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Your reaction to BBC World Service budget cuts and closures

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Rajan Datar | 16:46 UK time, Friday, 28 January 2011

Last Wednesday was a painful day for BBC World Service and its 180 million listeners according to its boss Peter Horrocks.

I talked to Peter on Over to You this week to find out what this “fundamental restructure” means in plain language to you the listeners.

A BBC World Service employee leaves flowers for the "death" of the BBC World Service. Picture: Getty Images

I also put your views to him about the cuts which were described as “ daunting” by the BBC and necessitate cash savings of 20 per cent over the next three years.

The World Service’s detailed response to the Government’s Public Spending review necessitates cash savings of 20 per cent over the next three years.

That means the loss of 650 World Service jobs, the closure of five language services and the end of some long running programmes on the English Service.

It amounts to an annual saving of £46m by April 2014, when the BBC World Service will be financed from the domestic UK television licence fee.

Now the BBC admits that audiences will fall by more than 30 million from the current weekly audience of 180 million as a result of the changes this year.

Over to You listeners emailed us with their reactions.

The closure of five language services including the English for the Caribbean regional service prompted an email from Shawn Lebert who was ‘utterly shocked’ to hear that decision.

Others were concerned about more repeats, or even the loss of a service entirely.

Managing these cuts is the unenviable task facing Peter Horrock who has said publicly that these cuts are made reluctantly and that they are very painful.

How will the latest round of cuts affect you? Over to You is your platform to tell us what you think, so send us your emails and comments.

Meanwhile listeners have continued to email Over To You about the countdown to the Wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton scheduled for April. In particular they don’t like the trail that has been running on the World Service.

Another point was raised by listener Dr Bello Bella Bitugu who’s originally from Ghana but is now based in Innsbruck in Austria.

He told us he was disturbed by an item asking Kenyan pupils about their suggestion of the wedding dress for the wedding as part of the countdown specials.

He said it reminded him of colonial times when schools in places like Tanganyika as it was called then - were ordered to bombard African pupils with propaganda about the British Royal family.

We asked Dr Bitugu to put his points to Jamie Angus who’s the Senior Commissioner in News Planning at Global News and in charge of planning the royal wedding coverage.

Somehow I don’t think this is the last we’ll be hearing on the subject before the wedding takes place at the end of April.


Rajan Datar is the presenter of Over To You.


Over To You is your chance to have your say about the BBC World Service and its programmes. It airs at 00:40, 03:40 and 12:40 every Sunday (GMT).






  • Comment number 1.

    Ever since moving to the Netherlands, I have listened nearly every day in my car to BBC (Medium wave 648). I can't believe that this will be part of the budget cuts. I would gladly make a contribution to keep this on the air. Perhaps I'll buy a new car in the next few years with digital radio, but in the meantime, I guess it will be radio silence. Maybe BBC can use a similar approach to National Public Radio in the US, or Wikipedia? I really don't see how I'll retain contact in this low-tech mode. Am I the only one who hasn't caught up with the digital age?

  • Comment number 2.

    I have been listening to the World Service on medium wave for more than 30 years. This will be very painfull. And how am I now going to fill my daily commute (car) from Antwerp to Brussels ? Don't think the BBC will ever get this part of its West European audience back !
    Use the internet to listen on line ? You're kidding. At home I have a portable radio that goes with me everywhere - can't do that with my pc.
    So, now I will only have Radio 4 on LW - but that probably is also only a matter of time - I guess.
    Just stupid.

  • Comment number 3.


    Dear Sir.
    No matter how big my disappointment at the closing of the BBC world service (648 m), it will not budge an inch the irreversible decision which has already been taken.
    My praises of the objectivity of the world service, even if unwritten up to now, have always been a source of admiration. Awareness and impartiality of the global political scene have always been the strength of the service.
    I deeply regret the policy of the BBC which considers that advertisement leads to a loss of independence. Would it not be sweet revenge to obtain sponsoring from the banks, thus making them pay directly for their incompetence which is at the origin of the present funding cuts? Surely, even the most short-sighted politicians, who fail to grasp the concept of the world service and its importance even to established democracies, would welcome such savings.
    Furthermore, dwindling audiences is a poor argument for closing the service at 648 when compared to the increase of the populations who understand English. I would personally advocate for an increase in signal strength to ensure a greater penetration of the service. Relying on internet as a replacement suggests that everyone has a broadband access, something doubtful.
    Please accept my thanks for the enjoyable pleasure which you have given me for numerous years. J. Paul (Switzerland).

