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5 live's Olympics: bringing you the greatest radio you've ever heard

London 2012 torch-bearer

In just ten weeks, it will be the start of an Olympics and Paralympic Games on home soil - for many of us for the first and probably only time in our lives. As you would expect, the BBC will be undertaking its biggest ever broadcast operation to mark the occasion. Radio has always been able to reflect huge Olympic moments in a legacy stretching right back to Berlin in 1936 and I am proud that 5 live will be adding to that legacy this year.

Our aim is to bring you radio coverage of sport as you've never heard it before. On BBC Radio 5 live you will be able to hear the whole 2012 story unfold across both the Olympic and Paralympic Games. We will cover London 2012 with a new schedule, a brand new digital station and a record 580 broadcast hours across the event.

Radio 5 live will be our flagship, carrying the very best commentary plus all the latest news, analysis and colour from the Games. 5 live Olympics Extra, a brand new station running throughout the Olympic Games will provide extra choice of extended commentary during the day and overnight will broadcast the key moments from the two networks. It will be available on DAB and online, and will give listeners the chance to access the excitement and drama of the Games 24 hours a day.

There'll be a special programme schedule but featuring familiar 5 live voices such as Nicky Campbell and Rachel Burden (Breakfast), Victoria Derbyshire and Mark Chapman (10am-2pm), Peter Allen and Colin Murray (2pm-6.30pm) and Mark Pougatch (evenings) broadcasting live from the Olympic Park each day. Each day after the events finish Tony Livesey will continue the coverage with reaction and discussion from all over the UK. Ian Payne and Anna Foster will host the action on 5 live Olympics Extra.

Great sporting moments deserve great radio commentary and I believe we have put together a team who can deliver moments of triumph and drama which you will always remember. From Mike Costello at the athletics to Alan Green at the rowing, from Simon Brotherton covering cycling to Bob Ballard at the swimming and Alison Mitchell at the Gymnastics, we're aiming to capture live all of the biggest moments. Our regular football and tennis teams will be following those tournaments while Jonathan Agnew will be in the familiar surroundings of Lord's but this time covering archery and Darren Fletcher will be alongside the boxing ring. John Murray will describe the opening and closing ceremonies.

Alongside the commentators, I think our team of experts and summarisers is second to none. It includes Olympic greats like James Cracknell (rowing), Darren Campbell, (4x 100m relay), Pippa Wilson (sailing), Steve Backley, (javelin), Katharine Merry (400m), and the irrepressible Kriss Akabusi (4 x400m relay).

It's a huge task operationally and technically to cover every significant event across the many venues but years of planning mean we're confident of meeting all of the challenges. We'll use the flexibility of radio to switch from location to location and create a complete picture of everything that's going on.

Whether it's Gold for Team GB, issues around transport or security or the relevance of it all to the rest of the UK, 5 live will give you the whole story and a chance to share your experiences and views of the Games wherever you are.

Ahead of the Games themselves, listen out for what Colin Murray describes as 'by far the biggest project of his career' as he embarks on his Gold Run from May 20. Colin will attempt to track down and speak to every one of Britain's 114 living Olympic gold medal winners, hearing their stories and reliving their moment of glory. Colin's mission will finish on Sunday July 15 with a special two hour programme.

Radio 1's Dave Vitty will set the scene and explain to both parents and children what to look out for at London 2012 in the Kids' Guide to the Olympics on Saturday July 7 and 14.

I'm also proud that Radio 5 live will lead the BBC's coverage of the Paralympic Games starting on August 29, across 5 live and 5 live sports extra. The pre-eminent Paralympian of her age Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson leads 5 live's commentary team, alongside former swimmer Marc Woods, winner of 4 Paralympic Golds.

Every weekday of the Paralympics, John Inverdale, and Shelagh Fogarty will present from the Olympic Park between 12 and 2pm. Olympic medallist Steve Parry and former 400m runner Allison Curbishley also join the team.

We'll be broadcasting a special documentary mapping the progress of some Paralympic hopefuls in the run up to the Paras on July 1 on 5 live. Russell Fuller will speak to several competitors, including Stef Reid telling how she became involved in elite Paralympic sport and her hopes and aspirations for London 2012.

As we count down the days, we are still putting the finishing touches to our plans. I have only been able to give the headlines here so keep listening to hear much more. The Olympics are often described as the greatest show on radio - we want to use the opportunity to bring you some of the greatest radio you've ever heard.

Adrian Van-Klaveren is controller of BBC Radio 5 live, 5 live Sports Extra and 5 live Olympics Extra.


