalemkerian Mary Kalemkerian 17:02, Friday, 1 April 2011

George Bernard Shaw at a microphone in 1931

After we bid a fond farewell to BBC Radio 7 after over 8 years on-air - what a delight to be able instead to welcome you to the world of BBC Radio 4 Extra.

Whether you're a newbie or one of our loyal band of followers - I can promise you plenty to enjoy in our new schedule, which kicks off tomorrow at 6am.

In keeping with the joys of spring, and the romance of weddings in the air, we are delivering the traditional 'Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue' in our new line-up for the rebranded digital radio station.

For Something Old, Radio 4 Extra will open with a 90' production of George Bernard Shaw's Arms and the Man, starring Andrew Sachs and directed in 1984 by former Head of BBC Radio Drama, John Tydeman.

John e-mailed us with the following message:

Seven was Heaven! Since the same team are now scheduling Extra, I have every hope that it too will be something Extra good! There's a gold-mine to be mined of nuggets from the BBC's speech archive, and all programmes in the archive are there because of excellence or because they are of exceptional interest. Gold does not tarnish and often grows in value with age. Listeners are sure to be in for a rich experience for many years to come

Very well expressed, John.

For Something New, we have commissioned new children's dramas, beginning with Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, a family friendly magazine series, The Four O' Clock Show and an excellent archive drama new to the network, Fortunes of War. There's also plenty of new comedy, including a comedy magazine What's So Funny? presented by Rufus Hound.

Something Borrowed: well, the bulk of our programmes are already borrowed from the archive, but for 4 Extra, in addition to 'borrowing' Desert Island Discs and Ambridge from our sister station Radio 4, we've also borrowed some of the Radio 4 announcers to present some of our programmes. Alan, Kathy, Neil, Rory and Susan Alan and will be joining our presentation team over the coming weeks.

Something Blue? - certainly not our comedy, classic or contemporary! But blue is the colour of the Radio 4 logo, and we've moved a shade away from blue to the lovely, warm colour purple for Radio 4 Extra, as you can see on our website.

If we've managed to tempt you - BBC Radio 4 Extra is available to enjoy on digital radio, digital television and online.

Mary Kalemkerian is Head of Programmes at BBC Radio 4 Extra

  • The picture, from the BBC picture archive, shows George Bernard Shaw at the microphone in 1931. John Tydeman's production of Shaw's Arms and the Man opens broadcasting for 4 Extra tomorrow morning at 0600.
  • These words are from Mary's hugely popular weekly newsletter. Sign up to have it delivered to your email inbox free of charge here.


  • Comment number 1.

    What is the address of the Windows Media stream for Radio 4 Extra? I assume it is some variation of http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio/listen/live/r4.asx but there are all sorts of spelling and capitalization possibilities.

  • Comment number 2.

    I haven't seen much about what happened to those presenters that didn't move from Radio 7 to 4 Extra. My favorite, all-time host has been Michaela Saunders. To me she "was" BBC Radio 7! Being American, I appreciated her fairly "neutral" British accent and her articulate, well inflected and sometimes wry humorous presentations. Her interview with Peter Coke was marvelous.

    I thought it was a mistake when the station moved to using a single presenter for a whole day rather than for a particular time block every weekday. My favorite programs were the Crime and Thrillers which Michaela used to do.

    I would encourage you to consider adding Michaela Saunders to Radio 4 Extra's team of presenters. Of course, she may have other commitments that make that impossible, but a comment on her situation would be appreciated. I found Michaela's Linked In profile and it appears she's working at BBCHD.

    I also enjoyed the other women who seem left out - Penny Haslam and Helen Aitken - who will be sorely missed. Comment on their situation would be appreciated.

    Richard Bertrand
    Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA

  • Comment number 3.

    Dears Sirs,
    has nobody ever told you that HTML in email is rude? When HTML was invented the email already was twenty years old and it took users only a very short time to reach the consensus of banning HTML in polite company. I was and am subscibed to the plain text newsletter and I expect it to stay that way. There was a time, long ago, when British people were famed for their impeccable manners. Nowadays it seems only the most ill mannered and boorish make it to become roll models.
    Your long listener
    Axel Berger

  • Comment number 4.

    As I feared the Radio 4 Extra schedule is not as good as Radio &. Where is the full-length drama on Saturday & Sunday early afternoons? Where the 10 o'clock daily serial. Must we have so much "Just a Minute"?

  • Comment number 5.

    Some of the radio 4 extra programs sound interesting - any chance of making sure we can all receive DAB programs so we can try it out??

  • Comment number 6.