  • Comment number 4.

    Switching of 648, is yet another blow to those of us regularly listen to the World Service. I recall the days when all I needed to do was travel with a small shortwave receiver and I could receive World Service Radio almost anywhere. Sadly things are no longer so simple. The BBC always states that there are now other ways to listen: but in practice this means the internet.

    The internet however is a flawed system for listening to radio. Firstly, not all world service content is broadast on it: I think particularly of the sports programmes on Saturday. Secondly, it isn't available in cars or (affordably) in boats. Thirdly when travelling internet connections in hotels can be very expensive.

    So as far as I am concerned this is a real disaster. A period of consultation would have been nice! Currently I live in the Netherlands, but my life has been fairly nomadic with periods in Spain, Switzerland and Japan. The decline in the World Service Radio, both in terms of its content and availablity is comething I find deeply saddening: could not some World Service Television content be replaced by content from the domestic televsion channels instead to achive the same saving!

  • Comment number 5.

    What's the chance of listeners paying for access to the World Service or certain programmes on line. I would be willing to pay say 50 pounds a year to listen to World of Music. This is a programme that has no equivalent elsewhere. Please think creatively. You would need to consider several forms of payment, not just credit cards.

  • Comment number 6.

    As a license payer in the uk I am extremely dissapointed with the bbc closing the 648 medium wave service. Like many others in the uk I often listen for world news when travelling in the car and the 648 is the only option available to do this. So it is my opinion that I am not being provided with any alternative like many others here in the uk. The internet, satelite dab ect is not a viable option on the move and I feel like we are being abandoned.

  • Comment number 7.

    Having lived in the Netherlands for more than 20 years, most mornings the alarm has been set to 648 on our trusty clock radio. We will miss your balanced, in-depth reporting and analysis. What are we supposed to listen to now? After two decades of being used to intelligent reporting, there is no way we can bring ourselves to be woken by banal Dutch FM radio - looks like it's back to the dreaded buzzer for us!

  • Comment number 8.

    As an American living in Europe for the past 20 years, I have regularly listened to the WS to get an in depth perspective on the news around the world. It's kept us informed and hungry for more. As stated by so many, listening on a PC isn't practical and alternatives in English are dreadful here. We're associated with the US military and NATO and the coverage on the 'news' through the American Armed Forces Network is demeaning propaganda most of the time, with the necessary public service announcements thrown in...not news. Ironic, since many of the world's events affects AFN's audience directly and most are clueless as to why they're even deploying or where the action is, because they don't have the news sources offered by the WS. The BBC has provided information on things not only relevant to the Super Powers, but to the outside world where things are happening and people are living their lives as well. It's significant and this sort of service should be thought of as a service for the betterment of society...information, education, awareness, and competent reporting from incredibly knowledgeable people teach something and gives thoughts to consider. Please reconsider, or ask for funds from us, the listeners, because the WS is worth it.

  • Comment number 9.

    The inevitable closure of 648 kHz is a sad occasion, bringing to an end a habit of 40 years. At school I began listening to BBC WS on AM, initially on 276 metres and later 648, and I've never stopped.

    I'm not exaggerating when I say that the medium wave broadcasts have given me my linguistic, cultural and geopolitical education. I'm currently a journalist working for an English-language website/radio based in the Netherlands. I'm certain my life would have been different without the BBC. So thank you for all those medium wave broadcasts!

    The AM radio in my kitchen will be silent soon. But my next purchase will be a WiFi radio, because to me, the World Service remains indispensable. It's my window on the world.

  • Comment number 10.

    I am another avid medium wave world service listener in the Netherlands who has enjoyed nearly 12 years of the World Servise.... it has kept me sane through tough times in a foreign country when I need an unbiased world view in my native language.
    Like others I listen in bed on my humble radio - I get to sleep to the World service and wake up to the World Servis and nothing can replace it for me...
    I feel totally bereft at the thought that we will loose this amazing service and am incredulous that the Men at the Top will just get rid of so many listeners in one foul swoop....and how will they get those listeners back? And do they care about getting us back ?
    Time is running out and its as if western eurpoe listeners are worthless as we are too close.
    Please please please reconsider ...there must be a way we can pay for our service - SURELY !!!

