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Read this: Gwyneth Williams answers your questions

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Gwyneth Williams answers your questions…



BBC sounds music Radio podcasts hello, what is feedback for feedback job is to act as channel through which the views of the ordinary listener and viewer can flow uphill Tom Vernon better known as The Fat Man on a Bicycle introducing episode back in 1980 today will be looking back at 40 years of feedback and 8 years of Gwyneth Williams controller of radio for we have to accept that when you do cut program budgets it has an impact on the kind of things we do nevertheless the programs are intelligent the people are extraordinary who makes them and I standards and quality of very high controller will be answering your questions about kuts podcast and everything in-between also this week the podcast today was to explain how it feels to be non-binary was the stories that people are sharing and so I couldn't stop listening once I had started our climate is changing but it's the

BBC keeping up given that we have 12 years to change many of our habits and ways of living the BBC should be doing so much more to inform and encourage debate on this.

I'll be putting your concerns to the science editors of BBC Radio and news, but first it was 40 years ago this month in April 1979 that Radio Times readers were first informed of the existence of feedback to be broadcast on Radio 4 longwave a new program in which town and presents a selection of your reactions and responses to programmes on radio and television if you have any bouquets or brickbats.

Please write to BBC at the BBC archive couldn't lays hands on that first ever broadcast but we were able to find one of our very early Editions it was broadcast on the 2nd of March 1980 and the topic was a familiar one.

I'm very worried about the comments in the pipeline.

Equitation and the scriptures from him that hath not be taken away even that little witches cafe educational programs because I think they're very very good.

Can you reduce a shoe string only further proves was familiar as well with the presenter robust interviewing not the managing director of radio opera singer but his past the director general Sir Ian trethowan.

We just have to make a judgement of this judgement was was made I can see that some people obviously went back it, but there's actually nothing you can do no service you can cut without somebody being disappointed and if there were then we haven't done.

I'd rather nipples so far mainly at The Corporation but they must come a point when the cuts are going to bite on the listener.

How far off is that well? It's very difficult to say and there are some uncertainties mainly on the pay frontwell 40 years on the knives and one small sharpening.

Corporation says that it's got to find 800 million pounds in savings and that's before paying for the over 75's free licences or not and within the audio directories which is what we now call BBC Radio it comes to the time when you money is also to be found to finance the expansion of BBC sounds and podcasting BBC sounds available now on BBC sounds on BBC sounds Radio 4 has not been spared the religion and ethics series something understood has been cancelled mid tender the production teams behind a lot of Radio 4 content have been asked to find 50 redundancies floor plans to merge the world tonight production team with one from the world service and last week IPM the listener LED weekly companion program 1400 was terminated much to the frustration of its fans amongst most of our Correspondents there is great concern about the impact of the cuts and where is the 2004 is abandoning its older audience in pursuit of younger listeners, we start with d.

The Churchill to remodel mate Radio 4 in order to let more young people in their getting to lose those who ratio Radio 4 Elizabeth Walker we have so many stations platforms formats etc.

Give to a younger audience.

Why do we need more Radio 4 has a great reputation to maintain please? Don't lose it for a short-term fix the channel the most alienating programmes has tended to become flagship programmes like the Today programme where all I hear is Confrontation and the playground equivalent of fight fight fight Linda Revell everyone grows into Radio 4 start on one then two then gradually Radio 4 become.

Once go to station, what is this obsession with attracting use it's all about growing up and that's what BBC executives need to do to leave it alone and I'll be Burton from Winchester I'm a constant and habitual Radio 4 live with the many years but I do think that it's dumb down a bit over the last few years and I think that there's more and more what I consider to be cheap radio at things that could be heard around any family dinner table a bit of a chat going on.

It's been controller Radio 4 and 4 Extra since 2010, but she's leaving in the next few weeks.

She joins be now.

Thank you controller for coming and thank you for having me.

It's always a pleasure to be on feedback talk to the wonderful listeners likely for much longer or again because you're leaving why it's the best job in broadcasting most people think are you thinking too? So, what are you going?

I'm 8 years is a pretty good into someone's just said to me and you know I've done a lot of things I said up to do.

I'm looking forward to doing other things outside the BBC that'll be a changed.

No emails no meetings.

You know I think it's time for someone else to have a go listen to be getting fed up of my preoccupation is enough Henry James enough Trollope you know someone else needs to have a go now because you think the network does every 8 years these wellpets too strong with a reinventing.

I mean a fresh mind coming does make changes initially perhaps unpopular but does make changes.

I'm sure constant renewal.

I mean it's like the the novel The leopard that I played on New Year's Day this year.

