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The Radio 4 schedule changes on Monday 7 November

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Paul Murphy Paul Murphy 12:30, Monday, 31 October 2011

Martha Kearney

Martha Kearney, presenter of The World at One

Next Monday 7 November the much talked about schedule changes take place.

The big change is that The World at One will have an extra 15 minutes. As a result the weekday afternoon schedule has been changed and some programmes have also moved day. For example, The Film Programme is now on Thursday afternoons rather than Friday.

Radio 4's scheduling guru Tony Pilgrim is going to blog at the end of the week about the changes and also answer any of your questions about the new schedule. So do leave you questions at the end of this post.

Gwyn has blogged previously about the changes and in particular her desire to extend the World at One. You can read Gwyn's posts here and here.

In the meantime I've compiled a list of the Monday to Friday afternoons so you can see the programmes that have moved and the changes that have been made.


  • 1.00pm World at One
  • 1.45pm 15 minute weekly series (previously 3.45pm)
  • 2.00pm The Archers
  • 2.15pm Afternoon Play
  • 3.00pm Quiz (previously 1.30pm)
  • 3.30pm Food Programme repeat (previously 4pm)
  • 4.00pm Popular arts (previously 11.30am Tuesdays)
  • 4.30pm Beyond Belief/The Infinite Monkey Cage


  • 11.30am Music documentary (previously 1.30pm)
  • 12.04pm Call You and Yours
  • 1.00pm World at One
  • 1.45pm 15 minute weekly series (previously 3.45pm)
  • 2.00pm The Archers
  • 2.15pm Afternoon Play
  • 3.00pm Making History/Home Planet
  • 3.30pm Off The Page (previously 1.30pm Thursday) or Costing the Earth (previously 9pm Wednesday)


  • 1.00pm World at One
  • 1.45pm 15 minute weekly series (previously 3.45pm)
  • 2.00pm The Archers
  • 2.15pm Afternoon Play
  • 3.00pm Money Box Live
  • 3.30pm Science/Health repeat (previously 4.30pm)
  • 4.00pm Thinking Allowed
  • 4.30pm Media Show (previously 1.30pm)


  • 1.00pm World at One
  • 1.45pm 15 minute weekly series (previously 3.45pm)
  • 2.00pm The Archers
  • 2.15pm Afternoon Play
  • 3.00pm Open Country/Ramblings
  • 3.30pm Book club/Open book (previously 4.00pm)
  • 4.00pm The Film Programme (previously 4.30pm Friday)
  • 4.30pm Material World (previously 4.30pm)


  • 1.00pm World at One
  • 1.45pm 15 minute weekly series (previously 3.45pm)
  • 2.00pm The Archers
  • 2.15pm Afternoon Play
  • 3.00pm Gardeners' Question Time
  • 3.45pm Short story (the other short story slot is now Sunday at 7.45pm)
  • 4.00pm Last Word
  • 4.30pm Feedback/More or Less (previously 1.30pm)

Other things to note: The Monday afternoon repeat of Archive on 4 has been dropped.

Paul Murphy is the editor of the Radio 4 blog


  • Comment number 1.

    Is there some meaning to "Wednesday 4.30pm Media Show (previously 1.30pm)" not being in bold?

  • Comment number 2.

    I do get fed up with Ramblings and other nature and wildlife programmes on Radio 4, TV is the place for such programmes. An inordinate amount of time is spent describing a bird or a view, why? A picture would be infinitely more appropriate, and accurate.

  • Comment number 3.

    There was an ominous comment on World at One that they would be spending the time on better coverage of culture and the arts. I hope not- there is already quite enough coverage of the West End etc. on R4- there are chat shows most mornings and arts review shows most evenings. Let's not have the chattering classes taking over the news programmes as well.

  • Comment number 4.

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

  • Comment number 5.

    Oh dear - the best quiz programme on Radio 4 - Round Britain Quiz - has been relegated to the graveyard slot of 3pm, which means it is inaccessible to all the aficionados who listen at lunchtime. Why not have it 1.45 - 2.15 and slot the Archers in afterwards? Or run the Archers at 1.45 with RBQ to follow? It's sacrilege to shunt programmes like RBQ about in such a cavalier manner! And the repeat is so late (11pm on Fridays) my brain has ceased to function adequately. Come on, Radio 4, be reasonable and bring RBQ back to lunchtime - PLEASE!

  • Comment number 6.

    #1 Hello Briantist,
    No meaning. I just missed it out by accident and have corrected it now.
    Thank you, Paul

  • Comment number 7.

    Ooops there goes afternoon reading - sob sob sob.

  • Comment number 8.