  • Comment number 1.

    Before people start posting that the games are a waste of time/money & are dominating the schedules, I've got to say I can't wait for the Olympics to start and will probably be listening to most of day via Radio Five Live. It's excellent to see that Ian Payne & Mark Pougatch will be part of the radio team. It's a shame there's no Inverdale, but hopefully he's on the TV.

    BUT... please can somebody please explain what Colin Murray adds to serious sports coverage? I know this is only my opinion but all the comments I ever read on other forums/media comments are overwhelmingly negative. I assume the BBC undertake research into their programmes and there are people who love him?

  • Comment number 2.

    Agree with yr observations, mistered5; am sure the coverage will be very well done. concur with your views re Colin Murray too and would like to see your question answered as to what he adds to serious sports coverage; maybe they think that a flippant irreverant take/slant will attract the younger demographic for which they seem to be constantly striving - as if younger people cannot handle intelligent non -'quirky' coverage?

  • Comment number 3.

    Media professionals obviously like Murray he has presented Sports shows for Channel 5 as well as the BBC, as well as non Sport shows for Channel 4 and ITV, anyway since when have Forums been accurate representation of public opinion?

    Going on to Alan Green, his commentary on the Rowing last time round was legendary, i have tried searching for the Audio on youtube but to no avail, Adrian could you get 1 of your minions to put it on this Blog, i would love to hear it again.

    Finally why no Sony Blog? 5live has been successful AGAIN, surely you would like to shove a postive Blog down the sceptics throats? (metaphorically of course)

  • Comment number 4.

    agree with you Fed reAlan Green's commentary on the rowing - his commentary when Redgrave et al got that last gold was spine tingling. however, don't think we need a resume of Murray's career - it doesn't answer the simple question does it?

  • Comment number 5.

    Looking forward to your Olympics coverage.
    I have one question that does not appear to have been addressed elsewhere
    What are the plans for Sports Extra during the Games - will there be additional coverage there, or will it cover non-Olympics events e.g test cricket??

  • Comment number 6.

    Pollyowls: Good question. Sports Extra will broadcast our non-Olympic sports coverage. So yes, the Test Cricket will be part of that.

  • Comment number 7.

    Gosh. All sounds jolly grand!

  • Comment number 8.

    ... successful AGAIN Fed. You must be having trouble containing yourself!

    Danny Baker's it goes without saying is massively deserved. The rest? There turn on the rota I suggest. If you like Olympics the above seems good. Cannot understand the love in with Colin Murray but I've voiced this before. Happy to see with one notable exception that I'm not alone.

  • Comment number 9.

    As a regular listener in North Carolina, will the Olympic Games coverage by the BBC be blocked as are many other sporting events such as the Premier League, F1 etc? I listen to the BBC on my computer at work and on an Internet radio at home.

  • Comment number 10.

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

  • Comment number 11.

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

  • Comment number 12.

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

  • Comment number 13.

    I can hardly sleep at night with the thought of the Olympics coming soon too 5live.How I am looking forward to hearing wave after wave of over excitable and hysterical commentators voices reaching decibels fit to burst the speaker on your radio with the well versed and predictable ' He's done, he's done it..' only to be followed the next day by ' She's done it , she's done it....' and of course who could forget the mighty ' Have you ever seen anything like that.....Steve ? Darren ?Katherine ? ( cross out where applicable ).It will be so lovely to hear the Sony broadcaster of the year ( ??? ) as well ,when she is not telling all and sundry that she has won yet another award or is hung over from the night before and has the added bonus no travelling up north from the family home.The Olympics can't come soon enough........£24 billion well spent I'd say, don't you ?

  • Comment number 14.

    It will be marvellous, because that's is all we are allowed to believe

  • Comment number 15.

    You WILL all enjoy it on the great 5live radio and there will and must be no exceptions !!!

  • Comment number 16.

    Given that it's only two weeks and sometimes I will be there, I think I will watch tv on the other occasions there is some amazing race or whatever. I know there are some great historic commentaries we hear repeated, but actually there's nothing like seeing something, don't you think? And waiting for an iconic commentary that may never come is a bit of a waste of time.

    I share the views about Murray.

  • Comment number 17.

    Will,any luck in finding that Alan Green Audio?

    As for the rest of the comments (apart from 9 and possibly 16), i actually mistakenly thought i was reading the comment section in the Daily Mail, all we need now is a hundred Red arrows for each comment, and suddenly we have a Daily Mail Comment Section duplicate on the 5lve Blog......................

  • Comment number 18.

