Following on from What is in store for the next round of BBC cuts?, let look at the options for radio in a little more detail.
One option, of course, would be to take 22% away from all services, but the BBC is set on the idea of keeping those things it thinks are "the best quality". It is worth noting that the BBC has made annual savings of between 4% and 5% every year since 1998.
This could make a lot of sense if you wanted to cut 22% from the whole budget. Radio 4 has a large budget £122m, but a large number of listeners. Radio 3, on the other hand costs 44% of the speech station, but cost four times a much per listener-hour.
A combined service, with Classical Music hours at 10am-noon, an hour at 3pm and from 7pm-midnight would cut the cost of the service back to meet the cost cutting requirements. Taking 8 hours a day from Radio 4 would also allow the service to be made for less money, in particular expensive drama.
Another way of making savings of the scale required would be to change the network of local radio stations to use BBC Radio 5 Live as their main feed.
Aside from the breakfast (6am-9am) and "drive time" (4pm-6pm) shows, the local radio stations would relay the national news and sport network, but with periodic inserts of local news headlines and weather.
Using modern automatic branding (as the commercial local radio networks do) could allow the stations to be called, say "BBC Radio 5 Leeds" with local voices for the continuity.
The BBC probably would be £250m a year better off if the (radio) World Service stations were closed. This would make the total annual cutbacks £500m, rather than £750, so radio would still need to save £24 million (15%) a year.
In effect, the multitude of World Service radio stations costs about the same as two Radio 4 stations, and closing these is outside the scope of the proposals.
Radio 4 Long Wave can easily be got rid of by putting the Parliament and Service shows onto 4 Extra.
BBC Local Radio stations will close their Medium Wave service in most instances.
Whilst 1Xtra is an excellent radio station, it is hard to see it not being merged with Radio 1. Perhaps on a 6pm-6am half-day "takeover" basis. This would save money as 1Xtra is cheaper than Radio 1.
The double-national services in Scotland and Wales should also merge into one service, but that isn't part of the national radio budget.
Radio 4 Extra costs 0.8p per listener hour, and Radio 2 just 0.5p. These services are very good value for money.
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