    I shall particularly miss listening to "Feedback" at 1.30 on fridays, as I usually am doing other things at 4pm onwards and not listening to the radio. I do think that changing schedules like this will upset a lot of people who now listen at lunchtime.

  • Comment number 9.

    I often think WatO should have been called "Westminster at One" - I regularly switch off rather than listen to bickering politicians and fear much of the extra 15 minutes will be filled with this. Perhaps it would have been better to have moved R4 to Salford.....

    Or go back to the Golden Age -

    12.30 quiz/comedy
    1.00-1.40 World at One
    1.40-2.00 The Archers - 5 episodes of 15 minutes !

  • Comment number 10.

    Is there any possibility the repetitive hourly news headlines could be dropped? 3 or 4 hours between news 'updates' seems more than adequate to me. Currently we have the end of one news programme followed either immediately or within 30 minutes by news headlines.
    Will there be some mechanism in place not to repeat in-depth articles that have been, or will be, covered in the other current affairs programmes?

  • Comment number 11.

    Shifting the programs from 13:30 to later in the afternoon makes them inaccessible to many who work and enjoy the chance to listen to a variety of programs and quizzes in the lunch break.
    Extending the news at 13:00 will lead to the BBC presenters interviewing their own correspondents for longer and speculating about events which may happen during the afternoon. In other words waffle.
    Goodbye R4, hello R4 Extra.

  • Comment number 12.

    I am horrified that the lunchtime 1.30 slot for quizzes etc has been lost, I love to listen to them in my lunch hour but have no interest in extra news, it is already bad enough that we have to wake up to news with the today programme and again at tea time we have the ludicrous scheduling of PM at 5.00 followed by another news programme at 6 rehashing the same content. Those of us who work would like some opportunity to enjoy lighter programmes especially at lunch time but we can't listen in the middle of the afternoon.

  • Comment number 13.

    I quite like the changes and my brain will just about be awake at 3pm for RBQ.

  • Comment number 14.

    I agree with Derek Jones. Let's trim You and Yours down to 30 mins or less, have light entertainment 12.30 to 1, world at 1 for 40 mins, then the Archers, then ... an hour long play? Or perhaps Woman's hour back to the afternoon? Both?

  • Comment number 15.

    A disaster for lunchtime listeners. The reallocation of the 1.30 programmes looks random. It seems that the schedule has been vandalised rather than re-organised. I share the concern about WaTO containing more waffle from politicians and more pointless speculation from commentators. I don't think I will miss Round Britain Quiz that much, the current series is very weak. Does anyone else find that the questions are easier and the contestants are becoming rather irritating?

  • Comment number 16.

    I'm with jbfinchley - this series of RBQ seems to have been noticeably different in tone and difficulty to previous years.
    Mind you, I'm also a bit bothered by the lack of new quiz formats on radio in recent years; they have been a bit sidelined by panel shows (I quite enjoyed that students vs teachers one for instance.) I don't mind Counterpoint but there are other subjects that could justify proper quizzes from time to time - when was the last time there was a proper science-based quiz for instance?

  • Comment number 17.

    I hope the extended World at One will give us new and different news and comment 'from around the world' not the further repetitious circling and speculation around a tiny number of items, that has become the norm for BBC news. So much of importance and interest happens around the world that we don't get to hear about, Beeb, please help to redress the balance.

    I am disappointed that the Film Programme is now on Thursday, Friday for many of us is when we are wanting to start getting into the frame of mind for the weekend and a popular arts programme is much more suited to the Friday slot.

  • Comment number 18.

    I consider mysel a loyal and regular R4 listener.Clearly I'm not as I missed all mention of the consultation process that surely preceded these latest schedule changes. I work at home; between 9am and 3pm I can listen to what I want. The 1.30 slot has always been a favourite, theover-long You and Yours decidededly NOT. At 3pm I leave for the school run and next get to listen at 5pm if I'm lucky. By 11pm I'm asleep. So farewell RBG, Feedback etc etc. Welcome waffley WaTO; much as I enjoy Sean Lay there is only so much that can be said about the news without lapsing into speculation and repetition.Derek Jones is right, bring back the golden age. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE.

  • Comment number 19.

    This change is most regrettable. The programmes between 1330 and 1400 are generally intelligent and interesting, but they will now be lost to most listeners. We don't need more news of the waffle variety.

  • Comment number 20.

    It doesn't matter what any of us think. Changes will just go ahead anyway. We just pay your salaries.

    Just one little plea: Isn't it about time a meteor fell on Ambridge and finished them all off? Or a redundant satellite, if you want verisimilitude...