    Richard Bertrand, I so agree with you. The warmth of Helen, Penny and Michaela will be sadly missed. They had none of the vocal harshness or irritating "here I am" quirks of some presenters and one felt totally relaxed in their company. Michaela's Peter Coke interview was brilliant and I defy any other presenter to have done better.
    Eljypea, I too feel bereft with no full-length drama today and I will miss it tomorrow and also the daily serial. I guess my cd collection will getting more play time.
    I came to R7 when it first started to get away from some of things which I did not enjoy on R4 and some of those things have now followed me onto 4Extra!
    However, we all have to give 4Extra a chance and I am looking forward to hearing some of it, but I doubt the station will be my constant companion as was R7.
    Best wishes to all involved.

  • Comment number 7.

    Thanks for your comments, everyone. I'll make sure that Mary and the 4 Extra management are aware of them. And, in the meantime, Axel Burger, I should say, in the interests of clarity, that the 4 Extra newsletter is available in both boorish (but rather elegant) HTML and polite (but somewhat plainer) text. You can sign up for either or both on the newsletter page. Both, of course, are free.

    Steve Bowbrick, editor, Radio 4 blog

  • Comment number 8.

    Why can't you leave well alone? No doubt your Tristams will come up with some gobblegook about improving the service experience, but R7 worked very well. Don't bother replying with the usual platitudes, but I would like to know just how much of the licence payers money has gone on the change and the new website.

  • Comment number 9.

    Deeply dissapointed, almost to tears, by the new schedule. My BBC 7 listening is the 12:00 - 02:30 slot in the morning. To lose the crime and thrillers hour and the 90 minute dramas; exactly what I feared in this over-hyped rebranding of what was the most poular digital only channel. For those of you with long memories "Well done the BBC another winner." Anyone want a cheap second-hand digital radio? I don't think I will need it anymore.

  • Comment number 10.

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

  • Comment number 11.

    I've been trying to listen to the new Radio 4 Extra (was Radio 7) online and the sound is messed up. There will be a few seconds of clear, normal audio, and then it starts stuttering.
    Regular Radio 4 (online) is fine; it's just the new, extra version.

  • Comment number 12.

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

  • Comment number 13.

    I originally went to radio 7 to get away from celebrity interviews and music and now we have Desert Island discs.Why did they have to change a successful format.

  • Comment number 14.

    I did enjoy listening to Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, but why was Mimsie Pott, Commander Caractacus' wife and Jeremy and Jemima's mum, not kept in the adaptation - on Mothering Sunday?

  • Comment number 15.

    Steve Bowbrick wrote:
    > You can sign up for either or both on the newsletter page.
    > Both, of course, are free.

    So you can. Two points:
    The new tabbed interface is anything but obvious AND you can't change tabs, unless allowing scripts from a different domain than the one you're on to run, something a security-conscious user will never allow. I've now managed my way around both these obstacles.
    You had switched me over from BBC7 text to 4extra html without my ever asking for that. I think you can trust all readers who explicitly request the text variant to know what they're doing.

    But thanks for the help, everything ought to be alright again now.

  • Comment number 16.

    so we get one positive quote from a listener and all other comments are ignored. this is the bbc at its worst ignoring the vast amount of comments a bit like they did over the archers disaster. no-one asked or wanted a change to radio 7. the bbc treats its listeners with complete contempt it manipulates the listening figures so now it can add a few thousand to the overall archers and the dire desert island discs figures and hope for a sony award. i refused to tune into 4 after the archers new year debacle now it seems ive lost radio 7 aswell to same autocratic jobsworths whose only function is to justify their pay packets. my last post was deleted so lets see if this passes muster.

  • Comment number 17.

    andrew, I can promise you that your comments are not being ignored. All will be passed to 4 Extra management (the same people who ran Radio 7, as I'm sure you're aware). Thanks for your comment and do help us by providing specific feedback on the new schedule.

    Steve Bowbrick, editor, Radio 4 blog

  • Comment number 18.

    well mr bowbrick the most obvious is the loss of the feature length drama but also what on earth is the point of putting the archers in the middle of two 15 minute shows that are part of the same story it makes no sense at all.

  • Comment number 19.

    After 6 years with Radio 7 and 2 miserable, mind numblingly boring days and nights with Radio 4Extra, I can see that I am not going to be around much longer. Why oh why, when you had a good thing going with the fantastic R7, did you have to shake it up, change it and, in the event, make it worse! It's hideous so far. I want drama and comedy and maverick continuity announcers with personality, not the staid old dry and frankly, boring straight guy/gals direct from R4. (Radio 7 stood out because it developed its own character, now you want to make it exactly like R4).

    What the heck is Dessert Island Disc doing on at 9pm? I don't want to listen to Kirsty again at this time, it's bad enough on Friday on R4. I'm giving this new schedule a week and if it continues like this I'm off, and, for good. For the first time in years the radio is off at this time, where normally I would be listening from 6pm until midnight.

