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Read this: 21/08/2020 Radio 4 Feedback

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21/08/2020 Radio 4 Feedback…

BBC sounds music Radio podcasts this the last series of feedback to an interview with the controller Radio 4 Extra and Radio 4 podcast he is the multitasking mohit bakaya to have been in charge for almost exactly a year now having been a commissioning editor at the network since 2008 welcome to feedback, where do you controlling all this output from the attic or your office in broadcasting house in London since my daughter's bedroom which is a strange place to control Annette but that's what I've been trying to keep the network on here.

It's been quite an experience.

I have to say Thursday in the studio for a few months first time I've been in since March it's very strange really surreal see London I mean not totally empty as it has been in the last few months but still not.

Do you like it was when I last within the building it's been weird.

How did you want change Radio 4 remember using a couple of Fraser's one was it Radio 4 as an idea idea that we can make sense of the world help people understand better.

What mean on around them and understand each other better and what I want to do.

I take with my dear.

What's to recognise the fact that actually there are lots and lots of people who didn't get ready for who we might have to reach a new way of course.

It's also about other ways events which courts have had a bit of a and had to put on hold because of coving what I mean is I want to spread the word because I'm so passionate about ready for what it is.

That was one of the things and then the other thing was I'm really keen and interested in you thinking and how thinking around the world particularly thinking around positive thinking Solutions might help us navigate the

What is the face of Radio 4 programmes will prioritise Solutions not arguments with the view to enabling people to and I quote discover underground in a civilized manner toward extent.

Do you think you've achieved that go? Do you have any evidence of a new found common ground between listeners? Have you seen that common ground developing mohit bakaya? I think it's pretty early stages.

We've launched new pregnant positive thinking a few weeks ago and that's been an attempt to try and look for some of the Solutions people seeking around the world.

I think that's one part of it and we're looking at many other things a recent Project I've been very much about looking for ways in which the word.

How we can look at the thinking and ideas that might drive that because you're that the program so then it was becoming too negative on about 30 years ago now one of your predecessors.

Michael green.

Is it sometime listening to my network in the morning? Maybe want to cut my wrists Today programme Woman's Hour and sometimes it can be everything that's wrong with the world.


I don't want overstate this because of course we've got a really important job in terms of Honey pad to accounting terms of analysing and exploring you know the dark side of the culture my god.

There's an awful.

Lot of stuff out there right now that to be dog into an investigator Denny's grim at times.

So this is not to try and stop doing that really important job.

This is just also say that what people also need is Hope and you when you look a lot of me if you can sometimes see just unrelenting diet of misery and the things are going wrong with the world and you we don't get much of a focus on the ways in which many people right round the world and in this country.

Take me to find Solutions and all of Brilliant Things people do and I just want to Showcase that as well.


You had to within 6-months of taking over the job you have to fix something which has been very wrong indeed, which was the coded so how did you decide what to prioritise the first thing to say is we realised very early on that the audience that we broadcast to was going to be right in the firing line of covered and they were going to be anxious information and explanation.

They Gonna want to hear politicians and decision-makers been held to account but also I think really important for us to have the way we prioritise was companionship and escape and that's why we wanted to keep praying that the Archers and woman's are and from round all our new sequences on there because they felt like they provide a still point in attorney while they can have a sense of ownership as I say a normality but also we wanted to find escape and that's why we although we obviously lost a lot of drama and comedy cuz it was impossible to record it as well as lots of documentaries.

Of course.

There's people couldn't go out.

That's why we chose rather than just about any other pizza in there.

We put classic comedies like clue and jam and we put some Kevin pressures in one of my favorites and lots of other things are great drama as well to just helped the audience LIVE through what was a very very unsettling experience and remembering the Old adage.

Never waste a crisis has there been creative opportunities they certainly have creative technical solutions to problems that may have long-term impact that you think that they have been opportunities program opportunities which would be in as it were created by this crisis.

I'm not sure it's been pretty difficult that it would be glib to suggest you know out of this comes a whole new kind of dawn of brilliant technical solutions to remaking having the Producers who made hard everything second twice as long they put themselves at risk and often you know they've been trying to home-school and look after relatives and so on one of the things that had happened.

Has been interested, is it zoom as we're doing this interview on as well has made us we also course we can meet anywhere in anyone in the world and we did rethink and we got the Pope and I don't think we would get the walking and I think the present because I'm ready for a found that they've actually had doorways open to people in might never have got another Circumstance simply because the Walsall it became much smaller as result virtually rather than in physical proximity, so that's been one of the things which I think will continue is no my favourite on Radio 4.

He is awesome the way he presents rethink is absolutely brilliant Radio 4 programmes have got so much better since the pandemic.

Was it the case you think was planned before the pandemic or that you brought it forward as a result of the pandemic pandemic about two weeks into it.