    Having been force fed The Archers since the 1960s, the series' total failure in recent years to be an everyday story of country folk finally allowed me to break free of its hold. These days, there isn't a country folk in earshot. Most of the women sound the same. You killed off the last slightly interesting man. I can't avoid a few minutes of occasional episodes and I can tell you, as someone living in the North Cotswolds, that the storylines bear no resemblance to real life in these parts... When Ambridge Extra invaded R4 Extra I nearly choked on my dry sherry. More whining teenagers are quite unnecessary.

    There isn't a single Archers character about whom I could care two hoots. Without exception they are irritating caricatures. Please invite listeners to write grisly endings for each one, and get rid of the whole nest.

  • Comment number 21.

    Well I will not be listening to an extended World at One - which will no doubt cover the same ground as Today and PM. Which will mean more pointless speculation about events and more haranguing of politicians. It is obvious when a politician is being evasive and an interviewer trying to score points becomes very boring. Not all the 1.30 programmes are favourites but they are generally a welcome change.

  • Comment number 22.

    I really don't understand the obsession with news, news, news. There's plenty of time for interviews with politicians on Today, PM and World Tonight. Intelligent entertainment is another important part of Radio 4's range of programmes and shouldn't be downgraded.

  • Comment number 23.

    Ah 75 minutes extra speculative supposition and Westminster village gossip completely devoid of fact or political intent. There was me thinking that Radio 5 was for rolling speculation.

  • Comment number 24.

    Cutting the number of short story slots to make room for more news is a tragedy that will severely impact on the livelyhoods of many writers and actors, not to mention the huge number of people for whom the short stories are a brief opportunity for relaxation and reflection in their otherwise busy lives.

  • Comment number 25.

    Again, we have unneeded changes. News is cheap, the infrastructure is already in place, just give the reporters another minute or so each and the extra 15 minutes of WatO has been filled for no cost.
    Why more news? Isn't Radio5Live for news?
    Only change I'd like to see to the current Radio4 schedule is the scrapping of the early morning briefing i.e. speculating about things which may or may not happen. Replace all that waffle with the Radio4 theme, a far better way to wake up in a morning!

  • Comment number 26.

    "Gwyneth Williams says: "The extension of The World At One, presented by the formidable Martha Kearney, is demanded by the current pace and importance of news events."

    Notice that the change is not demanded by listeners!

  • Comment number 27.

    As a loyal and long term supporter of Radio 4, I object to these changes for a number of reasons.

    I do not understand or accept the implied need for more news or current affairs coverage. We have Today, World at One, PM, Six O'clock News and The World Tonight, as well as hourly news updates. Where is the evidence that listeners want more coverage than that?

    The 1330 quiz/light entertainment slot will be missed. As a number of other people have said, it is timed in a key lunchtime slot and many will not now be able to enjoy it.

    I particularly regret the quiet dropping of the Afternoon Reading (not even mentioned in this triumphant blog posting). It is a jewel of creative entertainment in the afternoon, and it will be sorely missed.

    What happened to the simple option of reducing You and Yours by 15 minutes? I have always considered it the weakest element of the regular schedule, and would welcome a change that sharpened it by reducing its duration. Judging by the comments above, I am not alone in this view.

    Finally, I am disappointed and annoyed that this change has been announced as a fait accompli, without (as far as I know) any consultation. Is this change really what Radio 4's listeners want? If so, could you please publish the details of the studies, surveys of consultations that you undertook which led you to this conclusion.

    I fear that writing this post is a futile gesture, and that Radio 4 management and planners have no intention of taking any notice of the views of the listeners. It is, after all, too late to expect that the changes could be withdrawn at this late stage.

    I do not object to change, but the high handed way that this has been introduced (focusing on the extension of World at One, with no mention of the disruption to the schedules or the dropping of programmes), with no consultation or notice, is offensive and arrogant.

  • Comment number 28.

    Another set of changes at BBCR4...another blog/chance to make comments and opinions known. Yet why does it feel so strongly to me that this is just 'going through the motions'; and that little or nothing of what listeners express in these forums will make an iota of difference?

    Senior managers, heads of service, etc, etc, obviously think they know best....better anyway than the listeners. Auntie BEEB is become prescriptive and not a little deaf, it seems.

    How many times have I listened to the Feedback programme to hear such Decision Making Grandees attempting to make facile defence of their unpopular and unintelligble policies?

    Speaking of such, why does R4 appear continually to take such a negative attitude to drama/stories?

    Speaking with my walking cane (or is it Zimmer frame?) firmly in hand I look back to the golden days of the early 80s on R4 with, I seem to remember, a total of 6.75 hours of plays/short stories on weekday afternoons between 2 and 5. With the latest stealth attacks, the effects of which we will hear from next Monday, that early 80s figure has now dropped to 4 hours.