    What is wrong with you at the BBC? Did any consulations with your R7 Audience take place? If not, why not? I despair at this recklessness.

  • Comment number 20.

    I can't believe what you've done to Radio 7, where have all the plays gone, both long and short ? I used to like listening to them especially late at night.
    You've filled the whole schedule up with inane chatter and programmes we can hear on Radio 4 if we so choose.

    I'm absolutely furious, you've ruined the station, this is yet more dumbing down !

    Pease don't tell me the station is staying like this ,I can't bear it , soon i won't be able to listen to the BBC at all. I bought a digital radio to get away from Staions 4 and 5, I can't believe what you've done !

  • Comment number 21.

    What happened to the wonderful content of Radio 7. I used to love listening to programmes I couldn't get anywhere else. Now, whilst I love the Archers, I don't want to listen to 'spin-off' programmes - there's already too much of that on tv channels, nor do I wish to listen to repeats of Desert Island discs. I want the comedy, crime and drama programmes that made Radio 7 so good. It seems as if this station is destined simply to be a blanket repeat ground for Radio 4 (I thought that was the point of the Listen Again function on the website for Radio 4 itself!).

    I'm keeping my fingers-crossed that things get better. The fact that the site has reverted to technical problems Radio 7 ironed out years ago doesn't help either. This feels like a retrograde step to me, and I don't see what the point of it was. Radio 7 was clearly defined as a separate channel. Now it has lost its identity I fear it will go downhill.

    As the saying goes: "If it ain't broke, don't fix it!!"

  • Comment number 22.

    So glad it's not just me that doesn't like the new schedule or the loss of the old presenters. When I completed the BBC Trust questionnaire earlier this year I made the point that I didn't want more Radio 4 and guess what I've got? the quirky Radio 7 presenters gave it that uniqueness - gee I wonder why it was the BBCs most sucessful digital station? I work full time and loved the weekend crime catch up and now I see only nightowls and part timers can hear it. Please give me back my weekend crime ... please.

  • Comment number 23.

    Why can I not get R4X on iPLayer at all, no matter what I try?
    Suddenly on the very day of this grand launch, the iPlayer goes phut?

    What's going on?

  • Comment number 24.

    So John reckons Seven was heaven and hopes 4 Extra will be extra good, does he? Well he'll be disappointed then I guess. You set up 7 and it works and it's really good and then lo and behold the Twerp steps in (or is it Twerps?)and meddles. Consequence? A ragbag of programming that's awful. Last night I tuned in expecting a Morse and got D/I/Discs with Sue Lawley followed by Mark Lawson waffling on to Julie Walters. Utter pony and trap! Loath to do so, I turned on 5 Live. Least that was marginally more entertaining and less irritating than RaDIO 4's recycled dross that was on offer on Extra. Put it all back how it was, please! And give the twerps something else to do other than meddle.

  • Comment number 25.

    I do wish you had left Radio 7 as it was - my listening time is generally 23.00 to 03.00 during which time I enjoyed the crime and dramas as well as the breakfast comedy. I really don't want to listen to music, variety or hyped-up American radio shows more suited to the start of the day.
    Please allow us that don't sleep that well to have the calm talk radio we have been enjoying up until Saturday 02 April 2011.
    I stopped watching the television as there was nothing to watch I really hope the same isn't going to happen with the radio.

  • Comment number 26.

    All I can do it reiterate most of the complaints already made. Radio 7 had the balance about right - the only good thing to have come out of the change was the ditching of the ghastly cbeebies slot at 6am. Otherwise all the rest of the changes have been for the worse.

    Where has the drama gone? I don't want more ****** Archers or Desert Island Disks, and the Sunday schedule was appalling - virtually wall to wall drivel. So far all you've achieved for me is to import the bits of Radio 4 I try to escape from!

    Please, please ditch the changes & give us a radio station worth listening to again! Otherwise we're going to end up going the way TV has gone - lots of channels all showing the same ***** repeats!

  • Comment number 27.

    Having now suffered 3 days of 4 extra all I can say is bring back radio 7 exactly as it was and fast. What is the point of replaying Desert Island Discs when you then follow the programme by saying recordings and details of every show ever made are available via the web site - anyone really interested can go here and the rest of us don't have to suffer programmes we haven't yet had time to forget. The joy of Radio 7 was the fantasic mix of comedy and crime programmes from the 1950s, 60s & 70s and excellent half hour and full length plays/seriels. I have no idea who you are aiming at for listeners but you will almost certainly lose those of us who have been keen Radio 7 listeners. I think it is back to the World Service for me at night time.