I'm in order for everything to remain the same everything has to change and it's as we Face great change in our Society broadly and really for has to keep up with it and it's it's a real question.

It's a mission and so of course we need the all-new freshminds and all the most.

Clearance in best producers which we have hooves made programs for me and I will always be grateful to them does not one of us must ask for questions of you will have picked One anyway, which says how much has the radio for budget reduced in real terms since you took control of explain exactly what detail but you know uncle Radio 4 money goes to news and use of course is facing cuts because we have to make up with some the BBC with wide savings was really so the risk of being exempt have you are really worried.

They do get concerned.

That's the sound radio.

Is it sunny in Wales to cheaper? Well? I don't think that happened yet.

I really don't but I do think you're right at listening right to point out that this is something we have to guard against.

It's essential that the BBC recognises and I know it does the historic a treasure of Radio 4 in its midst you could show radio 4 something understood actually and Nintendo you just taken out eye p.m.

And there.

Are we not cats with there is a merger going to go on apparently between the world tonight Steam and a world Service Team why specific did you choose something understood for the Acts of course? It was a difficult decision to cut something and I loved it.

I chose it because since I'm controllers Radio 4 and it's always the listener.

That's at the front of the mic.

So I knew that they had a rich fabulous archive of programs are going back a long long way, so I thought that listeners could continue to have this program of course.

It's a sad thing but it had to be done to make the budgets work.

We who fit on the home network increasing in another chance to listen something of the best ready for you are having to repeat aren't you and in doing so isn't.

Confusing or in some ways making a relevant the role of ready for it to think not because we have an audience in fact.

It's double DIN the.

I've been here to over 2 million people who really enjoy really for extra.

It's got a different sort of feel to it, but of course the key thing to preserve protect and to make sure is brilliant in the future is Radio 4 the original programming and as you say you know we are having to run more repeats and obviously that's not great but I don't understand and people can't have to be honest I can sometimes he is slightly slimmer programs.

You must know that's happening.

I don't think that's the case at the moment.

I defend my programme makers.

I think they do cos you don't have to tell them doing the best but they didn't the best with less resources which means often few items which often means travelling less reporting less.

But it is true that we have to accept that when you do cut program budgets it it it has an impact on the kind of things we do nevertheless the programs are intelligent the people are extraordinary who makes them and I standards and quality of very high success judged by the audience figures still it was nothing else in church by our listeners have been with my record audience and it's wonder to st.

People come to us at times when the world is so complex and there's so much that we need to do to help explain it and and analyse it was a general approval rating but a real concern which comes up time and time again about the priority apparently been given across the BBC Two younger listeners ready for always been worried about have not having enough young to listen assassin is not a recent thing well, if I'm it's not just younger listeners funeral Radio 4 once all its listeners.

We don't think about Alison's particularly and that way I mean we live in the knowledge, Society people want to find out.

How the world works they want to be inspired they want to have their imaginations stretch.

They want to encounter things that they've never thought of before they want to learn stuff of coursework want younger listeners would be mad not to it's more really what's happening.

I think he's a is a technological revolution, so it's not the content and the way we make program for the quality of the program if you listen now you listen 8 years ago you hear a great difference against of tone and style.

I mean I've put more diverse voices there more women throughout the network and brilliant presenters for quality and the content and death the same photo some Alison say that look at some natural migration goes on the listener ready one and then pups Radio 2 when younger you moved to Radio 4.

Don't worry BBC about whether the now young audience will come in later life to Radio 4 today will and yet the whole thrust of BBC sounds which is taking money from across the corporation and for your budget is this.

With scared that might not happen, they might not come therefore we have to get out for their smartphones.

We have to do podcast with after all those others I think we are living in a different world as far as media consumption is concerned course we are but I've always thought indeed when I went for this initial job interview 8 years ago.

I said that we needed to have a brilliant digital iteration a digital part of radio 47 behind ear of Radio 4 could be reached by people who were living in the new world and it's more so now all ready for listeners use the internet in the web for highly intelligent audience and you don't look we have 26 million downloads of bonfire radio for the Challenge for us is to bring the Next Generation in and that's why something like sounds really has to work and you know it we've got to have brilliant digital expression of Radio Forth content crucially people would say what marks are you? I think you're controllership was your

Mrs on foreign affairs but also crucially scientific coverage and the Life Scientific is there did you have any doubts that that would work when you first? I didn't I was committed to it because I could see that the discussion on Radio 4 needed a bit more understanding of of scientists and how they work and of course you can you get that now is prime time, but it was quite funny because when Gemini launch it.

I actually discuss it with him before my interview and her when we launched it.

You know people that are controlling people say you'll never find another interesting scientists to talk about their lives in Prime Time 9 well of course we have and even then and that's 8 years ago.