I said when I come.

We need to think about how did this is going to change everything we need to think about what might come out of this that might improve our lives again sticking to the point with Michael earlier about trying to look positive thinking the world as well as all the other stuff.

We have to do and so everything we did from pretty much from scratch and 6 weeks.

It's one of the biggest projects Radio 4 as ever undertaken and to do it in 6 weeks was I think I saw me to get over 16 speakers from the Pope through to George Street Samantha power through to lady Hale I mean just an astonishing array of people and then we got the whole network to join open today broken right through the world tonight.

So we've been carrying on with talking to news about really building a rethink My Hope Is that recently come to permanent fixture as we move on the pandemic to just thinking more generally about the ideas that might help us improve Society and our lives well.

Let's look at other hours of programming which were affected by.

When we receive a lot of feedback from listeners on the Archers and a lot of it, I have seen negative.

This is what listener Caroline Wright had to say in response to our interview with your commissioners for drama and fiction because average a couple of weeks ago Carolyn Wright from Anglesey I found reasons for the monologues as opposed to dialogues fairly convincing so it seems to me it was the question of money than anything else surely.

They got more people in to do the extra editing required given that so much work has dried up undercovered, so was the cost of the main reasons for monologues replacing dialogue.

No it wasn't and I'm eating out it but unfortunately it's not correct.

That is very simple thing it I mean when we as we were saying earlier concerned about companionship and creeping sometimes normality on Radio 4 and it felt to me as others that the Archers was actually essential to that so we wanted to keep us going and I'm very proud of the team.

Incredibly difficult circumstances to be disappointed about how many arches fans were disappointed.

They were a lot more who come to us and understood that we're trying to do something buried in a pandemic and have actually enjoyed as I have the internal monologues and the enticing some of the characters that populate the drama the challenges were tricky for the Arches and I accept that some people have not enjoyed the Monarchs and I'm sorry about that you've lost the figures down.

Do you know where we haven't got figured suspended, but I hope not I mean I'm sure there are people who have drift away.

I hope they're going to give back the good news is as you know dialogue has been coming back this month.

We've got more work coming back.

I've been working with the team very closely to ensure that happened and as I understand it there in studio this week, so we're going to start moving back to the Archers we all know and love and I hope those people if they're already you have Drift Away will come back to find the Archers that they

In fine form well, it's turned out to be super repeats and Duncan Mackay has some reservations about their scheduling.

What's I accept the need for the BBC radio channels especially Radio 4 to use repeat the schedule starts due to production difficulties and of course budget cuts I am beginning to become annoyed at the reducing time intervals between original broadcast and repeats this evening at 8 p.m.

To seize grounded with Louis Theroux episode 6 again is this creating a problem for you too many repeats in quick succession I understand the necessity of some of it, but you think it's your problem.

Where does this leave for extra the home of repeats potatoes as separate questions and of course we had to repeat more I don't think that the price to anyone as we've lost programs and sometimes that might mean people bumping into programs more often than they want to I mean remember quite often network is always repeating and we have a thing we call a narrative repeat.

Goes out in the morning and then is repeated later that evening and you know in our time and start the weekend all these programs have that and that's partly because we know that often different people are listening at different times of the day and so that we don't have to duplicate in in listening inevitably through the pandemic.

We will ever replace some stuff with people find themselves bumping into more remember other people are probably listening for longer because they're not on the day in the office in the same way for extra then because this little question mark about it's role in future.

No, I don't think so different job for us and don't go on radio solid loyal audience of its own and they provide an absolute essential rolling it in providing escape and entertainment video from the archive essentially most of the programs we repeat our from very recent times and is another opportunity to catch stuff with your mind of course I mean Louis Theroux example you've used that's had over 11 million people listening On podcast as well as the millions and

Play Smooth Radio for a huge success for us and we've had incredibly good feedback on it.

So we just thought it was another opportunity for those people who haven't heard it to catch it to another of your responsibilities cast list has his doubts about the strategy set by your boss the director of radio and education for somebody is the orthodoxy from James Purnell down has been the podcast and on-demand is the only way for radio showing this strategy to be unrealistic because it didn't take account of live radios unique ability to connect with people does the wave of affection radio to another stations which is weld up since the lockdown tell us that a radio station like Radio 4 is more than the sum of it's podcasts have we just witnessed the power of live broadcasting does that mean that the pushed word podcast should be slowed down to your first question is yes, and I think live radio is incredibly important one of the things this country does.

Anyone else and radio for a feelings opposite of top of that tree in terms of what do you think of my radio can do and I certainly the pandemic has really highlighted.

It's in our culture.

I don't think that I don't think that means therefore that in any way casts doubt On podcast by podcast has been shown to be so it should be redirected there and not directed so much towards podcast this is a false dichotomy tiny tiny fraction of aspen.