  • Comment number 28.

    hello and here we are again people talking and bbc not listening,over the years my friends and i have complained filled in polls and surveys for the bbc,and so far not one thing we mentioned has been listened to.
    we complained about the changes to the radio7 website,it was changed, we filled in the poll and survey about radio7 and here we are at radio 4 extra?
    i have tried listening to the new station and surprise surprise it doesnt work ? torchwood stutters cant hear it lets get quizzicall same and arthur smiths last hangover all unplayable i reset my computer reset the modem even went to iplayer still wont work so i swapped to my samsung galaxy s and still no luck,it is not just these programes.so as so many here and on other sites have asked why no radio7, a real answer would be nice not just the normall bbc answer of because we could.
    on the radio7 forum when the website was changed the complaints outnumbered the praises around 50 to 1 but the bbc like praises no matter how slim and fanboy they are.
    so far here i have read 28 posts and we are getting near the 50 to 1 mark again but radio7 is gone and the bbc will not listen and in about 1 year from now it wont be a renamed radio7 but radio 4+1

  • Comment number 29.

    Why have you destroyed a good station with a great format. I'll be listening much less now. Thanks Beeb. In the words of Mark Steele "WHY....OH WHY.....OH WHY....OH WHY....?"

  • Comment number 30.

    I'm not too upset about the new content, some losses but some good new options. My only issue is that I can't play most of the programmes on "listen again" as the sound is totally corrupted.

    Not much use really.

  • Comment number 31.

    Quite agree with post 30: what has happened to the sound quality on 'listen again'? Radio 7 seemed to have overcome these problems. I also agree with earlier comments about the loss of extended drama. Radio 4 long ago assumed that listeners were incapable of listening to anything for more than 45 minutes, and the 90-minute dramas on Radio 7 were bliss: recently we had the Ayckbourn trilogy over three weeks, which was fantastic. Please bring these long plays back. Also, please stop interrupting 15-minute readings with other programmes. Finally, I started to listened to Radio 7 to escape from the tiresome snippets of music on Desert Island Discs and the equally tiresome cast and 'plots' of The Archers. Oh dear.

  • Comment number 32.

    Well, I've been fair-minded, and given it a go, but alas, 4extra is awful.
    The 'new' content I've heard so far has been of uniformly low quality, with the notable exception of Ambridge Extra, which is utter drivel - a new all-time low in radio broadcasting.
    Even the name of the station is stupid!
    I've been an avid daily listener to Radio 7 from day one, but now I'm reduced to occasionally dipping in to old favourites while they are still there, (At least I would be if you hadn't broken the iplayer at the same time). Thank you radio 7 team for the past 8 years of sheer bliss, I'm sorry you've been forced to comply with this corporate nonsense. I'm sure I'm not the only one who picks up on the embarrasment in your voices every time you say 'Radio 4 extra'......

  • Comment number 33.


    My most serious concern with the new 4 extra scheduling, like Zadar and others, is the 01.00 onwards slot. I'm snugging down to sleep then, and the Crime hour was spot on - the right genre in the right place. What I do NOT want is more comedy at that time - there's already been 2 hours of it from 22.00-00.00, why more again only an hour later? And I don't have LA facilities in my bedroom, so that's no help. I can only occasionally catch the 20.00 slot, and there's absolutely no point doing that if there's no late night opportunity to keep up with serials - so you're in danger of losing me twice.

    The thing I most appreciated about Radio 7 was the opportunity to hear runs of 'vintage' programmes that were not available anywhere else on the network. So I quite like the idea of DID from the Archives - so long as you go back to Roy Plomley's day, not just the more recent presenters. But I don't feel the need for any more Archers, particularly featuring all the youngsters - I'm just about hanging on to R4's Sunday Omnibus, although the recent shennanigans of the SWs have almost made me give even that up.

    I'd also plead for more long plays and drama serials - how about the brilliant Radio Lord of the Rings and, in Mervyn Peake's centenary year, Gormenghast with Sting? A complete re-run of the original Hitchhiker's guide? And again, vintage productions - ages ago, Radio 3 or 4 broadcast an old production of Peer Gynt with Ralph Richardson in the title role and featuring all the Grieg incidental music - fantastic, despite a few rather dated cut-glass RP accents.

    But most of all - please bring back Crime and Thrillers at 01.00.

  • Comment number 34.

    i have just thought maybe the reason listen again is not working is the lovely people from radio7 are showing there feelings of now being radio 4 extra, day four still cant listen to day one?

  • Comment number 35.

    Just had a look at BBC One pages 640, 651 and 658 and 699: BBC 7 has become RAdio 4 Extra, so now Please would you look at either adding the schedule of 1Xtra, 5 Live Sports Extra, 6Music and Asian Network to Ceefax BBC One pages 640-659 or taking the schedules for World Service and Radio 4 Extra away from 648 and 658 and their namechecks on 640, 651 and 699 since both are Digital Only stations now? BBC One page 640 still has 648MW for WS and refers to On the Box page 590, a page that has been deleted long, long ago.