I'm proud to say that over 50% of those were women and I do think that that is helped with our understanding of science which is crucial for you is news and current affairs 3rd if you're up for roughly is that

Completing trivalent vaccine at news has it but they need your agreement and do you have to exert influence on them you have done that haven't you? I mean finally the Today programme has more than that was a struggle wasn't it? Was that I'm delighted with all my presenters and that I think they're at the top of their game.

Yes, who does a relationship with users is actually very close indeed.

I come from the news and current affairs stabilized to sit on the news for to construct them of course not a Dream It's a good discussion and argument sometimes and very often agreement because machine is astonishing.

I mean we must be unique in the in the correspondence.

We have around the world and that's the thing with Radio 4 U cherry-pick the best don't always tell my colleagues at the that's what we're doing.

We looking for the very best we can find in the BBC and pick them off a removal firm which I think is underrated is the difficulty of getting.

The Reith lectures right actually it just happens.

It's one of those things it is it's a personal project for me and I've worked on them for so many years I use to edit them whenever I'm not surprised him.

I met him we had a great conversation about creativity and I found him inspiring and so I asked him to do the lectures and I'm rather pleased about Hilary mantel as well, because you know the time we're all talking about fake news there.

She was talking about history and fiction so it felt right word right through your successor.

Who will face continuing cuts.

What's your advice? Will always remember you're there for the audience.

You're the champion for the audience.

You're the person who's got to put the audience first always and Radio 4 is unique.

It's a historic treasure of urgent contemporary relevance I'd argue and it runs like a river through our national life and try national conversation so keep it there.

Our thanks to Greenwich Williams and do keep letting us know what you think.

This is the last feedback in the current series but we are always available to listen to your thoughts if you want to get in touch with me back.

You can email feedback at bbc.co.uk tweet us at BBC R4 feedback.

You can leave us a message on 0333344 45044 standard landline charges apply, but it could cost more on some mobile networks feedback PO Box 67234 London se1p 4ax all those details are on our website and B stands for nota bene, but also for non-binary meaning people who don't identify with traditional gender labels and b is also.

The title of a new podcast from BBC sounds which debuted in February it's presented by Caitlin Benedict and amrou al-kadhi and promises to ask the big questions about gender and identity and it's had a profound impact on some of our listeners.

This is ND non-binary dismantling the gender binary one big question at the time and he is very very genuine emotional and so I couldn't stop listening once I had started you get you to really connect the stories that people are sharing gimatic.

My name is Matt and Tim I think we just really well.

It is downloading non-binary or genderqueer actually feels like the people identify that way I often struggle to explain to my friend's sum identities such as non-binary NB has helped in understanding that world a little.

Bata, hi, my name is Alfie it would have been invaluable to me is a confused child who doesn't have access to anything like it and is now as an adult immensely comforting to me.

Thank you for making important to me that we face up to that so we can go right.

How can I be happy? Hi? My name is Charlie have the BBC tackle a subject like this and give a non-binary presenter such freedom to explore their own identity and the field as a whole is so wonderfully refreshing and affirming your views on the podcast non-binary finally from brexit to Donald Trump from the Christchurch killings to the floods in Mozambique it's hardly been a slow year for news but for many of our correspondence does one topic of supreme importance that has been greatly underplayed my name is Magnus I'm 21 and I'm a student and I think whilst issues like brexit are really important to

Young people like me I think in 5100 years that's not going to be the issue that matters it's going to be the climate and the fact that the climb it's been destroyed.

I think he will need to be caring about that now bulkeley for an issue as vital and important as this the BBC is still treating it as a trivial Sideshow what has happened.

Why has this been sidelined with three known about it for a very long time.

I am Rose from Cumbria the BBC should be doing so much more to inform and encourage debate on this for instance.

I haven't ever heard Simon Jack what other business Correspondents pro business leaders about their carbon reduction plans, what does increasing coverage environmental issues on Radio 4 think it's really important to try and bring these issues to the for my name is Christopher Padley with frequently get and use items.

Are extremely pertinent to the environment and Climate Change which the never mention it will be things like her talking about her that save airport expansion and there isn't a link made what policies do they have for insuring that related topics are connected in questioning.

So how does the BBC decide what to cover about climate change and how to cover it and I joined by two people who have to make those decisions Deborah Cohen the science editor for BBC radio and David shukman science editor for BBC News Bloodstock Festival with you David shukman, didn't the coverage of planned change his prominent enough like any reporter? I'd like my subject to be given Prime Time slots every night.

We are in an extraordinarily busy news.

With brexit dominating so much so now and again.

I will try to raise my hand.