Goes On podcast the fast as it should be and we you know recognise absolutely the empower and the importance of the live radio schedule.

We spent a very small amount of money on podcast because actually there are things we can do and one of the great things about BBC sounds and not many people can I think say this but it's true is it gives us a perfect way of having a cake and eat it what we can do with this morning.

I was gonna podcast.

Make progress in podcast with a slightly different tone, but always always always with the same.

I hope intelligence and curiosity that we would expect from radio for that reach those people who don't know no one like you to come to the radio in the way.

I did when I was younger where they are and that's what podcast can do it can open up because I think Radio 4.

It's a wonderful secret that I want more people to know about people out there who would love it, who do love it now.

They found it but haven't found it to the radio and have found it through podcast quite number is actually show your concern about the younger audience and he is Carolyn Johnson from Eckington to listen to podcasts now, so probably established and they are likely to return to trust you're listening anonymous.

I work part-time with students from a variety of backgrounds and adults I found a notice.

Aves younger people have almost been lost by the BBC something which my generation really valued.

I hope you can win franchise them, but please don't do it by alienating current audiences lowest common denominator or hip presentation is just an insult to everyone.

It's only ever done so you're succeeding in doing that those two things keeping the other audience but also getting the People by podcast figures are the figures that tell you that succeeding we are quite a few years around the 11 million mark on we have grown and grown and grown in sounds.

We are the biggest network in sounds most of them listening in sound does live and on-demand to keep it together is to Radio 4 content, so I think it is a structure which is working.

We're not losing ready for it's because we actually don't want to lose that audience.

It is absolutely the first and most important part of my job to make curious.

Intelligent important truthful programs for the ready for Leon's that's my job after that we want to try and reach out and bring a new bunch of people in because we think we've got something really in this world with this information and all the angry screaming that goes on a social media or rest of it.

We think radio for its complexity and it's absolute commitment to truth and fact finding analysis.

It's everyone should have the privilege of experiencing and but we know that they may not get it through the radio cos they don't have known one so we find them to podcasts.

Do you think you need to have more younger presenters? I mean who presents can change the term for programming course and 1 biggest changes recently.

I've been to the very popular test Island Discs this what you said leave you with that to say Carol Ross on the presenter.

It is no longer a serious program.

Is it now aimed principally at Radio 6 young people just there for their choice of pop music.

Peter Frost I continue to enjoy this program for many years the program with Ian Wright hit a high note expertly compare by Lauren emotional and revealing more like this.

Is there any evidence that more young people are listening to this done this since Lauren Laverne took over I think downloads to Desert Island Discs if I don't know the actual demographic that I downloaded it, but if we assume as we might be younger people are downloading more online then that is definitely going up and she's staying as a presenter of the presidential doesn't send if you look at the people.

She's interviewed and past few weeks the UN from the Tate people and one of the things you know you're listening that was the most downloaded.

I think she creates a space space for people that are remarkable stories.

I think they're pregnant and really strong form has been created across by the upcoming departures from women's that are of Jenni Murray after over 30 years.

Have you decided?

And will it be a younger person we are in conversation about that you have to watch this space.

We going to be announcing that question well, you may have heard the last week.

We have some prison woman that are from two out of comfort zone listeners women and we got a lot of fat from the ones are audience Carousel my wife give me how to be absolutely honest.

I mean you don't do the program needs to change along with the presented the program is still love bites audience and new presenter will obviously bring new things to it and bring will a barbers all programs are ready for should I bother I don't want any other pregnant before use the distinctiveness and what they said had to do but I do want them all to keep with the times and keep refreshed and one last question if I mean on the pressure presenters people are obviously enjoying the time but they want new additions.

Is it coming back and will it still be presented by melvyn Bragg of course it will I think has been trying out recording from home in LA

I know his itching to get back and we're desperate to get it back on it.

That's very much for the moment will be coming back to mohit bakaya in a second thoughts on that part of anything to do with BBC Radio do please let us know.

This is how you get in touch you can send an email to feedback at or write a letter via the feedback PO Box 67234 London se1p 4ax you can follow activity on Twitter by using at BBC R4 feedback or you can call us and leave a phone message on 03330456004 standard landline charges apply, but it could mobile networks all these details are on our websites now back to the BBC Radio 4 Radio 4 Extra and podcast mohit bakaya, and in this part of our influence.

Some of the issues that the station is going to have to grapple with and changes planned for your schedules, and this is what this the Deborah Hackett has to say really true that the BBC going to cease broadcasting in business.

I am appalled.