  • Comment number 11.

    So this is the last day of BBC World Service on 648 KHz medium wave? And the Short Wave transmissions to Europe have been stopped years ago already.
    And yes, i do have BBC on cable, i do own a satellite receiver and have access to broadband internet. So i do not have to do without.
    But you know something? I do not really need the worldservice anymore. I have BBC world TV on satellite and cable, and internet provides me all the info and opininions i ever want to read or hear. So why would i listen to the world service if i can watch tv or go to my favourite website?

    I listened to you for all my life.My alarmclock radio has not seen another frequency since 1984. I have enjoyed your voice all over the world. I remember falling half asleep with the world service reports of the crumbling of the Berlin Wall in 1989. I remember sunbathing on the beach in Spain whilst hearing World Service about the Twin Towers attack in 2001. All the places i went to i could receive you on a little world band radio.

    And this is the BBC WSs essential reason to exist. The ability to get trusted information all over the world with simple means. Just a cheap shortwave radio, and a list with available frequencies. You did not even need the list, as the signals were always strong and the program sound was so unique and familiar that you knew right away when you were tuned to the BBC world service.

    Take this away, and you may as well close down BBC WS radio altogether.
    With my smartphone i can get millions of radiostations, provided the provider has a decent coverage. On satellite there are numerous alternatives, including your own tv channel.

    I hope you will realize that there is no alternative for analogue medium wave and shortwave transmissions, both internet and satellite are too complicated to be counted on. Internet requires millions of miles of cable, which is easily disrupted in casde of natural disasters (JAPAN) or political unrest (TUNISIA, EGYPT, LIBYA, CHINA). Satellite means yu will have to take a clumsy dish with you wherever you go.
    Now compare this to a portable radio on batteries in a real emergency situation.

    Keep 648 on the air, or invest in at least one strong shortwave transmitter. Then you still have reason to exist. If you don't do this you may as well transfer all your staff to BBC television and close down WS radio for good.

    I will miss you....

  • Comment number 12.

    For me personally, this is the end of en era. I started listening to the BBC world service with my dad in the former Soviet Union when I was 14 years old in the mid 1980s. We listened on the short waves to both the Russian and English service. This is how we got news and how we learned English. I loved the BBC English learning programmes (Professor Grammar, etc), and I kept listening daily throught the 1990s. Then I moved to Holland, and it's been a delight to be able to listen on 648 (in the car, at home, on holiday).

    I don't watch TV and love radio. I don't know how it is going to work out without the BBC. It's going to be the Internet, but I'm not sure it's going to be the BBC.

    The BBC Russian service is also closing today. A sad day for the tens of millions of Russian speakers.

    I'll miss you badly. It's a big shame, but thank you very very much for all these years of great, top-quality reporting.

  • Comment number 13.

    I guess all the top-level management geniuses couldn't figure out what the core business of a Broadcasting company is. World Service programming selection has declined so far in recent years and become so repetitious, maybe I won't miss it as much as I might have in the past. I wonder how long it will be before the directors decide that the World Service has become irrelevant, and that the whole budget can be saved by shutting down entirely. Is this Big Society at work?

  • Comment number 14.

    Dear Worldservice,

    I felt very sad when I couldn't find you on the 648 AM
    this morning. For years a simple car radio was enough
    to let you stretch my view on this world far beyond the visible horizon. Now it feels that, being in the middle of Europe, you left me stranded in a silent desert.
    Indeed: no news from today on, my love has gone away.
    Miss you already.

    Stasio Wijnands, Amsterdam

  • Comment number 15.

    The switch-off of BBC World Service broadcasting on 648 Medium Wave has not gone unnoticed in the Netherlands, along with the stopping of “Europe Today”. It is a great shame that the World Service invests in creating excellent programmes, but then is forced to economise on the last step of actually broadcasting the programming to an appreciative audience!
    Although fortunately the material is still available here if connected to cable or Internet, I will very much miss listening to the well-balanced news bulletins and factual programmes up until now always available on medium wave at any location, particularly useful when travelling by car or bicycle.
    I do hope that in the near future the BBC will be able to re-commence broadcasting on medium wave to N. E. Europe and Russia, thus continuing to provide always-available, world-class news coverage, and thereby an appreciation of British values in general.

  • Comment number 16.