    Why do we only hear in BBC announcements about what's new - and nothing of what has been sacrificed to achieve in this case the extra 1.25 hours of WaO we shall have to endure each week? Perhaps, almost in the words of that notorious labour politician, BBCR4 Decisionmaking Grandees think that the maelstrom of commentary and criticism surrounding the Schedule Change creates 'a good day to bury the bad news of further losses to the R4 drama programme'.

  • Comment number 29.

    Re the slow and shameful disappearance of short story readings from Radio 4: didn't Gwyneth Williams - after much arm-twisting - promise us there would still be two new stories a week (Friday afternoon and Sunday evening)?

    Yet according to next week's schedule - which is the first week of the new arrangements - the Sunday evening slot, rather bizarrely titled "Afternoon Reading", turns out to be used for a repeat. (See
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/programmes/schedules/fm/2011/11/13 )

    Would Ms Williams like to clarify what's going on?

    Oh - and by the way, even if there are still going to be two new stories a week (increasingly doubtful by the looks of it), let's not forget - even if Radio 4 would like us to - that until just two years ago there were five a week. That's a pretty massive cut, and one that, as others have observed, seems to have been made with no reference to the listeners - quite apart from all the writers and actors who'll be affected. What arrogance. What stupidity.

  • Comment number 30.

    Another 15mins every day of pointless speculation about things that may or may not happen which will probably be superceded by the time we get to PM. More waffle and hot air all at the expense of original programming on R4 when there are so many other outlets on the BBC (5Live and BBC News). If the News reported what had actually happened, rather than what might happen, 30 mins would be quite sufficient.

  • Comment number 31.

    Phewww blime .... this will be my one and only entry to this thing ....anyway it'll probably be vetoed by the Director general bloke so lets try it .... the gymnastics needed to get in I am expecting an audiance with the pope after this ...... I will never remember how to get back in again ....... so here goes the send button....>>>

  • Comment number 32.

    I'm really pleased that World at One is gaining an extra 15 mins. Didn't it use to be 45 minutes long some time ago, when it was followed by the Archers? I love Today, World at One and above all PM with the incomparable Eddie Mair. He's the greatest!

  • Comment number 33.


  • Comment number 34.

    These programme changes are disastrous, and confirm just how out-of-touch and blinkered BBC managers are. We already have plenty of news throughout the day. I have an hour's break at lunch and I've already had my fill of news (Today) with PM to follow later. I want a variety of interesting 30 minute programmes, which I get at present - Media Show, Feedback, Round Britain Quiz etc. I won't be able to listen to any of them at other times. And what is their 15 minute replacement? The very best that the BBC spokesman on Feedback could come up with? the top of the list? "a narrative history of the Post Office"! These people are beyond parody. I deplore too the loss of story reading. Radio is the perfect medium for this - we need more spoken word fiction, not even less.

  • Comment number 35.

    CQ CQ CQ CQ BBC are you there nothing showing yet is it working???? do you need my Licence (Tax... or fee or what ever its called this week) serial number as well???? CQ CQ CQ CQ BBC

  • Comment number 36.

    Does CaroR (posting 32) not get sated, hearing the same old stuff time and time again? My listening to Radio 4 dropped off years ago when I got fed up with hearing the news every hour. Now I listen to the first ten minutes of WaO and turn off until 1.30. I shall not be bothering to turn back on next week. Cutting "Whingers' World" aka "You & Yours" would certainly get my vote.

  • Comment number 37.

    Extended World at One: More endless, depressing dreary coverage of the news we are able to hear ad infinitum at the beginning and the end of the day, not to mention the midnight slot. Like everybody else I like to keep up to date with current affairs and therefore one hour in the morning and one in the evening would give adequate coverage for both those at home and those who work. Why not scrap World at One altogether so that we can enjoy more of our favourite regular programmes? If there is an extra 15 minutes going begging please, please can we use it for plays, stories & drama? The recent petition signed by thousands proves this is what your listeners want. Having lost Radio 7 to the vastly inferior output on Radio 4Extra, we are at least spared endless news on that station (so far). The last thing we want is more news on Radio 4. I already switch the radio off during the endless news bulletins and the gaps in between will soon be hardly worth switching back on for.

  • Comment number 38.

    This extension of the lunchtime news is going to add nothing to the quality of what is already available in the morning and evening coverage and the existing half an hour slot. The random reprogramming of the regular 1.30 features has made them unavailable to those who can only listen at specific times. The decision seems arbitrary, and I cannot believe that these changes are in response to public demand. I would ask that the BBC reviews this decision as soon as possible.

  • Comment number 39.

    Still not working....why????

  • Comment number 40.

    A brilliant trail for the extended World at One just after today's Feedback. Lots of driving, urgent background music, and the small quiet voice of programme editor Nick Sutton describing the forthcoming attractions:

    "One of the things we've got lined up for the first week is an outside broadcast with Ian Duncan Smith."

