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BBC salami-slicing returns to overnight services?

Tony Hall, the BBC boss, promised first that the licence fee settlement was "cash neutral" and then that there would be no "salami-slicing" of services. So why have overnight TV and radio services been cut?

No salami-slicing at the BBC  Photograph: Wikipedia
No salami-slicing at the BBC Photograph: Wikipedia
published on UK Free TV

You may recall that the BBC Director General made a speech three years ago saying:

“We decided we'd reached the point where salami-slicing would affect quality and distinctiveness. Rather than seek to preserve a less good version of our past, we decided to focus on what we do best: from drama to taking iPlayer into the next generation.” -


It would appear that salami-slicing is back!  Lewis Carnie, the head of BBC Radio 2, spoke to the BBC Feedback programme last week, saying…

“The BBC is under pressure across the board not just  in radio but in television, everywhere,  with the reduced licence fee settlement, successive licence fee settlements, so therefore we have less money to spend. So, we have to make some very tough decisions. We're going to continuously look for efficiencies everywhere we possibly can but at the moment we are cut to the bone, and that is why we have seen a look at on-air content and see how we can be as efficient as possible on-air.

Lewis Carnie

[Roger Bolton] Tell me about something you have cut that that listens have noticed?

Well we’ve rationalize a lot of our specialist music…

[Roger Bolton] Rationalising means what … “cutting”?

It does mean cutting because any kind of programme making cost money to actually deliver so we have to find ways that we can deliver high quality programming that the listeners will want on a sufficient basis as possible. We have to look to deliver to the majority of our audience the program they want.  We reach in excess of 50 million listeners a week, so we put two places where the audience is not high and we had to rationalise that and that seems to be the most sensible way for us to save money so we can still deliver the majority of our programming with an audience clearly want.

[Roger Bolton]  Maybe that’s the case in terms of numbers but the lot of people listen overnight particularly want, need and enjoyed your service and can't get it elsewhere so a live overnight services a public service. Nobody elsewhere is providing that sort of service?

It is indeed but if you look out for when we change overnight services a few years ago we actually cut a chunk of our overnight live programming and introduced high rating programmes that went out in day parts to be repeated the audience actually went up overnight it didn't decrease. 

So we are actually was giving people something that they obviously chose to listen to in large numbers than they did when there was live programming in that slot.

We aren’t putting out nothing over-night, what will be doing is with putting out a voice-track programs with a whole range of new presenter, new voices to network.  It's a more efficient way of producing programming there will still be a great choice of music.  A varied choice of music covering all our genres, and we are introducing genre playlists hand created by our own specialist presenters all our genres across the week so they will still be a great offer to listen to.

[Roger Bolton]  There won’t be live interaction that can't be because there's nobody there to interact with?

You’re correct there won’t be. 

There were no more repeats there currently are on the schedule at the moment we run repeat every night between 3 and 5.

[Roger Bolton] So when does this all come into play?

It comes into play at the beginning of February.

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Wednesday, 22 February 2017

11:01 AM

Willie Bone: True, there is nothing quite like a live presenter, but that means a live presenter and a small technical staff, etc have to stay up all night. And you have to pay them to do that, if you can find someone willing to do it.

Unless its a phonein programme, or where you need live information, a recording will be fine for most people.

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MikeB's 2,579 posts GB flag
Friday, 24 February 2017

6:32 PM

The BBC wouldn't have to cut things like live Radio 2 overnight if it spent less money on Football! The amount it spends on Football is disgusting.

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Chris.SE's 4,205 posts GB flag
Monday, 27 February 2017
Willie Bone

7:56 PM

MikeB: Up here in Scotland, we are about to get a new BBC television channel for Scotland
that very few people really seem to want. The BBC Scotland management team were more aspired
to having a ''Scottish News At Six'' on BBC One tv and a BBC Radio Scotland 2 service,
complimenting the established Radio Scotland service. Aunty in London knew best & jettisoned
both of the BBC Scotland proposals!
The point being, if money is available to fund a new television channel in Scotland that very few
people are interested in, why not fund and retain the overnight live programmes on BBC Radio 2?
The overnight schedule of live radio presentation has greater value to night shift workers than
squandering funds on an extra tv channel that Scots don't really want nor need!

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Willie Bone's 58 posts GB flag
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