  • Comment number 36.

    After listening to R7 for years I am devastated to find that R4extra is impossible to listen to as the sound is just a pulsating jumble of words. several people I have spoken to say the same thing - it's rubbish.
    Bring back R7

  • Comment number 37.

    I must just add that the thought of endless reruns of Desert Island Discs fills me with fear and loathing

  • Comment number 38.

    When will iPlayer cease carrying a tab labelled Radio 7, and start listing the R4X schedule?


  • Comment number 39.


    Frankly I'm amazed that nobody else has twigged to the BBC's cunning plan. Change Radio 7 into Radio 4 Extra, dumb it down to about ground level, make it impossible to listen to then close it down to save money on the grounds that no-one is listening to it. Brilliant. Personally I resent having to pay the licence fee when the people I'm paying it to can't even broadcast radio via the internet. Thanks a bunch.

  • Comment number 40.

    @38. There are 745 Search Results on BBC Online for "BBC 7," 373 for "Radio 7" and 296 for "BBC7" and 1 for "Radio7" so it's a must for patience, I would imagine.

  • Comment number 41.

    I'm sure Neil-W (39) is right
    Make it so a lot of people cannot listen then shut it down because there not enough listeners.

  • Comment number 42.

    I really don't care very much about Radio 4 extra. I've thrown my DAB radio away. Reception was so awful and battery life ridiculously short.

    But will you please stop trailing stuff on radio 4? We went through months of tedium about the anniversary archers, and then the royal archers and now we have to listen to a lot of self-congratulations about some sort of "Big brothers little brother" for the bloody archers. Enough is enough.

    Please can you total all the correspondence over the last five years about trails, and report how many people objected and how many people asked for more?

  • Comment number 43.

    This is my 3rd attempt to leave a comment, I wonder how many others are in the same position. Anyway, I just want to echo what most of the commenters have said so far, Radio4 Extra is a very poor substitute for Radio 7. My main time for listening to Radio 7 (4 Extra) is between 10-12 in the morning. I don't want to hear old DID, comedy, Archers Extra and worse of all interviews from Front Row. It wouldn't be so bad if some of the plays, dramas etc were on at some time during the day so I could listen again, but the 90 minute play, Crime catch up etc have just gone from the schedule. Ironically I'll now revert to listening to Radio 4 between 10-12 and listening again (on my internet radio) to the afternoon play on Radio 4 etc etc.

  • Comment number 44.

    to Steve Bowbrick anychance of a comment about why no radio7?
    the thinking behind the change would be nice.

  • Comment number 45.

    What happened to the final part of Rawlinson End? Looks like extra means less!

  • Comment number 46.

    Can I add my voice to the dozens appealing for the return of crime and thrillers at 1.00 am please? It was perfect for the wee small hours.

    And, when I click onto the Radio section of the website to see what's playing "Comedy Club" isn't very informative. Please add the name of the show.

  • Comment number 47.

    Please can somebody tell me what happened to crime and thrillers omnibus and other drama on Saturday and Sunday? Can I find them elswhere? Weekdays look fine - Saturday and Sunday - not fine.
    The first impression is not brilliant - convince me.

  • Comment number 48.

    Just turned my radio off again.It would be great to see a reply to all our complaints please.

  • Comment number 49.

    I posted a comment on the Radio 7 messageboard saying that I had a terrible gut feeling that this is a sad end. I said that I would give it 3 months before we were listening to wall to wall archives of Woman's Hour, Dessert Island Discs and the Today programme with grumpy Humphries.

    I take it all back. I give it three weeks. They have taken the pick of the litter and turned it into the runt.

  • Comment number 50.

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

  • Comment number 51.

    Its common for the bbc to ignore any negative comment. if there are 3000 negative comments the beeb will quote the 3 positive comments, this happened with The Archers. Of course if some celebs make negative comments the beeb backs down ie Radio 6 campaign. blog posting are ignored I want to complain directly to the bbc but I've no idea how to and if anyone knows where to complain could they post it on here.

  • Comment number 52.

    heres a link to bbc radio channels listening figures from August 2010, radio 7 was by some way the most popular of the digital only channels.

  • Comment number 53.

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

  • Comment number 54.