It is always relevant and interesting and the guests are always articulate it seems that any program for Intelligent listen, who seek more knowledge particularly about the business world and those who need it is regarded as a target for those who seek to cut costs why in the end has been busy well sadly in business is a cut which has been imposed on ready for as a result of the news cuts that have had to be made news this dating a huge challenge with the savings to make people have seen some of the staff losses they had to go through there that I don't want any programs to go on Radio 4 that that are important in business.

I would be saying that in the present economic crisis.

We need more business reporting not less we were the challenges.

We face.

I know one thing I'm looking at urgently is to see how we can keep our business program whether that's through other programs or whether it's through a new program, but one of the things.

I'm very pleased about is that you know in Lost by the ways news parts not for and hopefully will continue to make the for radio for 2BA to think of this possible for me to put on not far off it but with the announce cuts and the plan to reduce the decision by the news reduce the number of stories between Crystal prominence across news outlets, is there a danger that the agenda Narrows and programs sound the same you know you obviously want Radio 4, but what's happening? Is it seems to be that fewer stories spread across more outlets.

That's very difficult to sustain well.

We will have to see what the impact of these changes are going to be.

We have argued vigorously that we don't want to lose our distinctive us.

We know that the audience cherishes the differences between today p.m.

What oh well tonight and all on the programs and we want to retain example the group today as I'm standing new editor day will have fewer resources.

She will not have dedicated report as well.

I think she will still have a dedicated as all of them well, and they will be ways in which they can just think she will have your report is there are going to be for your report is on in your secrets is there is no doubt about that and that's not a Corsa celebration, but it is inevitable outcome of the huge changes news have had to make and what news are saying to us and I think there's some sense in this which is an we do every day that doesn't get in the audience very much.

We are watching it very closely if we feel that we're losing the kind of distinctiveness and original journalism.

Before then, we will make noise about well listener Brown rider has a question on what has been called cognitive diversity ask about Sunday Times columnist referred to as cognitive diversity on the media show last week.

He suggests this virtue is in short supply in Radio 4 and BBC coverage of politics unused programs at least politics is Tory labour Liberal Democrats SMP pride Cymru and or do you pee with an exceedingly shop cut off after a danger of a shortage of cognitive diversity on Radio 4 which I assume means a danger equally of groupthink something.

I really think is essential the Radio 4.

It's called boys anything Radio 4 is a place where you encounter the uncomfortable the Unknown the Wanderers the

Views and beliefs you know are not want you hold but you need to try and understand what other people think I'm despair of the world which seems to be full of Echo Chambers and angry social media.

I think Radio 4 has to be a corrective to that and part of that is having making ready for properly representative of the UK mean having a range of people with a range of views and opinions so that each other so they can try and understand better each other's perspective.

I'm a great believer in truth coming out of a Socratic dialogue on our program last month Saracens the outgoing at the Today programme told us this anything about BBC I would say having observed it as an outsider probably the three years is there is a great impulse towards adjust social confusion and some times it means that they think it would be unkind to hear certain views on the one hand to BBC time of crisis suspected to unify the nation on the other hand it's

Reflecting all sorts of using opinions and on top of that.

There's sometimes is a Cent oversensitivity Many would say in certain dealing with certain issues notably those original diverse due agree with Saracens that sometimes people feel it would be unkind to hear certain views.

I recognise particular and Radio 4.

I think any organisation of the size the BBC is is always going to have to wrestle with the possibility that people start to cahir around a particular set of thoughts or opinions and that is not unique to the BBC things we do and certainly I did as commissioning editor and and I hope I'm trying to do is controller is to commission documentaries which very very delivery challenge received and come from a range of viewpoints and we will continue to fight the idea of groupthink or the idea was Sarah cuz it can over social cohesion all the time because that is life.

Value for which is that diversity which is that range of opinion and range of experiences which allow us to understand better to start with but I will talk to about the problems of your job.

So can you give us a sneak preview some of the future jewels in Radio 4 podcast really excited about there's lots coming out which I'm really excited about we got the Reith lectures coming up we ask Mark Carney 2BR reflector and he's going to do a number of lectures at the end of the year around value and use and looking at personal and individual value against market value.

We've got the next installment of intrigue tunnel 29 with the brilliantly successful both radio programme podcast for us and we've got next year.

We've got a new drama slot which I'm really excited about 28 minutes which is I hope going to help us develop a whole range of new narrative dramas, which we're going to I hope you used to.

A Whole New World in for dramas has Alderbury and stuff we will continue to do well.

We still only got a 20-minute timer start because that's for the controllers for extra and Radio 4 podcast thank you very much for talking to us.

This is the last in the present run but unless the controller has a sudden change of mind feedback will be back in October but will be back at school and our lives will become assemblance perhaps of those that existed before this pandemic.

Meanwhile do keep in touch and let us know your thoughts about all things to do with radio so until next time keep safe keep separate goodbye.

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