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Introducing World Service radio's Newsday

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Jamie Angus Jamie Angus | 15:39 UK time, Friday, 20 July 2012

BBC World Service's radio output overnight is familiar to night owls inside the UK who listen on Radio 4 and on DAB, but for our audiences around the world's time zones, the programmes that run between 03:00 and 08:30 serve some very disparate groups of people.

Lerato Mbele and Lawrence Pollard

Newsday presenters Lerato Mbele and Lawrence Pollard

Starting on Monday 23 July there are some big changes to the programmes in this timeslot.

Until now, at these times you would have heard The World Today, and those listening in Africa would hear Network Africa at half-past the hour. Now however, both these programmes are being replaced by the new Newsday programme from World Service Radio, a single global daily news programme with a particular interest in its audiences in Africa.

So why the change? The current listening experience in Africa is far from ideal - two separate programmes with very different editorial takes on the day's news, in separate halves of the hour. We want to offer African audiences a single programme that has international news at its heart, but brings the biggest African stories to the world, and covers the biggest international stories with a particular eye on relevance for African audiences.

We're trying the same thing on BBC World News' new Focus on Africa bulletin which goes out on the channel at 18:30 each day, and on terrestrial partner stations across the continent.

To do this we've brought together the teams from the BBC African Service, and their colleagues in World Service English, along with a presenting team drawn from some of our biggest existing names, and some exciting new talent.

Every day the programme will be co-presented between London and Johannesburg. Lerato Mbele has joined us. Formerly of CNBC and SABC, she's one of southern Africa's best-known broadcasters. Hearing her live from South Africa every morning will help shape a great new sound for the programme, and engage new audiences for the BBC inside Africa on our FM relay stations and our 48 FM partners across the continent.

Listeners around the world can feel confident they'll continue to get the range of news and context around the day's events that they've come to expect. Of course, for the first three weeks of the programme's life, the biggest story is likely to be in London, as the world's attention turns to the Olympics.

So we hope you'll join us. With the team out on location each day, it's the perfect launch pad for the new show. And if things sound a little different to what you've come to expect, I hope you'll feel free to let us know what you think.

Jamie Angus is senior commissioner for BBC Global News.


  • Comment number 1.

    This has to be a cost cutting exercise.

    It is, however, always good to try new formats as long as they have been well thought out and researched. Good luck.

    The rest of the world does not stop for the Olympics. Do not fall into the lazy trap of downgrading the coverage of world events during the next few weeks.

  • Comment number 2.

    Jamie, nice to see things getting back on track following the rather painful cuts at the BBC World Service last year.

  • Comment number 3.

    This is disappointing. I liked the fact that I could listen to a show that focused solely on Africa. You’re going for 30 minutes solely devoted to Africa to 30 minutes devoted to world news in general (which you can already get throughout the day on the WS). Make no mistake about it, no matter how you slice it, you’re cutting coverage of Africa.

  • Comment number 4.

    I think the BBC has got quite the star in Lerato Mbele.. Definitely a great loss to South Africa in any case. It's no wonder that there is such a serious SABC leadership crisis with talent like that leaving SA.

  • Comment number 5.

    For listeners in the USA the end of “The World Today” is a tragic loss. One could listen to it in any FM radio by tuning in a large number of local NPR stations throughout many states. Where is the wisdom in trying to forcibly fix something that is not broken? Is it due to lack of funds? Can you not afford the hosts? They are truly professionals and the best.

  • Comment number 6.

    This is completely devastating to me. I have listened to the World Today throughout the night in the U.S. for 7 years. You have deprived the U.S. of its best international news source. I feel like a dear friend has died. And, you were so nonchalant about announcing it--like your listeners didn't even matter. The British people really have let the world down, and themselves, irreparably.

  • Comment number 7.

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

  • Comment number 8.

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

  • Comment number 9.

    During a recent interview where one of the new presenters said that Newsday would be "more conversational" and "hip", my heart sank at another example of dumbing down. Focusing even more on Africa compared with The World Today, I suspect the result will be an exodus of existing listeners outside Africa who want a global news programme (not "show") without being treated like children.

  • Comment number 10.

    Have strong reservations about combining two specialised and different programmes into a rather uncertain hybrid..hope indeed that this was carefully thought through

  • Comment number 11.