    Please, please, please, give us back our BBC world Service on 648! After listening to BBC World Service every day for over 30 years, I woke up in silence on 27th March 2011. Life will not be the same...

  • Comment number 17.

    BBCWS was my trusty companion while i was in far-away foreign places, doing things that.. well.. remember Churchill's quote: "We sleep safely at night because rough men stand ready to visit violence on those who would harm us"
    I was one of those men, and whenever i felt lonely or confused.. or detached from my family and friends i could at least fall back to my companion.. just tune to 648 and everything would be allright, i could just listen to those quiet, professional voices and everything fell back into place and i knew there was a civilised world to return to. And now.. somebody killed off my buoy.. just for money. They do not realise what they have done.
    Sorry to see you go, 648. May wiser people, someday, give you back to the people. Because without you, life will not be the same at all for many of the men out there, who stand ready to visit violence...

    A soldier.

  • Comment number 18.

    Having spent half an hour fiddling with my radio thinking it was faulty, I discover that the World Service on Medium wave 648 has been scrapped following the Tory cuts. I have listened to this at home and in the car here in Belgium for over 30 years and can't describe how disappointed I am at not having this anymore. Losing such an ambassador for the English culture is an unbelievably short sighted decision and once lost will not be brought back. All in all a typical decision from the short term politicians in power at present. A sorry day for the BBC in my house.

  • Comment number 19.

    Unfortunately, BBC WS is now only available in places where there is already an abundant offer of information sources: at home or at the office, where the internet is omnipresent.

    However, in my car, the BBC WS was the only serious source of information. In that place, it had no real competition.

    In my country, Belgium, there is no radio station at all that offers news and information without music. News coverage by our national broadcasters is incredibly superficial. BBC WS was the only real news station.

    I would gladly buy a DRM capable car radio kit, if BBC WS would be available 24 hrs a day on DRM. However, I learn that BBC WS is only available 4 hrs a day on DRM, between 4 and 8 UTC. What a pity.

    BBC WS withdrew itself from the only channel where they had a de facto monopoly.

  • Comment number 20.

    I've awakened to the BBCWS on 648 for the last 20 years. I understand the need for the cuts, but it hurts. It's particularly painful given the parochial options on the Dutch dial. I use the BBC iphone app now in the kitchen which I play through an iphone player. It works. It sounds good. But it's not the same. Please come back.

  • Comment number 21.

    Please tell the genius who shut down 648khz that on line just doesn't work in the car. As an American living in Belgium, BBC World Service was my best link to an intelligent, informed perspective on the world and now its gone. I understand that times are hard but isolating GB from Europe should be reconsidered. Please come back.

  • Comment number 22.

    I know many people are deeply affected and unhappy with the recente decisions. Just check this https://www.petitionbuzz.com/petitions/savews

  • Comment number 23.

    May I also post my regret to the 'switch-off' of the 648 MW transmission of the BBC World Service. As well as being one of the many UK listeners, both at home as well as in the car, my son, now living in Prague, also picks up his UK news by this means - as do we when we visit. I always thought that the BBC World Service was one of the UK's best exports, but clearly I was mistaken. Come back and all with be forgiven!

  • Comment number 24.

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

  • Comment number 25.

    No more World Service on 648 MW ? Well done the BBC! This is management logic that's gone round the houses and ended up it's own back alley. What's the point of running a radio station (actually, an institution) that people can't actually listen to?! Bit like a school that's decided to economise by locking out the children ... so they spend the remaining budget on staff meetings.

  • Comment number 26.

    I too am deeply saddened by the loss of being able to listen to the World Service on 648 MW. I have listened to the World Service for over thirty-five years and now do not have a way of listening to it anymore. I regularly listened in the car and find it painfully sad that I can no longer do this. The quality of the journalism and the international dimension was something I greatly valued and appreciated. Losing the possibility of listening to the World Service leaves an information gap that the increasingly poor news coverage on Radio Four does not fill.

    However, I am beginning to value the silence of my car journeys with the radio switched off, and I also value being able to re-listen to music tapes I have not listened to for a number of years.

    Unfortunately I do not have the possibility or the time to listen to the World Service on-line, and digital reception sound quality is inadequate where I live. It is also difficult to know how to replace trusted equipment.

  • Comment number 27.

