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Listen to the latest editionHomepage of The Media Show, Radio4's weekly look at the media.  Wednesday 1.30pm.

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28 January 2009

News 24 newsgallery during Hutton Inquiry
Steve Hewlett interviews the chairman of the BBC Trust Sir Michael Lyons, discovers why weekly black newspaper The New Nation has gone into administration and what that means for the future of the black press in the UK. And exactly five years after it was published, he is joined by Greg Dyke to look back at The Hutton report.

Sir Michael Lyons, Chairman of the BBC Trust

Sir Michael Lyons outside Broadcasting HouseSir Michael Lyons. the chairman of the BBC Trust talks to Steve about the role of the BBC Trust, PSB review, the future of Channel 4, BBC Worldwide, the Gaza charity appeal and whether Jonathan Ross is paid too much.

New Nation

New Nation latest coverThe New Nation newspaper is one of only two national papers established specifically to serve Britain’s black communities. But revenues have fallen, circulation is down and the paper is now in the throes of administration. So what stories might be lost if it doesn't find a buyer and is there a long term future for Britain’s black press? Steve talks to former editor of the paper, Lester Holloway.

The Hutton Report - Five Years On

News 24 gallery during Hutton report in January 2004Exactly five years ago today the Hutton report into the circumstances of the death of government weapons expert Dr David Kelly was published. A broadcast by Andrew Gilligan on the Today programme used Dr Kelly as the source of a report claiming that the Labour government had knowlingly "sexed-up" a report about Iraq and weapons of mass destruction. At the conclusion of his enquiry, Lord Hutton’s criticism of the BBC was damning. Steve talks to former director general of the BBC, Greg Dyke, and Steve Richards, Chief political columnist for the Independent.

Comments on Today's programme

BBC Trust:
Mr H, Great interview with Sir Michael
Peter Porcupine

I found it extraordinary that Michael Lyons didn't think the Trust should have a view on talent salaries. I find that hard to reconcile with The Trust's first responsibility, to protect the interests of the Licence Fee payer. I like Jonathan Ross and think he's a talented broadcaster, but I can't really see we are better served by the BBC paying him a huge salary to remain rather than go to another broadcaster. Both Ross and Graham Norton began their careers on Channel 4, which cannot afford the salaries the BBC pays. Did the BBC need to poach them and would it have mattered if they'd gone to ITV instead? That is a question the BBC Trust should address.
Kris Jones

I tuned in to Steve Hewlett’s Media Show programme on Radio 4 today (28/01/09) and heard him interviewing someone who’s control-freakery tone of language and patronising manner convinced me it was Peter Mandelson. Right through the interview his slippery evasiveness and condescending responses (answers to questions they were not) indicated this was an unprincipled politician. Imagine my surprise when, at the end of the interview, Steve Hewlett said it was Michael Lyons, the Chaiman of the BBC Trust.I was so amazed that this oily erk could possibly be the Chairman of the BBC Trust that I visited the BBC Radio 4 website to replay the interview. I’m now under no illusion that if his is the controlling influence over a panel that is supposedly looking after the best interests of us, the licence-payers, then we are up the creek without a paddle.

With regard to the independence (or otherwise) of the BBC Trust - I was very worried by the demeanour of the Trust Chairman, Sir Michael Lyons during his attendance at the recent meeting of the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee He frequently referred to the BBC as "us" and the Corporation’s policies as "ours" - unconsciously revealing a much cosier relationship than I would have thought desirable.So who represents the licence fee payers ? Edward Wheatley Norfolk

Black Press:
The demise of the 'black press' should be greeted as a sign of real integration in Britain. Identifying groups that need specific press (or anything else) only serves to highlight differences.

Where is Oprah?
After listening the extensive US election coverage on BBC and Radio 4--all programmes including ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5, etc. always make some reference to Oprah. The "O" magazine is now sold in the UK. However, my question is, WHERE IS THE OPRAH show?? It used to be shown on ITV 2 (about 3 months out of date but so be it). ITV says it has not renewed the contract with no other explanation. ITV then claimed it had a ratings drop!! Are the two related?!!I do not subscribe to SKY TV nor do I want to. I do own a FREEVIEW box. Still I cannot find the Oprah TV show broadcast anywhere in this country. I have always lived internationally and until now, have been able to view the Oprah show in several countries around the world but not here.Is their any reason for this that you know of? Is this discrimination in any way of the Black Press?
Debra Ziegler

Jonathan Ross:
I was disappointed to read that, even after his suspension, Friday Night with Jonathan Ross had to be heavily edited. I quite enjoyed his show this week except for the farting remark he made to Tom Cruise who was obviously embarrassed as was Stephen Fry. Can J Ross not understand that he has to exercise some degree of censorship? He is in his 40s for goodness sake! His own self-importance, which has been confirmed by the far too high salary he is being paid, has blinded his moral responsiblility as a broadcaster into people's homes. Frank Skinner had it right-it IS a priviliedge to be on TV and a responsibility. Please get rid of him and employ someone who can be funny as well as grown up.
Valerie Taylor 

Your website gives 42,000 as the number of complaints received about the Andrew Sachs fiasco. Coincidentally, that's nearly the number of households (43,010) whose licence fee goes straight into Jonathan Ross's back pocket, if the reported salary (£6,000,000!) is correct.Nobody, doing ANY job, is worth anything like that amount of money, least of all a mediocre radio and television presenter. Divide that figure by 100 and you'd be somewhere near a reasonable figure. If he doesn't want to work for that amount, let him go elsewhere.
Keith Hyde

Gaza appeal:
When I enter mt local Tesco on a weekend there is usually a charity worker with a tin. I find it a bit of a nerve - the charity taking advantage of holding out a collection box in a narrow aisle but, they keep quiet if you walk by. In the last week we've had a group of charities make a request which, when politely turned down caused them to raise the roof. Is this turning 'charity' into 'begging'? It's as if a refusal to a charity worker would cause them to yell at you that you are greedy. The charities concerned are using BBC bashing to gain themselves publicity worth hundreds of thousands of pounds if they'd had to pay for it. These 'charities' have not come out of this affair smelling of roses. My local working mens club has NEVER put an obituary in a paper to ensure it doesn't make the obvious mistake of missing someone out. Everyone accepts this. What would have happened if the BBC HAD transmitted the charity request and the next inter-country war was a Ruanda - who would decide who needed most help.
Dave Baldwin 

Channel 4:
Belatedly, I want to say that I would be totally against C4 merging with Five. As I have written before, C4 has a terrible track record with the way it has treated certain shows, whereas Five are excellent at giving a show a slot and sticking to it, come what may. Early on, Five gave a commitment that CSI (for example) would always be on at 9pm, if that is where it started its run. As a VIEWER, I welcome that. I am completely uninterested in how C4 is funded; I assumed it was by ads anyway.C4 regularly plays fast & loose with what it considers to be "cult" TV, regularly moving slots or even simply giving up on shows halfway through a series, not to mention moving the final season of a show (Six Feet Under) to a channel not everyone can receive.I would be most unhappy if they got their sticky fingers on Five.
Alison Keys
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The Media Show

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1 October 2008
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8 October 2008
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Ofcom's PSB Review, Ross' return and British News
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Steve Hewlett

Steve Hewlett

Steve Hewlett is a Guardian Columnist and broadcasting consultant. He is visiting Professor of Journalism and Broadcast policy at Salford University and a fellow of the Royal Television Society.

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