    Can't wait.

  • Comment number 41.

    Strange this change, I remember when WATO was reduced back in '98 to half an hour and was quite put out, less depth and analysis but in the end as so many others have noted the programs between 1.30 and 2.00pm are some of the best on R4, Feedback is a particular favourite but Sunday night at 8pm and no "listen again" means that I will miss this bell weather of how the BBC is doing.

    I seem to remember it was condemned to some odd time before so I suppose all I have to do is wait until this fad passes,only trouble is I might not live long enough to see this one pass.

    The world has changed since '98, we have News24 for those of us who must have up to the minute news, or as I see it the endless repetition of broadly the same bit of news every 15 minutes interspersed with ever more hyperbolic speculation on the smallest scrap of information. Despite the ever increasing amount of news, there is still no in depth analysis, for that you have to rely on From Our own Correspondent, Crossing Continents or dare I say it a daily newspaper, etc etc. So do we need an extended WATO any more? No probably not, times have changed and yet more interviews with politicians who are only ever going to answer the questions that they want to answer in favour of the other more interesting, informative and entertaining programs we are about to lose from this very convenient time is a very bad move

  • Comment number 42.

    I frequently lose the will to live between 2.15 and 5.00pm, it really is the most awful, tedious part of the R4 day. Fabulous news that World at One is being extended - why can't it go to 2.00 pm? All ghastly drama/quiz progs affected can be downloaded as podcasts can't they? Surely all is available on BBC iplayer anyway.

  • Comment number 43.

    The online schedule for Thursday (and my Radio Times) has the Film Programme at 4.00 and Material World at 4.30, which contradicts the schedule on this page.

  • Comment number 44.

    I can't understand why you didn't just move The Archers back to 1.45pm (I'm sure it used to be there!). And sorry to see a reduction in short stories - they'll be much missed.

  • Comment number 45.

    Perhaps my memory is playing tricks, but wasn't there an almighty rumpus some years ago when WatO was shortened from 40 minutes to 30 and the Archers moved from 1:40 to 2pm? Has BBC management at last realised that its rationale twelve years ago was weak and the changes were unnecessary? Or is it that they just want to shake us old duffers out of our complacency? "Let's rattle their cage and watch them get annoyed"

  • Comment number 46.

    My wife and I are very upset that the regular quiz spot of 1-30 on Mondays has been changed to what another blogger has correctly described as the graveyard slot of 3-00. We regularly listen to the quiz over our lunch, but will not in future be able to do so. Shame on you!

    Ronald Goldberg.

  • Comment number 47.

    #43 Max, Thanks for that. Correcting it now, Paul

  • Comment number 48.

    There's a continuing lack of clarity about the number of new short stories in the revised schedule. In his post on "Rescheduling Radio 4" (http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/radio4/ ), Head of Planning Tony Pilgrim writes:

    "Our decision, reluctantly, was ... to drop one short story per week from the Radio 4 schedule, and to displace one per week to Sunday at 7.45 pm."

    I think what this means is: "We decided to drop one (weekday) short story altogether, and move another (weekday) short story to Sunday evenings."


    (a) I'm pretty certain there was already a short story (repeat) slot on Sunday evenings.

    (b) It looks as though that Sunday slot may well continue to be for repeats only, if they mean to carry on the way they're starting in the first week of the new schedule. (See my previous post above, No 29.)

    If so, what he should really be saying is: "We decided to drop two of the three weekday short story originations altogether. Sundays stay the same."

    For the benefit of listeners, would Tony Pilgrim - or, even better, Gwyneth Williams - like to clarify the state of play? Unless, of course, the cloud of confusion helps to conceal the brutal reality of these cuts.

  • Comment number 49.

    I agree withh all the comments about yet more news, views and comment. We really don't need another 15 minutes in the middle of the day if it means diluting the diversity of the R4 offering. I love BBC radio, but I think it's taking me for granted a bit at the moment...

  • Comment number 50.

    I am very disappointed at the changes. I have enjoyed all the programmes previously scheduled at 1.30, and I really dont need more news. The 1.30 programmes have now been put at times in the day when I am usually busy. This is the first time I have written in to my favourite station, which I have listened to for most of my adult life. It makes me feel sad. I expect to change to Radio 3, where there are usually good programmes I have regretted missing.

  • Comment number 51.

    There goes lunchtime.

    A half hour of Martha Kearney bleating on about the same old nonsense that every other news programme had already done to death has been balanced by programmes that have been both informative and entertaining before turning the radio off when the Archers theme tune fires up. It won't be worth turning the radio on now. Oh, well, there is always RadioLab

  • Comment number 52.

