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The BBC's International Radio Streams During the Olympics

Friday 27 July 2012, 16:41

Mark Friend Mark Friend Controller

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UPDATE (29 July): After discussion, the IOC and the BBC have agreed that there is no need to block our international streams of Radio 4 programmes with a wide news agenda. Radio 5 Live (apart from the news programme Up All Night) and 5 Live Olympics Extra will remain available only in the UK. The Chris Evans Breakfast Show on Radio 2 will also now be available internationally. Radio 5 Live Sports Extra coverage of non Olympic Sports will be available as normal.

Original post (27 July): One of the benefits of the BBC's online radio streams is that listeners all over the world can enjoy just about all our programmes live and on demand.

Unfortunately, there are some types of content where we are restricted from distributing overseas, usually because of sports rights. The impact of this will be very noticeable throughout the Olympic Games because the BBC has the rights to broadcast from Olympic venues only to the UK.

This is what happened on the Today Programme this morning. When parts of BBC radio programmes are broadcast from an Olympic site, the live and on demand stream will be blocked to international audiences for the duration of that segment. International audiences will hear a message informing them of the rights restrictions in place.

Some entire BBC radio stations will only be available in the UK for the duration of the Games. For example, BBC Radio 5 live, BBC Radio 5 live sports extra and BBC Radio 5 live olympics extra all have substantial coverage from the Olympic sites and will be blocked to international audiences.

When whole, or large parts of, programmes are broadcast from an Olympic site, the entire programme will be blocked to international audiences. The frequency of this may vary. For example:

  • Radio 2's Chris Evans' Breakfast Show is broadcasting from the Olympic Park and will be blocked to international audiences for the duration of the Games.
  • Radio 4's Today Programme was broadcast from the Olympic Park on Friday 27 July and therefore blocked to international audiences on that day.

In some cases, when only parts of programmes are broadcast from an Olympic site, it may be possible to block the Olympics segment and make the rest of the programme available internationally. This will apply to many editions of Radio 4's Today Programme.

Mark Friend is Controller Multi-platforms & Interactive BBC Audio and Music.

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    Comment number 1.

    Quite simply the BBC has agreed to censor NEWS not just a sports programme. This has never happened before and it's a disgrace. The BBC used to be a beacon of freedom and independence. That has now completely gone and my respect for the BBC has gone with it.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 2.

    I utterly understand why Radio 5 commentary etc. will be blocked, but to block a pre-Olympics interview, which just happened to be at an Olympic venue, is madness - that was on WATO. Can't you send the stream back to HQ and broadcast from there for news items, it seems to me that would be entirely in the spirit of the rights agreement.

    I assume this blocking was the reason I was unable to hear the last five minutes of an afternoon play about Zola Budd.

    Also, why not just do silence, rather than the aggravatingly overfast repetition of the due to rights restrictions message.

  • Comment number 3.

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

  • rate this
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    Comment number 4.

    Why must the entire the Today programme, and now PM, be blocked?

  • rate this
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    Comment number 5.

    I presume the news programme 'PM' is "unavailbale" (as your high-speed voice keeps telling me) because of some sort of Olympic censorship.
    By the way, please inform me if I have just broken the law by using the words 'olympic' and 'censorship' together. I don't want the police banging on my door.
    Will you get your 'voice' to tell us when we can listen to the news again and also what parts (as opposed to 'this part') of the programme will be available?

 

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