    It's early days yet, but I feel Radio 4 Extra is genuinely missing a trick in not seeking to revive enough classics from the wealth of the Radio 4 drama archive. One of the great radio moments for me from last year was Radio 7's resurrection of Don Taylor's masterpiece God's Revolution from its 22-year slumber in the archives: this is the type of epic and ambitious radio drama once pursued on Radio 4, but now seemingly unattainable. There are numerous single plays, in the 45-, 60- and 90-minute categories, that also deserve resurrection: Radio 4 has a steady programme of repeating many of its 45- and 60-minute dramas from the last 2 or 3 years, i.e. from the 'post-digitalisation' era (if that's the right phrase to use), and Radio 7 had a rolling but limited programme of drama repeats, which I think most listeners have now heard many times over. Whilst I appreciate the re-appearance of Fortunes of War (from 2008) for example, I think Radio 4 Extra's role should seek to expand its range by looking further back into the gems of the drama archive. I don't think anyone could criticise these old gems for quality, and (like God's Revolution) many of them would be 'so old they are new', and would I'm sure find an appreciative audience. For me, this would add far more value to the station rebrand than AmEx or warmed-up DIDs, neither of which have any appeal to me.


  • Comment number 55.

    whilst i appreciate all the 'give it a chance' comments the question hasn't been answered about who wanted these changes, was it audience lead? do the 'new shows' ie kirsty young did ,mark lawson front row extra or whatever its called the ambridge extra cast add to the overall cost of 4extra as opposed to radio 7?.

  • Comment number 56.

    i posted earlier about the last time we complained it was 50 to 1 against the changes,looks like its going to be more this time but as andrew wrote the bbc will ignore all the complaints and wait very, very patiently for the praise.
    still no reply about why the change, would it not have been easier to leave radio 7 and just add the shows, radio7 was a good package the presenters was just as much part of the overall experience as the shows now it is just boring voices reading boring scripts i miss alex riley more than i thought i would,there is no snap now its like listening to a customer services team than real presenters.

  • Comment number 57.

    here is a transcript of my complaint to the bbc. i apologise for the grammar,spelling, syntax - it did look slightly better when i typed it.

    I Must complain about the changes to radio7 as it has changed to radio4extra. my question are:- 1) were these changes due to audience demand?. 2) what consultation was carried out by the bbc, prior to the change? 3) are there any cost implications due to the change including the cost of rebranding, the cost of new announcers and additional salary payments to presenters/announcers/actors who are currently getting additional exposure on radio4 extra and the cost of technical difficulties in the online content. 4)in expressed opinion to the bbc via blogs, phone calls etc what percentage is negative? yours ap brennan.

  • Comment number 58.

    Driven to despair by the changes as are many others - listening late at night I loved the crime hour - now it has gone to be replaced by yet more comedy. Aaargh!

    Last night it was Radio 5 and then the World Service for me.

    If you want me back restore the schedule. If anything I want more drama rather than so much comedy.

    The rescheduling seems designed to irritate established listeners while extra Archers and Desert Island Discs do not seem to really offer much encouragement to new ones.

  • Comment number 59.

    Wow they listened - They have fixed the files that made it impossible to hear 'listen again' on a lot of P/Cs - Thank you - I thought the problems were being ignored.

  • Comment number 60.

    ok i have figured it out i have read these posts and searched the net for comments on the rebrand this included newspapers and bbc sites so far no fans of am ex or the loss of radio7 but it seems the bbc are trying for a youth audience so they cant understand out posts so here goes lmao bbc fail lol

  • Comment number 61.

    I first started listening to Radio 7 a few years ago on Sky and loved it. It was easy to decide on a Christmas present that year. I asked for a DAB radio. It's been a constant companion at work, on the road and at home.

    I was sceptical when the changes to the station were announced, as change isn't always a good thing. I'm a firm believer in the adage 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it', but I was still prepared to give the rebranded station a chance. So far, so bad. So very, very bad.

    My radio is hardly ever on now, but every so often, I tune in because I'm hoping to find a reason to leave it on. I thought revisiting Desert Island Discs was bad enough, but earlier today I heard Loose Ends and had to check which station I'd selected. These are the programmes I listened to Radio 7 to avoid!

    I didn't realise the change was going to mean ditching the kids programmes and as many presenters with regional accents as possible.

    My radio and I are going through a trial separation. I can leave it at home without having any fear of missing anything because there's hardly anything on worth listening to anymore. Might as well flog it on Ebay.

  • Comment number 62.

    i hope i am not breaking any forum rules in posting this but i would like to share part of the reply the bbc sent me after i complained about the radio7 rebranding,
    But to preserve the elements that audiences value, the Trust will strengthen the service licence so that the commitment to comedy and drama is increased, and limit the amount of Radio 4 catch-up programming.
    Gwyneth Williams, Radio 4 Controller, explained that Radio 4 Extra (which is what Radio 7 will become) is another way of enjoying our drama and comedy programmes with something else thrown into the mix. There is a developing Radio 4 archive of documentaries and history programmes, science as well as film and arts interviews.

