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Has there been an Aftershock overkill?

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Cathy Packe | 10:42 UK time, Friday, 2 October 2009

One of the pleasures I've found in working on Over To You is the contact I have with you, the listeners - reading your emails and listening to your phone messages is always interesting, and already I feel I'm getting to know some of you who are regular correspondents.

Someone who definitely comes into this category is Donnamarie Leemann. She's an artist and works at home with her internet radio tuned, almost permanently, to the World Service.

Almost permanently - but not quite all the time, as she told me in an email this week. She has started turning off some of the Aftershock programmes - not, she was quick to add, because she doesn't like them individually, but because she finds the whole idea of a "season" of programmes as "overkill". Actually she described the experience of listening to the season as like being hit over the head with a hammer - wonderful when it stops! She's felt the same about seasons in the past - as you can hear on this week's Over To You. She jokes that the season about India proved so indigestible it even put her off eating curry!


Is all our financial crisis coverage giving you a headache?

She appears on the programme in discussion with Anne Koch, the deputy director of the World Service in English. Part of Anne's responsibility is for seasons of programmes - which as she pointed out, only happen occasionally - and she explains the thinking behind them. "These subjects that we do seasons on are incredibly important and they often are very complex" she tells us. "We need to develop complexity in our coverage about some of these most important events"

Another interesting thing that Anne mentions is that she's trying to find out more about how you listen to the World Service. Donnamarie has her internet radio on most of the day - which is possibly why she feels she is hearing too much on certain topics - but as Anne Koch says in her interview, this is probably not typical of most listeners.

Or is it? We'd certainly like to hear more about your listening habits - how often do you listen, and how do you hear our programmes? How many of you listen through the internet? Or do have a short-wave radio? Or listen to World Service programmes that are rebroadcast on another network?  We are keen to find out more from you.

One thing to mention for the future - the World Service schedules will be changing towards the end of October, and we shall be hearing more about those changes from Gwynneth Williams, the Director of the World Service in English. If you have any points you'd like to put to her, about things you'd like to hear more or less of on the World Service, do get in touch.

Cathy Packe is the Producer, Over To You

Over To You is your chance to have your say about the BBC World Service and its programmes. It airs at 10:40 and 23:40 every Saturday, and at 02:40 on Sunday (GMT).


  • Comment number 1.

    I was absolutely riveted to hear this 'issue' of Over to You, with your exchange with Donnamarie Leeman (whose articulateness I very much appreciated). I too am an artist, now listening in Italy on internet radio, though I do this at home in New York as well, where i often also listen to your radio broadcasts, in the middle of the night.

    I think public radio of various types has no idea how important you are to us studio artists! I am a loyal, avid, and generally careful listener to the BBC (that is why I frequently write in to question things I hear or to object to errors, misstatements, or what I consider to be really unbalanced coverage—esp. on your business shows!).

    Finally, I want to say that I appreciate "seasons" like Aftershock very much.

  • Comment number 2.

    Hi this is Penny Vine, producing Over to You this week. Thanks martha-r for you comment and we've had a big response, not just from artists, from people telling us where and how they listen. Keep them coming!
    For example, Jackie texted from Dubai to say she listens on her phone for 3 hours a day but switches off when things start to repeat. Lots of people seem to be listening via the internet and some listeners in the United States listen by satellite radio in the car.

  • Comment number 3.

    I totally disagree with Donnamarie Leeman.
    In a world of sound bites in depth coverage of issues is a necessity.
    I love seasons I love lots and lots of info about a subject from which i can extract my opinions and conclusions.
    i´m an artist too, mind you, I also have BBC world service as my working soundtrack and also listen to it in my computer. I apreciate repetition because many times I´m so engrossed in whatever i´m doing that i don´t listen. Most of the times streamline gives me an idea of what a program is about, then when the programming goes to subjects i don´t give a toss about i go to the archives and retrieve these programs which contents called my attention.
    One of the best lately, the dramatization of Leehmans fall. Just great.

    I sincerely hope the BBC keeps on the road of in depth and serious information. For sound bit and broadcasters opinions we have plenty of other stations.

  • Comment number 4.

    I used to keep the BBC World Service during the day too. Unfortunately, the present repetiton only highlights how far standards have fallen in such a short time. This programme can only go so far. Worse, the men and women who make decisions regarding programming sometimes come across as if they`ve had little to no experience. There`s nothing worse to hear than a shoddy excuse for a poor decision. Perhaps, it`s only a sign of the superifical societies we are coping with.


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