    Pleasant though it might be to be in a position to listen to the radio every afternoon, I only get the chance to do so after having escaped from the saltmine on a Friday and joined the long wearying commute home via the sclerotic motorway network of the Midlands. Maintaining the will to live during this weekly purgatory is only possible because of the existence of Radio Four and the soothing rhythm of Afternoon Play, Gardeners' Question Time, Last Word et al. Shame about losing The Film Programme, but we like More or Less and Feedback as well - though Roger Bolton shouldn't really try jokes, we feel - so the world will not shift too far on its axis. And somebody complained earlier about too many news bulletins: get away with you! It's a couple of minutes every hour updating those of us who take an interest in what's happening in the world. If too much actualite offends, hie thee to R4 Extra, where as often as not it's still the 1950s.

  • Comment number 53.

    HURRAY! I am looking forward to the extended programme. Can't wait.

  • Comment number 54.

    I am disappointed about the increased news coverage - there's too much already, and I wonder if the Sunday evening programmes of Analysis and the Week in Westminster might be changed to more something a little more creative.......

  • Comment number 55.

    Even more news on R4! No! No! No! There are a multitude of news' broadcasts to choose from 24/7 but only one R4. If the R4 Controller asked R4 listeners their primary reason for tuning into the station, I'm positive (especially given the comments in this blog) the vast majority of responses would not be: 'because of the news'. Why doesn't the R4 Controller simply rebrand R4 as R24 News and be done with it. No more scheduling issues then!

  • Comment number 56.

    I like the sound of a meteor falling on Ambridge. Or maybe something like Midwich Cuckoos? Or zombies..! Yes, all three.

    I'd also like to hear the sound of an axe on all the religious stuff.
    Especially Thought for the Day. Or change its name to Sermon of the Day.

  • Comment number 57.

    If the BBC must make cuts, cut these people who have absolutely nothing useful to do and who must justify their existance by coming up with ridiculous schedules that nobody wants. I am interested in current affairs, but in the context that I'm interested also in most programmes on R4 and R3. Already on R4 we have 3 hrs of Today, 1 hr of PM, half an hour of news at 6pm, 3/4hr of current affairs at 10pm and half an hr of news at midnight. Who on earth wants more? There is absolutely no need for this extra 15 min at 1.30. The 1/4 hr slot left is a mess and the necessary rejigging of the rest of the day's schedule is a mess too.The The excellent programmes that filled the 1.30 to 2.00pm slot are now at a time that interrupts ones afternoon.

  • Comment number 58.

    I was sorry when the World at One was reduced to just half an hour, as it was always one of the best news programmes of the day uncluttered by too many set piece interviews or jokie fillers .

    But please, please can we get rid of these endless hourly bulletins that say exactly the same thing over and over and over again!! Fine on commercial pop channels where people only listen with half an ear, but just not suited to R4 listening.

  • Comment number 59.

    Contrary to the view held by the writer of an earlier post, I find radio a superb medium for nature programmes. It is similar to the experience of listening to a play; in the hands of an expert broadcaster the sound picture created is better than any tv spectacular.

  • Comment number 60.

    It is the systemic arrogance of those responsible for changes such as these which concerns me. Another example is the removal of radio programmes including Radio 4 from Digital Freeview in the evenings and weekends in favour of ALBA which is of no interest to people in my area of northern Scotland or anywhere near me. Until there is a change in this approach I fear for a medium which I cherish.
    One last point - am I alone in finding irritating the continual trailers resulting for example in the reduction in time for weather forecasts? Let us hope this additional 15 minutes on WatO is not partially used to further this or as is becoming more prevalent to give air time to advertising.

  • Comment number 61.

    Hello langhamstreet

    Tony Pilgrim, Radio 4's head of scheduling, has sent over a clarification in response to your comments regarding short stories (#29, #48 on The Radio 4 schedule changes on Monday 7 November and on Nick Sutton's World at One post, #1).
    From Tony:

    "We will definitely have two short stories per week as an average across the financial year from next financial year, beginning April 2012. We are sticking to our commitment for the remainder of this financial year to end March, which is for a higher number than this, it just happens that the way the scheduling has worked out we have repeats for a couple of weeks on the next two Sundays at 1945."

    Many thanks,
  • Comment number 62.

    FAO Tony Pilgrim:

    Thanks for your response (No 61, above).

    I think that's a little clearer, but even if there are "two [new?] short stories per week as an average" from April 2012, and "a higher number than this" from now till the end of March, these fluctuating figures suggest a rather random and erratic scheduling of stories.

    Even if this isn't the case, the net effect of the reduction in output is that story readings stop being a serious presence on the network, as they were when they ran through the weekday schedule like the proverbial letters through a stick of rock.

