Wales politics

BBC chief defends new Radio Wales Breakfast programme

Claire Summers
Image caption Claire Summers' breakfast show began in May

A new breakfast radio format on Radio Wales has been defended by the director of BBC Wales.

Rhodri Talfan Davies was addressing AMs' concerns about schedule changes at the radio station introduced in May.

Welsh Government Deputy Economy Minister Lee Waters said the changes meant there would be "no serious news programme" broadcast at breakfast time.

But Mr Davies insisted "no significant stories" had been lost since the new format was introduced.

Mr Waters previously used a meeting with broadcasting regulator Ofcom to object to the decision to drop the Good Morning Wales programme for the new breakfast show with Claire Summers.

Addressing questions from members of the Culture, Welsh Language and Communications Committee on Thursday, Mr Davies said "the story count is higher because there is more pace" in the new show.

Labour AM John Griffiths said some would "prefer a more serious news programme... rather than the chatty, almost disc jockey-type conversation that takes place."

Mr Davies responded: "We have to strike a balance between institutional focus and the focus on the direct human experience. People need to hear themselves on air."

He also suggested the possibility of a future additional service, to provide an alternative to the speech programme.

He said that given what has happened to local commercial radio stations, who are now allowed to run UK-wide breakfast programmes presented from London, there was scope to explore if "there's space for another provision that may be lighter in terms of its news content because some audiences will never turn to an all speech service".

Image caption Rhodri Talfan Davies has been director of BBC Wales since 2011

Mr Davies also defended drama series Pitching In, aired on BBC One daytime earlier this year.

It was criticised for being set on Anglesey but featuring mainly English characters.

Mr Davies said: "I feel very strongly about this. If anybody travels to Pembrokeshire or any coastal town in north Wales there are loads of places where you'd meet people who have moved in from England.

"They have just as much right to be reflected on our screens in Wales as those who have lived here all their lives."

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