    Use of Olympics commentary is rights restricted online (and for a lot of other sports too) so it's hard for us to put clips up.

    As for comments. Like I've said previously, people are absolutely entitled to their opinion, and not everyone's going to like every aspect of a network's output. Constructive criticism is fine, but rude and offensive remarks do break House Rules.

  • Comment number 19.

    I agree with you Will, I do enjoy reading these negative missives, i welcome them with open arms.

  • Comment number 20.

    As the hype of the Olympics continues relentlessly on 5live ,would it therefore not be appropriate to introduce more competition for 5live commentators ? Listeners could vote for who should take the gold medal for shouting the loudless so as to appear more times on your overly loud trailers.Listeners could also count the number of well known cliques given at any one time during events by presenters/commentators and the winner takes all.I think this would put a nice edge to the coverage in line with the Olympic spirit.

  • Comment number 21.

    I don't understand what you mean, GingerTomkins (#20). Could you explain the phrase, "shouting the loudless"? And could you tell us what "well known cliques" are?

  • Comment number 22.

    No RAJAR report? For the record, 5 live is down 4.3% year on year. Maybe its transition into a northern radio station and endless "down the line" interviews is having a negative effect?

    I am very much looking forward to the five live coverage of the Olympics. It will be great to see our capital city on the world stage, even if five live has sadly turned its back on it. How much will it cost to relocate the station back to London for two weeks?

  • Comment number 23.

    How much full stop?

    Having seen how much tv is paying the Voice coaches, and the Strictly judges, all in the paper today, I do wonder if all this plus the Olympic coverage is just getting totally out of proportion, anything for viewers/listeners, whilst that live animal babies thing seems to have bombed at a fortune in cost.

    The Olympics is unavoidable, the coverage would have been like this whether it was in Beijing or Hackney. I think radio coverage for the very small non tv-owning population is a bit over the top, most people, if they like athletics, will watch the Games. The radio would have been great at giving the background interviews with man in the crowd as well as winners and losers, plus describing the atmosphere. But if you could watch Bolt for 9 seconds you would, rather than listen to a screamer describing it for 9 seconds, well wouldn't you?

  • Comment number 24.

    It is totally inconceivable to run trailers gloating about presenters winning Sonys ( listeners are not fond of the gloat ) and then 2 days later find that 5live has lost 4.3% of its listeners.How does the only national news/sport radio station manage that ? Talksport is now totally inane all sports chat and LBC is mostly current affairs chat anyway, so this station should be picking up more listeners.Personally I am listening more and more to our local BBC radio station as opposed to 5live.I find it much better and the ego's of the presenters don't seem to be quite so large.Why no blog on the Rajars ?Usually you can't wait.

  • Comment number 25.

    Re: #22 - 5 Live's reach has increased since last quarter by 0.21m, and the share is 4.7%, the same as last year.

    Re: #23 - Have to disagree, carrie: I much prefer sport on radio. Television is a passive medium, radio is an active one: you have to meet it halfway and you have to use your imagination. As an old friend of mine puts it, the pictures are better on the radio.

  • Comment number 26.

    Orgasmic screaming with the result lost in the noise. It may make good listen again content but I reckon I will stick with the plan I have made.

    As to the rajars, and the Sony's, it is all too boring. Quality is definitely down and the odd good piece does not make up for the many awful ones.

  • Comment number 27.

    With 5live commentators now going so wild and shouty so as to bring on a near cardiac arrest ,it is just impossible to hear what the heck they are actually saying.Talk about tryng to out do each other on the decibel levels.As for the Rajars and Sonys I agree, to those outside the industry and can avoid the hype and are just listeners ,the whole circus is dull..dull ...dull.If only they knew.

  • Comment number 28.

    Re: #25 But the audience has fallen year on year. Comparing one quarter to the next is irrelevant, and is only done when a station controller wants to divert attention from a year on year fall. In the previous quarter it "lost nearly a million listeners to fall to its lowest audience since 2009"(the guardian). In any case that is a pretty small quarter on quarter rise, considering how exciting the premier league was this season.

  • Comment number 29.

    AVK used to say let people bed in before you judge the numbers. Well they have had long enough I reckon. That awful Sunday morning stuff, Murray endlessly, and dear old Bacon. Frankly it needs to be changed.

    The Olympics, back to the subject, are actually going to be spoilt by cynicism and political comments about money and travel etc. Imagine if you were an Aussie in the Sydney olympics, would you not go if you lived in Darwin or Brisbane? Of course you would go. Daft to say Newcastle is too far away. There was a good phone in yesterday on 'rip off Britain' but the same things happen everywhere in the world when these events take place.

