A Year in Review - Sport and Cultural Events
"A typical edition featured South Koreans talking to
Togolese in Lomé about the previous day's match between their countries,
helped by fans of Germany and Poland and with contributions from Saudi
Arabia, France and Switzerland"
The world's most exciting football tournament, the World Cup, dominated
the year's line-up of sport and events. BBC World Service brought a
new dimension to its coverage, fielding 30 reporters speaking 33 languages
to bring listeners all the latest news and analysis from Germany. Fans everywhere
were invited to take part in the discussion and express their views.
'For 2006 we vividly captured the extent to which the World Cup is
now a social and political phenomenon,' says then Senior Commissioning
Editor Neil Curry. 'We were able to show how the tournament had caught
the imagination of so much of the population in each of the countries involved.
By setting up outside broadcast points, we could hear from places like a bar
in Ghana packed with fans talking about African stars and from those in Germany
who were following their team.'
World Cup Have Your Say took interactivity a step further by establishing
a dedicated radio and online forum that gave supporters everywhere a chance
to let off steam. 'It linked fans of countries that were due to play
each other all around the world, and joined up those in Germany with those
at home,' says the programme's editor Mark Sandell. 'A
typical edition featured South Koreans talking to Togolese in Lomé about the
previous day's match between their countries, helped by fans of Germany
and Poland and with contributions from Saudi Arabia, France and Switzerland.'
From the first day, the issue of refereeing dominated comments, emails and
text messages. 'It seems most had an opinion - sometimes good but
mostly bad - about the men in black,' says reporter Gill Farrington.
The interest in the performance of African countries was especially intense.
'We received a huge number of texts and calls when World Cup Have Your Say
chose the subject of African football,' says producer Martin Vennard. 'Our
resident Ghanaian, Vera Kwakofi, and Nigerian and African football expert Osasu
Obayiuwana agreed that an African team would eventually win the World Cup as
long as African administrators get their act together.'
BBC World Service programme-makers captured the humour of the tournament
as well as the drama. Two reporters toured the World Cup venues in the World
Service's own World Cup camper van to speak to fans, critics and local
people. Supporters who could not make it to Germany joined in by posting comments
to their blog.
'We spent our last evening in Germany at the Togo versus France match
in Cologne,' says Rebecca Kesby, one of the pair. 'Great game,
fantastic, noisy atmosphere, good way to end the trip. The tram to the ground
was full of German fans shouting Togo songs but carrying French baguettes and
huge wooden cockerels, painted in Togo colours. Typical bizarre behaviour of
this World Cup.'
"For 2006 we captured the extent to which the World
Cup is now a social and political phenomenon."
WORLD OF FOOTBALL
BBC Swahili brought the best football to fans across East
and Central Africa with the launch of its football programme, BBC Ulimwengu
Wa Soka (BBC World Of Football).
One of the BBC's FM partner stations
described how members of a funeral party had been observed rushing out clutching
their radios to listen to coverage of the English Premiership.
English Premier League is very popular in Africa as many of the UK teams have
legions of fans across the continent,' says Solomon Mugera Omollo, Head
of BBC Swahili. He continues, 'figures show that the Premiership
coverage is rivalling some of our news and current affairs programmes.'
BBC - Many voices,