    Fear of the unknown; typical of human beings. Any progressive thing for it to qualify to be development should be resisted. Thank you as I prepare to adjust to start wakening up at 04:00hrs each morning and differ with Bana Musonda (my wife) who doest like my habit of switching on the radio that early

  • Comment number 12.

    @Sizwe M (#4): You're right - Lerato Mbele is excellent.. given what's happening at the moment with the SABC leadership though it's no surprise that any talent worth their salt would leave!

  • Comment number 13.

    I'm partially deaf - I heard one of the advertisements for Newsday during the last ever The World Today - and the 2 hosts of the show don't so much speak, as mumble. It was a strain on my ears. It would be nice if you at least give us hosts to the show who annunciate correctly, and speak loud enough to be intelligible without hearing aids in. I'm disgusted that you're killing off The World Today.

  • Comment number 14.

    'get the range of news and context around the day's events that they've come to expect'
    Phew, missed the early closing on this one. Am overseas, getting 'news' via BBC World. Which seems to involve a blonde in the UK asking a WHYS Editor what the views on twitter are. If radio is based on such a system of story collation, hardly a loss in any form. Yet the fee remains fixed.

  • Comment number 15.

    This doesn't have anything to do with the African/Chinese alleged new colonialism, does it?
    Mbele has been quite busy since walking out on CNBC Africa in Feb/12. She has been speaking at international conferences including the UN Summit Rio+20 in Brazil just the week before the BBC announcement.

  • Comment number 16.

    Mbele completed a master's degree in development economics, politics & international relations at the University of London. Thereafter, she became an expert on African issues while in the employ of the S.A. Institute for International Affairs. She seems to have a pretty solid western background.

  • Comment number 17.

    Mbele's reasoning on accepting BBC position is almost word for word BBC's own words. Though she is at BBC for "African" perspective, for her assignments appear to have been on streets of London covering stories around the Olympics.
    Mbele: "I have been asked to join the BBC TV crew Focus on Africa from this weekend before we go live on radio at the end of the month."

  • Comment number 18.

    Mbele will anchor 5-hour long show with Radio 2's Lawrence Pollard, UK-born BBC veteran Bola Mosuro, & Julian Keane & Nuala McGovern. Mbele: "BBC is on a big drive to give Africa greater prominence using its network of bureaus & journalists in Africa and abroad. The aim is to bring Africa to the world."…OR is it to help bring Africa back to the Anglo/American world?

  • Comment number 19.

    What a huge disappointment. I started listening to the BBC when NPR fired Bob Edwards and replaced him with the happytalk twins. Now BBC seems to be following NPR’s lead. I’m sure this is because of Tory budget cuts. What a shame. I listened for a while to the first Newsdays programs, totally content free happy talk. Any suggestions for alternatives?

  • Comment number 20.

    Newsday is very disappointing! News and analysis are almost completely gone, only 3 stories were covered in detail. I've heard more chatter about forklifts in presenters' background than serious news reporting! BBC promised a news show for the entire world with a strong focus on Africa, but we got a show with a lot of informal chat, almost no news and most of it not from Africa. Bring TWT back!

  • Comment number 21.

    The BBC's World Service audiences the world over found the intelligent, non-commercial approach to news they sought on The World Today. The ridiculous happy claptrap presenting and writing style of Newsday is an insult to those who hunger for radio which respects its listeners and doesn't feel the need to spend most of its time in self-promotion. This audience, so patronised, turned off.

  • Comment number 22.

    The World Today was intelligent and global. Now we have Newsday...Pointless vox-pops and annoying background music. We've just been told that someone's tweeted that they'd bought some batteries, and the presenter said that he couldn't get his head around the Eurozone crisis. Send this rubbish to Radio 1 or Children's TV.

  • Comment number 23.

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

  • Comment number 24.

    Dreadful programme. Another example of dumbing down. Awful "happy talk" presenters - can they only shout? The background music was also very irritating. The little news that was covered was handled so badly it was cringeworthy. If you can't bring back TWT then give us a programme that credits us listeners with a modicum of intelligence!

  • Comment number 25.

    This is a big disappointment. Is the BBC copying breathless American AM radio, to be low brow and sensational? Let's bring the tone, the intelligence and enunciation back to the morning programming. And let's give the WHOLE world an international program, without focusing on one continent, please. 

