Archives for May 2011

On air promotions

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Rajan Datar | 14:32 UK time, Friday, 27 May 2011

The way the World Service uses promotional trails to advertise future programmes on the network sparked much debate amongst listeners this week.

"Having listened to a programme advertisement for three weeks, I can't face listening to the programme itself," commented one listener.

Another listener referred to, "the long intervals between programmes when a beat is played, which comes out louder than the sound level of the programmes, and which is repetitive, thumping, and goes on and on. It is of course accompanied by announcements of future programmes, which are also repeated too often."

I interviewed listener Colin Walsh from Cambridge, who felt compelled to email in his opinions on the matter.

He told me he didn't want to hear what he referred to as "mindless" background music.

Colin also felt that all promotional trails sounded the same, regardless of the nature of the programme, and went on to also criticise the use of library music on the network.

In order to get an official word on the matter, Murray Holgate, network manager, World Service English, talked to me about the ideas and philosophy behind the way BBC World Service creates and uses promotional trails for future programmes and events.

Murray told me "If trails are becoming a turn-off then we are doing something wrong.
Inevitably we all reach a point where a person becomes irritated by hearing the same thing a number of times. On the other hand, if for that one person there are ten or 20 people who did not know about that programme. Inevitably you've got to draw a balance and you can't always win."

So, love them or loathe them... trails are here to stay.

Thanks for all your comments this week. As ever we'd like to hear your views regarding anything you hear on BBC World Service.

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. Broadcast times can be found by clicking here.

Listen to previous episodes of Over To You

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Send the team your feedback by email (overtoyou@bbc.co.uk), telephone (44 144 960 9000), SMS (447786 202006) or by leaving comments on this blog

Where's Bahrain in the news?

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Rajan Datar | 08:21 UK time, Friday, 20 May 2011

The coverage of the Arab Spring has dominated the news agenda for recent months, but some listeners think that one country - Bahrain - has been missed off that agenda.

"There's very little coverage of events in Bahrain," commented one listener, and from Bahrain came the suggestion that there is some form of censorship of Bahrain's news, comparing the coverage of Syria in US and western media with that of coverage of Bahrain.

So I asked Steve Metcalfe, a media analyst at BBC Monitoring, how much international coverage there has been of the situation in Bahrain.

He pointed out that the major Arabic channels find it a sensitive issue to deal with, as the major channel Al Jazeera is based in Qatar, a neighbouring country.

He noted that it is also complicated because one source that has been giving coverage is Iranian media.

In terms of media in Bahrain, Steve explained that there is one local channel, which is state run, and half a dozen newspapers, of which one used to be in support of the opposition, so for mainstream media the picture that is given is very one-sided inside Bahrain.

Away from the Arab Spring, next week sees the final of the football Champions League at Wembley - the World Service will be covering it and I asked Sportsworld's commentator on the match, Richard Connolly, how the World Service is limbering up for the match of the year.

It's by no means the biggest final he has reported on as he covered the Africa Cup of Nations in 2008 and he believes it will be the most watched and listened to sporting event of this year.

He compared the quality of the club teams with that of the national teams in the World Cup and suggests that the Champions League final is the pinnacle of the game - "this is as good as it gets', he suggested.

I hope that whet's your appetite for the game, and we'd like to hear your comments and reactions to this and anything else you hear on the World Service, as usual.

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. Broadcast times can be found by clicking here.

Listen to previous episodes of Over To You
Subscribe to the podcast
Send the team your feedback by email (overtoyou@bbc.co.uk), telephone (44 144 960 9000), SMS (447786 202006) or by leaving comments on this blog

The use of colloquialisms

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Rajan Datar | 13:37 UK time, Friday, 13 May 2011

This week on Over To You we have tried to nail the use of colloquialisms on the World Service as our debate on the use of informal English rages on with the help of a listener, who is also a linguistics expert, who joined forces with presenter Dan Damon to hammer it out.

If you've been listening to Over To You over the last few weeks you'll know that there's been an ongoing discussion about the use of the colloquialisms on the World Service in English.

It's a divisive subject as your emails prove.

Anthea Fallen Bailey in the US sent us her view that:

"Since the BBC broadcasts to listeners of many different English dialects, it is imperative that non-slang words are used to ensure the highest level of comprehension and the lowest level of confusion amongst listeners. More personally, I am tired of hearing Americanese everywhere. Examples: "in depth" instead of "detailed" (yes, look on your website!); "utilise" instead of "use"; "input" instead of "contribution", "enter" or other appropriate word; "create" for everything (boring!) instead of "cause", "make", "build", "write", "compose", etc."

That's quite a list and I admit to having a bee in my bonnet about "I'm good" meaning "I'm well".

Kathleen Mere from Muntelier in Switzerland has a bug bear about one phrase in particular.

"I cannot cope with the growing use of the expression 'to be honest' by your own reporters around the world. The obvious question is, if a BBC reporter does NOT say 'to be honest', does that mean that what he or she says is not the truth?

Well as the messages about this have become ever more thoughtful and interesting we thought it was time to see what one of the World Service's best known voices had to say on the subject.

So we asked Dan Damon from World Update to join forces with trilingual listener Gerd Opheim in the Over To You studio to make the final pronouncement on this topic.

You can judge for yourself by listening to the podcast and we look for to more of your emails, calls, texts and tweets.

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. Broadcast times can be found by clicking here.


Listen to previous episodes of Over To You

Subscribe to the podcast
Send the team your feedback by email (overtoyou@bbc.co.uk), telephone (44 144 960 9000), SMS (447786 202006) or by leaving comments on this blog

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Dave Lee | 17:02 UK time, Friday, 6 May 2011

This week on Over to You we have been reflecting on two momentous but very different global events.

We wondered what listeners felt about the World Service's coverage of the Royal Wedding in London - and how you rated the reporting of the other big story of the week - the killing of Osama Bin Laden.

The Over To You inbox had praise and some dissent about the BBC's coverage of the marriage of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge ...William and Kate to you and me.

One satisfied listener was K. Jameel Ahmed.

He describes himself as "an ardent listener" to the BBC since 1973 and wanted to thank all concerned for the coverage of the wedding.

But Audrey from Nairobi in Kenya, who calls herself," a disappointed fan of Network Africa says she was "disgusted" by a breakfast report from Congo where people there were asked what they thought of the Royal wedding.

"The wedding is not African, not an African son, not an African daughter - if you have to tell us something about this wedding, then justify how it should concern me... other than the fact that the BBC is British and hopes the whole world will one day be."

I spoke to the BBC's Acting Global News Editor Jamie Angus who was responsible for the coverage to put this point to him and get his post match analysis on the Royal wedding - and I asked him did it all go as planned?

You can find out if it did on the podcast.

We also asked Jamie about the other big story of the last week or so- the death of Osama Bin Laden which provoked a range of opinions from listeners including this observation:

"For hours today on long wave, Bin Laden's killing filled airtime as the only story run.

"Gaddafi's forces bombing Misrata and al-Assad's thugs arresting rebels went unreported.

"Not a word on another vital Middle East story - peace hopes via a bid for Palestinian unity.

"At such times, listeners will ask why the station's name remains the WORLD Service."

All in all a momentous week! Keep you emails and calls coming to Over to You.


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