    In the revamped schedule, short stories seem likely become not much more than occasional fillers that nobody remembers to listen to; or every now and then they'll become over-hyped "special events" - Johnny Depp reads a specially-commissioned new story by Quentin Tarantino! Recorded in his hotel room at the Dorchester while in London to promote his latest 'Pirates' movie!

    Total rubbish, of course, but what fantastic publicity for the network...

    It's a far cry from just two years ago, when - let's not forget - there was a new short story every weekday, at a regular time, and Radio 4 was still a serious patron of writers and actors and creativity.

    And just to compound the irony, I see R4 has also just announced that "the art of sound, storytelling and listening" are to be "celebrated" on the network next March in some new programmes with the ubiquitous Melvyn Barg (see http://www.bbc.co.uk/ariel/15540549 ).

    So that's the message: we "celebrate" storytelling, but we don't actually do it any more.

  • Comment number 63.

    ...Or at least, we don't do it very much any more.

  • Comment number 64.

    I listen to Radio 4 for variety. However, with Today on my way to work, and PM on the way home, the addition of yet more current affairs during my precious lunch break in not what I would have wished for.

  • Comment number 65.

    Having just listened to the first 45 minute news, all the worst fears of the commenters before me were realised. It was mostly politicians pontificating on what will happen in the future. Please note: NOBODY knows how long the recession will last, so stop asking them.

    Oh ... and the arts were represented by a (mercifully short) chunk of Radio 1 type noise.

  • Comment number 66.

    This has been said above, but it would have caused less disruption to cut down the whingers' programme 'You and Yours', particularly its tedious phone-ins, and put the entertaining and informative programmes from the 1.30 slot on at 12.30, returning to the pattern of some years ago.

  • Comment number 67.

    I have just listened to the extended WatO - apologies to the other claimants to these letters! - and what did we get in the last 15 minutes but an advertisement for Microsoft and another for some pop group who claimed the right to "WatO" not to mention plugs. I rest my case!!

  • Comment number 68.

    Congratulations on what is a thankless task as evidenced by all of this feedback. As a self confessed Radio 4 addict of over 30 years standing I understand what a difficult job this is and I don't envy you.

  • Comment number 69.

    You are not alone, OrkneyM (No. 60) in finding irritating the continual trailers resulting for example in the reduction in time for weather forecasts. Particularly bad is the Today weather forecast at 7.59(!) when we get a gabbled 30 seconds forecast followed by a leisurely 30 seconds of trailer before the pips at 8,00. The forecasters do their best but the Today presenters should stop hogging the airwaves and give more time for the most relevant weather forecast of the day.

  • Comment number 70.

    OH GREAT – MORE NEWS ...why? Because it’s cheap presumably.

    I now won’t hear a number of my favourite programmes.
    Thanks Radio 4.

  • Comment number 71.

    BIG MISTAKE extending the World at One - in what is for many a busy lunchhour a tight, concise 30 minute bulletin, often followed by a lighter half hour show was the ideal mix. If it ain't broke.....

    It may have looked good on paper - but I feel sure you will lose the working audience at that time.

  • Comment number 72.

    I feel the World at One as a 30 minute programme was well focused on the news and particularly convenient if you did not have much time at lunchtime to catch the news from a quality news programme. On many occasions I enjoyed the range of interesting half hour programmes that followed in the 30 minute World at One up to 1400hrs, not least the Media Show and Round Britain Quiz. I feel the 45 minute World at One slot was not necessary and now some of the new content seems to have lost the pithy and informative news focused strengths of a half hour programmes. I shall miss the programmes that would have followed a 30 minute World at One and don't find the assortment of their rearranged times at all convenient. I hope the BBC will do some independent research to check listeners' views on these changes as I cannot believe they will be welcomed by many lunchtime Radio 4 listeners.

  • Comment number 73.

    I am extremely unhappy about these recent changes to BBC Radio 4 schedules. Although I am of "mature" years and long-since retired, I do have a life outside listening to radio. Consequently, I do much of my listening during mealtimes and I am sure I am not alone in thoroughly enjoying the marvellous variety of programmes you used to broadcast betwen 1.30 and 2.00 pm. Alas however, no more and I am afraid I'm off to Radio 3, RTE Lyric FM or Classic FM with my lunch.
    Finally, having wrecked my lunchtime listening, please do not now turn your attention to wrecking the 6.30 pm slot.
    John Shearer

  • Comment number 74.

    I am self employed and listen to R4 all day and have done since graduating in 1995. I can't understand why there has to be so much news coverage, we have BBC News 24 and R5 live. Most of the contents of the news is already puffed up with speculation instead of real news and trivial nonsense such as Kittygate or whatever you called it. The news on R4 is often the most low brow part of the line up, narrowly beaten by You and Yours - why couldn't that have been cut instead of all the good stuff? I admit Eddie Mair is entertaining but he could be used on a proper program instead of a prequel to the news, which is then repeated without the jokes at six o'clock.