And Flag up some important development I think by and large if you take a longer view, so don't just look back over the last couple of months, but look back over the last decade or so 15 years.

I would say we got quite a good track record of covering all the main certainly research efforts into climate change all of the policy issues all of the issues about Howard affect individual individual people but I think if people have sent singer.

They're not getting enough climat news right now the answer may be that because climate change is a process without so many immediate issues like brexit crowding into the news agenda, but we do sometimes get a bit squeeze devacurl you obviously tried to cover climate change in the program directly responsible for but how about your wider influence speaking at that point in time and Jack business editor when he's talking to come and she not be raising this issue.

Do you have any influence over people likes?

No, I can't say we do have any influence you know I think the fact that we do in a we've covered a lot more time at stories within programs like Inside Science we've had climate scientists on the Life Scientific so we just giving us an opportunity to explore the research in a bit more detail than you might get all in used but unfortunately the BBC such a large organisation that we don't really have any control over what you thinking away.

You're all stuck in silos.

You do the best you can but some of the other gear is doing something different and overall in the BBC I think some of our listeners think there should be a sort of Death From Above climate.

Change is so important and this is particularly coming from younger listeners.

It should be released in everything well.

I think you need a bit of variety.

I think you do need to have different speakers and slightly different takes on stories and different programs because I think otherwise it does become that the BBC would be it would be very uniform so it's important.

Tough business to be talking about it and for your artistic responses to things you know we've had done in a John lanchester's book that was on Radio 4.

Just recently which is climate fiction in our looking ahead.

There's a podcast has come out of Radio 4 call Forest 404.

That's looking futuristically but I'm afraid I don't feel ever been a dick from on high that everyone will do the same thing Germany the culturally don't generally go down very well with fiercely independent program that cos you are right that there is a silo mentality and that that's a historic thing that broadly in a Newsroom you do you have correspondence who tried to keep watch on different Ministries and those of the divisions that seem to perpetuate for a very long time we had tried in different ways to engage other bits of the newsroom in the climate story so for example during the Paris summit that led to the famous Paris agreement 2015 the business unit very much got involved in the coverage of the business Angela because one of the big shift has been the Las

10 years is the engagement of the corporate sector in this question but where does this stop short of campaigning because a lot of young people and a lot of others who are very deeply concerned about what is happening very very deeply concerned and think actually your responsibility given the future of the planet at stake is too campaign.

Can you complain Deborah Cohen no? I don't think we don't campaign we want to keep our journalistic distance such that weekend question things and I don't think wherever campaigning in the in programs.

You know I think I'll role is to is to ask questions of researchers in in my case or you know to challenge people to go to understand why they're saying what they're saying.

I think the slightly allergic to campaign to find me nothing.

I've not been to securest about this something we have a different job if you're a correspondent the job is to report whatever the latest developments are if people want to campaign off around back as a result of that fine.

But it definitely I think as soon as you cross the line of perceived to across the like people accuse us of having crossed a line and becoming a campaign on a range of things you're a particularly dangerous.

I think for us, but this is a question keeps coming up I know but is there a BBC policy which says we are not going to have what might people loosely called a climate change Denier on the airwaves in the programs that are responsible for which are science based programs.

We would if someone poppies to paper in A reputable journal of the question some of the research and we felt that this was something that was worth looking at then we would put that person on air and we requested them in a lot of details as to where there is such came from but as a matter of course the BBC has moved beyond thinking that every time you do a story on climate change you have to have a sceptic to argue against it you can have.

Big discussion about what you do and there are and how you deal with the issue.

That is an area of debate, my understanding is that you cry in your choice of guests on in your coverage to give what school do you wait to wear the science lies and then you try and reflect where the body of the evidence lies? That's very different from saying it's someone's got an expertise in a particular feel like energy that they shouldn't have a major contribution to a debate about.

What is the right policy and future temperature in I think it is a tricky story to tell to make it understandable to everybody so we try really hard to explain the difference between weather and climate and the idea of a long-term trend so I think that's where we should be putting our efforts to try and make it easier for the public to understand.

What is actually going on what the scientists saying is going on Deborah Kerr Chapman thank you very much and that's all for feedback for this week and for another series.

I'll be back in.

Please do keep your comments coming in and remember it is your BBC you pay for it you own it around the time that this program was launched 40 years ago the very idea that the views of listeners deserved an earring was the subject of division as the Times put it listens of Sourz old and dried up lemons constantly grizzling about musical jingles sex bad language movie themes reception problems schedule in regional accents and less about what programme said or signified listeners are simply not well enough informed to pass judgement.

Thank you for spending 40 years proving that wrong.

Goodbye.


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