    Further to this, Tim Davie, Director of Audio & Music placed the emphasis firmly on quality content and unveiled further digital-only programming such as: ‘The Family Hour’ (working title) on Radio 4 Extra, featuring quizzes, stories, comedies and interviews as well as new dramas to be enjoyed by all ages including ‘The Silver Sword’ and ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’. Also, a new comedy club, which will premiere new comedy to be broadcast first on Radio 4 Extra before transferring to Radio 4. This will include a new series of Arthur Smith's ‘Balham Bash’ and Sarah Millican's ‘Support Group’.

    the unfortunate omission here is crime and thrillers.but if we can have less am ex and d i d then things may not be so bad , but i would still miss the presenters that made the station what it was.i have listened to the same shows that i used to , but now i use listen again cant bring myself to listen live , because i feel like i am being talked at rather than talked to.
    i would also like to urge people to use the bbc complaints website to register your thoughts this is the only way to have our feelings heard and get crime and thrillers back.

  • Comment number 63.

    Replying to message 62

    One can certainly detect Mr. Davie’s vapour trail emanating from the BBC afterburners within these changes: it’s all about marketing. Even allowing for the fact that Mr. Davie doesn’t possess a strong background in radio [1], how on earth this programme content/listener satisfaction impedance mismatch occurred is most disturbing.

    I hope, though, that Ms. Kalemkerian isn’t forced to take the can for this debacle. Unlike Ms. Williams, Ms. K.has never dodged an interview with Feedback (even allowing for the fact that Feedback is useless in terms of listener support) and she admitted during one minor grilling that she had actually misjudged something. Good for her!!!!

    “But to preserve the elements that audiences value, the Trust will strengthen the service licence so that the commitment to comedy and drama is increased, and limit the amount of Radio 4 catch-up programming”.

    I have often wondered if BBC Service Licences are legally binding documents. Take this example from the R4 SL:

    ‘The broadcast output should be supported by a complementary online service, including some use of visual enhancements, and listeners should be encouraged to interact and communicate with the station.’

    One wouldn’t have to possess the talents of Ms. Gareth Peirce to tear that one to shreds.


    [1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tim_Davie

  • Comment number 64.

    I got exactly the same response to my complaint as Psiops, so much for the bbc listening to its audience as I was asking specific questions.

  • Comment number 65.

    I was pretty laid back about the change from Radio 7 to 4+ but having lived with it for a week or so its not a special place any more. I'm probably a minority because I love SciFi, Crime and Classical drama so the midnight onwards slots were brilliant for me, being a bit of an insomniac.
    Now we seem to be getting SciFi that is a repeat of only a few months ago, Archers and Comedy. I used to be an Archers fan, having inherited my Father's liking for it, but dislike it intensely now and certainly haven't passed on the habit as he did and I love comedy but not in the small hours.
    Using iPlayer when you're trying to sleep isn't very restful, with so many 15 min programmes and no queue function, whereas having the radio on meant I could just drift off. I suppose I'm going to have to go and buy talking books. Lets hope that Audible don't start broadcasting or it will be another reason to take away BBC funding which I'm vehemently against.

  • Comment number 66.

    I knew when you announced this change we were going to loose a unique radio station and end up with radio 4 sock draw.
    Well you didn't disappoint me, but I really wish you had!

  • Comment number 67.

    I was so pleased when I discovered Radio 7 and Crime Catch Up on Saturday was something I really looked forward to. It has disappeared, kicked into touch by someone who probably never listened to Radio 7 regularly if at all. And, oh joy, we now we get music and interviews - well if I wanted that I'd tune into Radio 4. Really, seriously disappointed with what you have done to the content. 'Radio 4 Sock Drawer' - I couldn't agree more.

  • Comment number 68.

    it seems all we are doing here is talking amongst ourselves , no reply from moderators and no comment from the higher ups ,so for the scifi fans amongst us i recomend star ship sofa and the rest audible for some good listens

  • Comment number 69.

    Sadly disappointed in Radio4 Extra. R7 was a good listen, plays and serials, now it seems to be a mish-mash of comedy, children's programmes and various bits and pieces from all over the place. And yes, the schedule is now all to pot, I used to listen a lot, now I won't. And it's becoming the repository for all the failed 'comedy' programmes on R4, loathed by many. Crying shame.

  • Comment number 70.

    Seriously - a mid-afternoon 'magazine' programme, desert island discs and the archers? If I had wanted to listen to Radio 4 I would have (and not have had to buy a digi radio).

    Aunty, for once in your life, LISTEN TO THE TORRENT OF NEGATIVE FEEDBACK and admit you made a mistake.

  • Comment number 71.

    Just tuned in to find the new Archers programme on, what the heck, I thought childrens radio was supposed to be in the afternoons. Absolute rubbish. Please bring back my old friend BBC Radio 7, I miss it.

  • Comment number 72.

    I said, I'd give it a week and rethink my position as to whether I remain a committed listener of R4E.