    After the changes were implemented, the time I listen to the World Service has about halved, with a tendency towards tuning in even less as I am checking out alternatives. The most disappointing features are the constant repetition of Outlook. It has always been my least favourite programme and I don't like to be told how "remarkable" the stuff I'm going to listen to is every time it is aired. The other programme I try to avoid or that makes me switch to another broadcaster is World Have Your Say. Now it's on twice a day, which means twice as much sometimes very bad and painful to listen to English, twice as many platitudes and stereotypes. The programme makes at times very informed contributions, but at other times it is such a botch job that, on balance, it is significantly below the quality most of the other programmes lead you to expect from the BBC. Overall therefore, I am afraid not only your revenue but your standards, too, have decreased.

  • Comment number 28.

    I was stunned when World Service disappeared from 648 MW. There is no reason whatsoever to remove something which is relied on by so many in Belgium and The Netherlands. The programmes are still made so just transmit them. This is simply ridiculous

  • Comment number 29.

    Here's another voice from the Netherlands grieving at the loss of 648 MW.

    My personal loss however is not as great as that of the many fine folks at the BBC who have lost their jobs, some of whom had been working there as long as I had been listening, multiple decades.

    On the other hand, I can sympathize with the British taxpayer who no longer wishes to finance my listening pleasure. And I imagine that advertising won't work for the World Service due to the global nature of the broadcasts.

    Can as a consolation something be done to improve the reception of 198 LW in the Netherlands?

  • Comment number 30.

    I've lived and worked in the Netherlands since 1989 and always enjoyed listening to the BBC World Service in the car. Now it looks like I'll have to download podcasts and listen to them instead. Not quite the same, but better than the local alternatives.

  • Comment number 31.

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

  • Comment number 32.

    BBC, please listen to the comments about the cuts in the world service andthe possible remedy. There are many of us who are willing to give a voluntary subscription. Let us do that, stop the cuts and reverse the cuts already made.
    The service is known to be the best, esential to many in the world who have no other impartial service and many listeners simply enjoy it to the extent that we are willing to have it at a reasonable voluntary charge.

  • Comment number 33.

    i cannot believe that in 3 short months i have gone from the 21st century to a pre-war (WWI) existence. i am also an english speaker in the netherlands, since 1986, missing the MW BBC on my radio. it woke me up and put me to sleep and kept me company on rainy days too. even when the power was cut during severe weather storms, my run by batteries little radio still did its work. i speak the language well, but dutch radio is miserable. there is no more listening too long to great discussions on the forum, or interviews or book reviews or news hour or.....i listen on my laptop in the living room, bringing my dinner in to sit and listen, but the BBC radio player is so bad it often just blacks out, cannot listen for longer than 15 minutes without it going out more than once. cannot really find any other options on BBC website - this has changed my life, my source of information, its amazing! i dont have any illusions that this will change - but just wanted to add my comment, its a small thing, but as another listener mentioned, in times of emergency when everything is down....this is the only thing that works MW - too bad. i agree with the photo, R.I.P BBC. it was a fine life and i miss you now. my sympathy to those who will lose their work with these cuts.

  • Comment number 34.

    First of all, my sympathies go to the hundreds of BBC employees who are now unemployed, or will be over the next 3, is it?, years of these awful Tory/Lib Dem cuts. I know what it's like to lose a media job. I quickly bounced back since my sacking had to with a computerization of my newspaper design job (I retrained and went freelance), and occured not during a recession in the late 80s. Now we are in the Great Recession of the late 2000s to who knows when, with no end in sight. I dread to think next year could be Obama's Hoover moment. This isn't the socialist dream 30s and FDR he ain't.