  • Comment number 26.

    Bob Bragar is right. A sad, tawdry affair. I have switched to Radio 4. Let me know when you come to your senses.

  • Comment number 27.

    May I add that the only "real" moment came when your interviewer asked an East End market trader what he thought of the Olympic Hype Fest only to learn that the man had been knocked off his pitch by something more Olympian. Your man spent the next 90 secs sputtering. Obviously unscripted. I hope my Schadenfreude shines through. You deserve it.

  • Comment number 28.

    Bob Bragar summed it up nicely. Very disappointing, even distressing. Hello, Regis Philbin and frothy inanity. Shallow happy-chat replacing substantive news read by authoritative hosts. While you are pandering to some nebulous new demographic out there, you are frustrating many of your loyal longtime listeners.

  • Comment number 29.

    I have listened to the BBC World Service to get away from inane babble of American commercial media and to revel in BBC’s high standards and its best, most intelligent and interesting news program, The World Today. Last night, after hearing the introductory hour of Newsday, I switched to a local commercial station. How could you do this to the BBC’s esteemed and proud brand?

  • Comment number 30.

    Oh, dear. Irritating background music, very little news, and a great deal that I couldn't care less about. Not to mention the olympic overload. I just want intelligent, sensible news.This is the radio version of morning TV with boop-boop added. I turned it off in disgust at about 20 minutes, and won't be returning. I'll stick to NPR and Aljazeera.

  • Comment number 31.

    Woke Up this morning at home in Belgium to hear this DROSS
    A voxpop from new spittlefields market! what rubbish.
    The BBC world service in this morning slot provides world news to European listeners at this time (remember the bit of the continent that starts east of Calais) us who work in the decision-making centres in Europe (Brussels & Frankfurt) depend on good world news

  • Comment number 32.

    I’m sure that the presenters are talented, but Newsday is a poor replacement of the World Today. News programmes should give updates about significant events & analysis by people in the know, not a dumbed-down programme. There is a place for that, but not in a news programme. So change the programme’s name or its nature. I’ll have to tune elsewhere for my morning dose of news & analysis.

  • Comment number 33.

    Is there a self destructive policy at the the BBC WS at the moment first there was the loss of the 648MW signal to western Europe a godsend to a any English speaking traveller - then you start with this excuse for a morning broadcast, although you always seem to have time to plug the WS for DAB "HELLO" DAB is a U.K. based broadcast medium
    For the sake of the BBC W.S. - this standard must improve

  • Comment number 34.

    Oh dear me. I shall switch to Radio 4 until The World Today gets put back in its slot.
    What is this programme Newsday? Sounds too much like most of the Italian programmes I refuse to listen to. It really is a shame that the BBC is lowering its standards even more.

  • Comment number 35.

    I understand the need to innovate but the World Sevice is known for in depth analysis by people who know what they are talking about. Newsday couldn't be further from that and it is very disappointing. I can't listen to this so I hope you will be moving back to something like the old format. Good luck - but move fast to fix this.

  • Comment number 36.

    The World Today suited the time of day I listen to the World Service> I would like in depth news from countries around the world. Unfortunately Newsday does not provide this: this chatty format is shallow and leaves me really let down when the BBC has so many fine correspondents and analysts that they should draw on for all their programming. This new programme is worthless.

  • Comment number 37.

    The World Today suited the time of day I listen to the World Service. I would like in depth news from countries around the world. Unfortunately Newsday does not provide this: this chatty format is shallow and leaves me really let down when the BBC has so many fine correspondents and analysts that they should draw on for all their programming. This new programme is worthless.

  • Comment number 38.

    What a huge disappointment! For years I have relied on TWT to present the world news intelligently. Now I am forced to suffer through dumbed-down chat "of special interest to Africa".
    Not for much longer. A match-losing own-goal, BBC. What a pity.

  • Comment number 39.

    Listening this morning, i thought it was a practical joke. Are you sure you're not just having us on, and The World Today will be back next week? It was the WS at its best, relaxed and effortlessly authoritative. Newsday is trivial, banal drivetime chat, the stuff any local station offers... this collapse in core WS quality and values will really damage yr reputation, do something quick!


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