  • Comment number 75.

    NEWS NEWS AND MORE BLOODY NEWS. I realise Radio 4 is now trying to sound more like the poverty-stricken American PBS, but these changes are terrible and need to be rethought. What's left of the BBC World Service was reduced to a rolling diet of news and current affairs some time ago. Radio 5 covers news continuously for much of the tday - even Radio 3 is now littered with bulletins in the mornings. On Radio 4, we get news of one type in You and Yours, now immediately followed by 45mins of the World at One. The scheduling of (supposedly) drama in the form of the Archers, immediately followed by the Afternoon Play is (and has been for years) equally stupid. Clearly those responsible don't actually LISTEN to the radio as it is broadcast.

  • Comment number 76.

    I'd just loke to add my voice to the many others who are unhappy with the lunchtime schedule change. Why the need to pad out WOrld at One and deprive us of the excellent programmes which filled the 1.30 to 2.00 slot is beyond me. We're only four days in, I'm brain dead and switching to Classic FM over lunch, only retuning at 2.00 for "The Archers".

  • Comment number 77.

    I'm not really fussed either way about WatO being extended. I am sad about the loss of the 1.30 slot, as there were some interesting things on then. But the move that's most frustrating to me is shifting the Film Programme.

    Mon-Thurs I finish work at 5pm and listen to PM on the way home. On a Friday, we finish at 4.30, so I can listen to the fantastic Film Programme on the way home and hopefully get some pointers on what to see at the flicks over the weekend. There's next to no chance I'm likely to hear it at 4pm on a Thursday.

    Yes, I can listen again. I have the RSS feed on my blog page, so I know when there's a new programme to listen to. But that sort of defeats the object of listening on the way home at the end of a long week.

    But I can't complain. I got so sick of the lack of content on television that I no longer have a TV licence, so I'm not paying for any of this.

  • Comment number 78.

    Thanks for the Radio 4 article on Windows 7 infection. I had no sooner switched off after the programme than I received the same telephone call word for word. I put down the 'phone after a brief chat.

  • Comment number 79.

    I detect another excuse for cost cutting! It is the use of an Omnibus programme - this time replacing I assume permanently the Friday Play at 21.00. Is there no end to it all?

  • Comment number 80.

    Just listened to "Laurels and Donkeys" - superb and very moving - When you get it right Radio 4 you really get it right - many thanks. Shame I've got to wait till 4.30 for "Feedback"

  • Comment number 81.

    It isn't The World at One that should have been extended: it's The World Tonight -- that's much the most informative current affairs programme that I've heard (or seen) on BBC, with good international coverage that doesn't occur elsewhere.

  • Comment number 82.

    Further to my posting 69, credit where credit's due - the last 3 mornings the 7.59 weather forecast on the Today programme has taken place at 7.57. Well done, Today presenters, for not rabbiting on too long!

  • Comment number 83.

    We wish to add our complaint to all those others regarding the new Radio 4 lunchtime schedules. As active retirees we used to enjoy our snack lunch listening to WatO (30mins of Martha was enough!) followed by the Quizzes, Muusic docs, Off the Page, etc . Sadly they are all now at later times when we have moved away from the Radio to do other things (minding grand children etc!). And as for moving Roger Bolton & Feedback to 4.30pm on a Friday!! A very cynical move in our opinion. Cannot help but conclude that this to avoid airing listeners' comments to a wider audience. We hope that the BBC get lots of complaints and have the courage to reverse these decisions.

  • Comment number 84.

    We are just over a week into the BBC Radio 4 changes and I think I will give up listening. I used to enjoy my lunch time with Radio 4 - half an hour of news and comment and then half an hour of entertainment. The extended news slot has added nothing to the information content - just longer pieces. And then a fifteen minute science and history lesson. My lunch time break is to relax and enjoy!

  • Comment number 85.

    Hello All

    I've done a post of two radio critics' responses (Gillian Reynolds in the Telegraph and Miranda Sawyer in the Observer) to the extended WATO. The post is here and links to the pieces in question.

    Also Radio 4's controller is on Feedback this Friday (at its new time) when Roger Bolton will no doubt be asking about the new schedule and how it's going.

    Thanks Paul

  • Comment number 86.

    Thank you Radio 4, my owner has a new lease of life. Until now 1pm to 2.15pm was very boring while she listened to the radio. Now we can go out for walks, tidy the garden and go visiting my doggy friends - it's an extra hour and a quarter when I have her attention. Finnegan
    PS: we catch up with "The Archers" on Sunday


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