    Secondly, I feel for the posters (merusso) from The Netherlands and Belgium. I lived in Amsterdam and Antwerp, in the early 90s and got started with the World Service on 648 MW on a portable radio living in a squat in Amsterdam Zuid out by the RIA trade fair center. My first ever WS broadcast was during the coup in Moscow on August 19 through the end! I listened enthralled, and had never heard anything like it on radio in all my still young life. Gorbachev was listening to the WS that week. Like him, it was my main (mother tongue) news source, and only news source, because the squats I lived in, except for a couple, converted schools that had a bar, rave party dance floor, cresh, and cable TV which you watch CNN on), barely had electricity much less cable TV. These squats are long gone, and now replaced by office blocks. Most of A'dam's 1980s to 90s squats are all gone. Amsterdam has changed from its old forever retro hippie self. From what I read, A'damers are now somehow more prosperous, older and less rebellious? And the city has become gentrified under the last two conservative coalition govt's, like Berlin is becoming. But, many A'damers still don't have FM (that I know of) and it was always hard to find the World Service on anything but 648 MW back in the 90s. You have literally cut off an entire city, and country, of English speaking Dutch and the thousands of Brit and American expats who once relied on you. Way to go, BBC, you're on target for completely eliminating the WS from Western European listeners by 2014. Wot's next, will there be an ominous annoucement next January that the BBC can no longer afford to pay for its satellite service for Europe? Which is how the various local FM frequencies are fed the World Service. Currently I listen on 100.7 FM in Germany and have since 1993 and it's crystal clear through my fibre optics multi-platform ISP. The German broadcasting authourities keep it serviced for us expats, but how long will you feed it? I worry about this. If you can blithely get rid of your MW service I'm sure some 30 something whiz girl in Prada waving an iPad around, will next say: "We don't need the expensive satellite feed anymore for Europe. Satellite is so 20th century. Most (young) people (under 30s?, I'm over 45) nowdays don't use it like they don't watch cable TV, and are now accessing the WS on their iPhones, iPads and Androids." I like the iPad, and plan on getting one when I absolutely feel the need for one, and yeah I might listen to the WS on a train going through France or Switzerland on one, but not every expat will be so well kitted out, so please don't go down that apocalyptic road. No doubt, the world is moving forward at a breakneck speed and the WS reflects these 21st century changes. For an over 45, I'm barely keeping up, but there are thousands of older expats around Europe who can't or won't keep up. Some who don't even have DSL or broadband, in order to access the WS online properly. Having been there in the 70s and 80s, I realise the future is always young, hip and forward, the present hanging in there and the past is dead and buried, but if you dump FM to Europe, I and other middle age expat (print and online media artist in my case) professionals in Europe, will probably not listen to the BBC online, except for those savvy enough to know where to find the BBC domestic services, Radio 1 through 7, which are outstandingly good and sound like the old pre cutbacks 1990s WS. The WS online is NOT the same experience and unless you buy that iPad, you're out of luck if FM to Europe is axed for being too expensive and "outdated".

    That sums up my sentiments about the loss of 648 MW in The Netherlands and elsewhere. 2O years ago it was my introduction and gateway to the best news source in the world whilst living in Holland. What was once a pioneer in world news radio as far back as the 1930s, the war years, gray flannel 50s, wild 60s and 70s rebellions, "Maggie's Farm" 80s, and up to the fall of The Wall and breakup of the Warsaw Pact -- and ultimate world changing collapse of the USSR and beyond, is now a pale reflection of its former self.

    My next post will concentrate on the changes due to these 20% cuts, in the WS programming to Europe, and I assume everywhere else, which is an unmitigated disaster. I have been itching for weeks, if not 2 months to type those words -- UNMITIGATED DISASTER. A hint. TOO MANY REPEATS AND TOO MUCH ROLLING NEWS aka "World Briefing". I feel like I'm being world briefed to death.

    -- Your very frustrated, but hanging in there, long suffering but loyal, expat WS listener in Europe.

  • Comment number 35.

    Thank you OTY blog editors for publishing my complete post. A rant like this could be held up just for its length. But thank you for letting me vent my frustrations, as I and the others here have no other platform to let you know how we feel about these cuts. And I now await some replies and feedback.

  • Comment number 36.

    In the Netherlands there have been fires in to transmitter towers on the same day - early July. On tower collapsed the other tower was saved but continued at reduced power.
    Therefore, coverage of the most important news channel (Radio1) could not be guaranteed in the whole of the Netherlands.

    A temporarely solution has been found. The Dutch Public Broadcaster is using the old frequency of BBC World Service om 648kHz for these Dutch broadcasts of Radio 1.

    Radios with AM Signaling System (RDS for AM radios) still find the station label to show BBC WS.

  • Comment number 37.

    Here, on the East coast of the United States, I shall forever miss the "Queen of the Airwaves". Apart from the sheer quality, objectivity and authority of the broadcasts and its touch with the England I left long ago, there is just nothing to compare with the introduction to the news programs as they were: "This... is London" and "Lillibulero", a reminder of an earlier, grander and more splendid age.


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