  • Comment number 30.

    I'm struggling to see why the BBC is pouring so much resource into an 'event' that is effectively a group of people carrying what appeared to be a miners lamp around the UK. Highlight will be if it blows out.

  • Comment number 31.

    Jack, this is an attempt to involve all communities and as Coe said, the stories of the people carrying the torches, not the lamp, will be known to a much wider audience. Have a heart, this is actually a really good idea.

  • Comment number 32.

    Wow never thought i would see the day, when Carrie would disagree with Stumps and with such vigour!!! anyway i agree with Carrie, why do people so quickly belittle things, the symbolic nature of carrying the Torch throughout our communities will be remembred for years to come, the idea of a torch route close to everyone is fantastic.

    Stop being so miserable,Stumps, and embrace what is happening!!!

  • Comment number 33.

    Will,why is it that you guys dont put the dramatic football commentary moments on the 5live site?Yet the BBC Football website is using the exceptional 5live commentary on last nights final as part of their review of the match, they have also done this for other games including Man City vs QPR.

    Surely it cant be a rights issue?

  • Comment number 34.

    I'm just totally underwhelmed with the Olympics and the media circus that surrounds it. The highlight of my summer will be the test series versus SA. But each to their own.

    I see The Observer Radio critic has managed to keep up her fawning weekly mention of VD. Considering it's quite the worst programme on 5 Lives output - wall to wall phone-in, presenter trying to be cleverand keep 6 people on the line at once, and still self promoting herself?

    Good radio it does not make.

  • Comment number 35.

    Jack you must have missed the full page spread on Vicky in the Indie a couple of weeks ago.There must be a whole industry employed in the self indulgent promoting of her.Its all getting a bit too much and far too cosy.Vicky was bemoaning the fact that no tory MP's will appear on her programme ...well i'm not surprised with her constant interrupting and love of her own voice.....and she is speech broadcaster of the year ???

    As posted on another blog,nice to see people selling their Olympics torches on e bay.Unfortunately the Olympics as sporting competition goes takes secondary importance to all those lining their own pockets.Its all got a bit tacky really.

  • Comment number 36.

    It's a shame there isn't a Rajar or DQF blogging. We clearly only blog good news.

    I can't agree that VD is the worst show on the network (though her recent correction of an american for his pronuctiation was a pretty low point), at least by being largely based in London - she is actually often in the same studio as her interviewee. Quite why it is better for Richard Bacon to broadcast from Salford, when all his guests are in London is beyond me.

    The loss of the midday news, weekend news and the lack of a late evening news show, are in my opinion the networks biggest problems. Combine that with the criminal under use of Phil Whilliams & Ian Payne, and the criminal over use of Colin Murray and Robbie Savage, it's little surprise the audience is down.

  • Comment number 37.

    I refer all naysayers to a little report in the Times today by Ashling O'Connor recording the fact that tens of thousands turned out for the torch-passing in the south west. It sounded great fun.

    Agree with @36.

  • Comment number 38.

    Who believes anything written in The Times? Damn! That cynicism bug again ...

  • Comment number 39.

    Any chance of a response to my question in post 33,Will?

    Also it has been announced today that Football League Show to continue as BBC agree new three-year deal, while 5live and 5 Live Sports Extra will have non-exclusive rights to all npower Football League, League Cup and Play-Off matches.

    Read more: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-2147473/The-Football-League-Show-continue-BBC.html

    Fantastic news for 5live, hopefully we will hear of more sport rights being snapped up by 5live in the near future!!! Also why i have to go the Daily Mail to find out what rights 5live have won, surely this blog is the perfect place for such announcements, but all we get is banal blog posts.

  • Comment number 40.

    (Re.nos 34,35 & others) The usually vacuous, puff pieces offered up by the station's publicity machine to gullible/compliant journalists about VD and others - "Wow, a woman and she wins an award" type of thing, are happy to report the soft focus but ignore the resentment and ill-feeling created by her broadcsating from London for four days out of five (despite promising to commute daily) whilst others have had to leave or move.

  • Comment number 41.

    Welcome2 .... direct your comments at the Fedster - he's the press office mole who thrives on propaganda.

  • Comment number 42.

    I was only referencing you, Jackstumps, so I wouldn't be moder....

  • Comment number 43.

    Cracking under the pressure are we Stumps,first according to you i was a 5live mole now you accuse me of being a press office mole, which is it? At least i aint the resident talkSPORT mole.......................


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