    To date, it is fair to say, R4E is not a patch on R7. It's abundantly clear, that the best of R7 has been replaced with a schedule of programming reminiscent of the R4 Schedule. In my opinion, Arthur Smith, as the main comedy club presenter is a mistake. His droll and laconic style of delivery isn't funny, interesting, or sincere and it lacks warmth, he's completely uninviting; in fact he's a literal turn off, (I do, and I have). Alex Riley got it just right and was an excellent comedy club host. Alan Smith, has potential and would be better in this slot than Arthur.

    As I write the awful Desert Island Disc has started. Time to turn off. On sunday evening when, the money programme is on R4, a drama is required on R4E, not DID. The programming on Sunday evening needs a rethink. Bring the Drama back, bring the catch up back...DID is a disaster, talk about depressing and that's just Kirsty. The radio is now off, I can't bare it.

    The 1-3am comedy slot! What were the schedulers thinking? Comedy at 1-3 am? Doesn't work, although I did hear a really good programme earlier on the week at this time and it was hilarious. But was lying in bed about to enter the land of nod.

    In short: R4E is no where near, not a patch on, not even close to the standard of R7. Too much chat from dull presenters, (Andy & Alan the exception). Bring back the thrillers, drama,catch up and Alex Riley. I'm not resistant to change, I welcome it. However, this project has not been thought through. Many avid and devoted R7 listeners are going to dessert the station and if you are trying to attract new and younger audiences, you are going about it the wrong way. I listened to 5 minutes of the Archers spin off - utter tripe and terrible acting. I would say that my listening has decreased by around 60 percent. I used to love getting home from work, switching on the radio and listening to R4 until 8pm and then over to R7 until midnight or longer. But - for much of this week, the radio has been off intermittently, only tuning in for programmes I know and avoiding the awful presenters.

    Schedulers - you must take a look at the scheduling/programmes...it's not working. Please take on board what we, the listeners are telling you, unless, of course, what you really want, is to close the station down.

    *Alex Riley, Michaela et al, thank you all for doing such a wonderful job over the last 6 years, (the time I was with R7). I'm sorry the BBC felt that you and your many talents had to be replaced by, well, mediocre presenters (all older, so, how does that work if you are trying to attract younger listeners?)and a rubbish schedule that is laughable, and for all the wrong reasons.
    Good luck - you are all missed.*

  • Comment number 73.

    Hi everyone,

    Thanks for your comments. We'll be posting Mary's reply as a comment on her more recent blog post tomorrow: http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/radio4/2011/04/radio_4_extra_the_first_week.html

    Steve Bowbrick, blogs editor

  • Comment number 74.

    Very well thought out and reasoned post Ellajo1209.I don't think the BBC realise how important the radio is to so many people. I like many other purchased a digital radio specifically for radio 7 and cricket on 5 live extra but since the change I just get depressed looking at the 4 extra schedule, plus and not sure if this is linked but on the PC the radio player for any channel keeps cutting out and for some reason the bbc have removed the volume adjuster.

  • Comment number 75.

    I don't think I have listened to so many cds or watched as many dvds in the few weeks that R4excuse4. Lost me as a listener.

    I would give my honest opinion but it would include far too much basic anglo saxon, and would get me modded.

  • Comment number 76.

    Ah, at long last we might get a response. Not that I expect anyone will have really listened to what we are saying - it'll probably be the same platitudes "that it's been a great success", or that any faults are with "failure to communicate the message" & not the actual product.

    Thanks for the post Ellajo1209, I agree completely, you've put my thoughts into words too.

    I'm afraid that I've largely ditched Radio 4Extra. I can't stand the new schedule: DID, Archers, Loose Ends, Inheritance Tracks and the home for lost trailers (Sneaky Peaks). That combined with the ditching of the crime & thrillers at 1am, and the loss of any decent length drama, means that I dip into the odd item on iplayer (the stuff that was carried over from Radio 7) and switch the radio off.

    Like Cardi (post 75) my honest reactions to the changes are completely unprintable.

  • Comment number 77.

    you really have to go read what is said in the link in 73 but dont expect an honest responce if that is anything to go by?

  • Comment number 78.

    BBC Search results now read as
    730 for BBC 7, 268 for Radio7, 91 for BBC7, 1 for Radio7

  • Comment number 79.

    mary posted about bringing back crime and thriller there is no mention of the full length shows like the wally k daly series we heard lately and does this also mean no christmas narnia or the like , is it to be replaced by a day or two of all the ambridge extra and d i d we turned of during the year.

  • Comment number 80.

    Would someone please explain to me the target audience for the 4-5pm slot. Previously it was for children, now it is for people sitting down for "tea". Who are they?

  • Comment number 81.

    The target audience for the 4-5pm slot is 'nice people who live in 1947'.
    After all, one needs something to listen to while the tweenie warms the pot and butters the muffins......................


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