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Read this: 20/05/2022 Radio 4 Feedback

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20/05/2022 Radio 4 Feedback…

BBC sounds music Radio podcasts 3-months into the Russian offensive against Ukraine we talk to Jonathan Beale the BBC correspondent, I've had a mistake he and many others have made.

I think everybody got that wrong pretty much including Western intelligence including Minister's I spoken to and including military.

Xx alongside journalist.

What do they all get wrong find out in a moment and in a week marked by depressing economic news and belt tightening across the country.

We look ahead to likely it cuts to BBC programming some listeners are apprehensive.

How does have thoughts about where cuts could be made I have chosen to live without TV so radio is my concert.

Please do not impose massive cuts on immensely valid services such as Radio 3 4 and 5 I feel the BBC news today.

The number of stations that has which are broadly popular music radios 1 2 and 6 etc.

I'll be talking to a former controller of radio 4 on BBC trustee.

Will try to work out.

How much belt tightening is possible or desirable and what very popular radio programme candy Christmas be talking about it's a rural Breaking Bad episode.

It makes me want to catch up with what's happened and try and work out in the morning here's a clue and crazy with great success all will be revealed later in feedback.

But first do we really know what is going on in Ukraine three months after the Russian invasion, what can be seen through the fog of war earlier? I was joined by the BBC defence correspondent Jonathan Beale and we discussed the almost and presidency the amount of Defence intelligence that is being provided by Western governments including our own was he almost overloaded with information about the Ukrainian side of the conflict.

I think actually yes, you're right.

I mean I've never known a wall like this with so much information is no just governments and obviously the to decide who are giving information.

It's number of military experts are on social media giving their take so what's going on? So there's a lot of open source material as well as official government information coming out.

I think you don't like everything you have to be sceptical about some of the information you read and you have to be cautious about what they sides of saying not least because they

Engaged in a physical war a military war there also engaged in this thing called information warfare in a war of the narrative if you like one of us will be very sceptical.

What's coming out of Moscow but one of our listeners wonders whether they say we should be sceptical about what is coming out of the Ukraine Julia Berkhamsted propaganda is a weapon of Both Sides in the conflict will be using it.

How do you verify Ukrainian claims in particular? Have you been misled by Keith have you personally I have partly because the other sources that you have available for example Ukraine claims to killed nearly 13000 Russian soldiers.

That is not limited by Western intelligence who's estimates are more modest about half at number truth is any side engaged in a war and that includes Britain it's time.

This gives you the information at once and it doesn't give me information.

It doesn't want you to give and you have to find ways of trying to establish, that's why it's so important to report from the ground from the see what you're saying so usually not lied to but you can have lies if you like bio mission of lies of omission mean Lions a strong word.

I would say that there are clear lies from the Russians we know that because they said they weren't going to war they did go to war they've lied about killing a person in Britain in the past.

So there is a track record there, but I think the experience of reporting militaries is that nobody is good at giving the information you sometimes one example on civilian casualties new side wants to admit they cause civilian casualties, but that is a fact of war and I'll give you the example of you know British Ministry of Defence claims over 5-year period they kill 17 in Casualty in Iraq and Syria

Campaign against Isis that's just not plausible so I think you have to be very sceptical about some of the information.

That's coming out of governments that said I need the key difference freedom of press and you are you able to challenge claims from each country and the truth is that a free press can operate in Ukraine under certain restrictions, but it can't in Russia Russia can't download free press a key difference.

Can we talk about Sunday difficult is a reporting on the ground Nick from both during other war in Iraq and Afghanistan reporters were often embedded in military unit has this technique been adopted during this water.

How useful is this person? I mean person speaking the defence correspondence and give us who is fighting the war soldiers from both sides militaries from both sides.

It is an essential part of reporting.

I will admit to you that as soon as you in bed, you are under some restrictions.

You can't for example talk about movements numbers most militaries will ask you to operational security.

They won't give the enemy an advantage the other difference of course is that the BBC we've been able to report from Ukrainian Frontline positions in a way that I haven't from Russian positions, so the other danger of embedding is that you get one side of the story but having said that you I get back to the Free Press issue that I can ask of Ukrainian soldiers that I would never be allowed to ask a Russian soldiers and also were able to travel wider than just the front line talking to civilians not being observed or reported not being in anyway doctored so I think it's an essential part of War reporting to talk to the soldiers and even though there are some compromises sometimes it's

Need to do that has a question about media coverage of one of the world's most significant Mark from Aberdeen in April March was made of the sinking of Russia's blacks so Cruiser the most significant was it sinking was it more symbolic as a piece of old Soviet hardware.

I think he's right in the sense that it's not something that changed the course of the war but I think it's important and it is symbolic for a number of reasons in Ukraine Harvey has a navy most of its Navy as well.

I hear was a country targeting.

What was Russia's flag ship of the Black Sea fleet and effectively thinking yet using develop psychological the wall that was a clear example of a Russian military that was widely believed to.

Extremely effective modern even though the ship itself wasn't modern taking on a country which was going to find it very hard to put up a good fight and this reinforce what we seeing on the ground which was Russians been pushed back by fears Ukrainian resistance and also effectively creating resistance so I think it was more about symbolism more about the psychological effects of Russia losing its flagship and the boost for Ukraine zone morale.

It is certainly not an event that will change the course of the war being fought on land.

Are you slightly roofer love the fact that have you together with most people in the west overestimated Russia's military capacity yes today.

I have a book which has all the numbers and figures are Russia's military.

You look through this and the new matching up against ukraine's and you you know just the number tell you that they're going to be.

And I talked to plenty of experts in advance people who are also regretting that they sort of thought the Russians could do more than that is particularly true of the battle in the air spectating was the Russian very quickly gain their supremacy supremacy superiority.

It's very difficult for armies to manoeuvre on the ground that was the expectation shall we do that within a matter of weeks and it just hasn't happened.

So yes, I think everybody got that wrong pretty much including Western intelligence including Minister's I spoken to and including military experts also journalist all thanks to the BBC defence correspondent Jonathan Beale and please do let us know your thoughts about those interviews or anything else to do with BBC Radio and podcast.

This is how you can get in touch you can send an email to feedback at or write a letter to the addresses feedback.

6723 for London SE18 4ax you can follow activity on Twitter by using at BBC R4 feedback, or you can call us and leave a phone message on 0330 333 4445 did landline charges apply, but it could cost more on some mobile networks all those details are on our website the latest quarterly audience figures show that The Archers continues to top the charts for underground radio programmes for all adults on BBC sounds followed by Desert Island Discs and the News Quiz the long-running farming series is taking desperate serious in households, very close to mine but what do young farmers think of it do the storylines ring through to them earlier? I was joined by two listeners with connections to the land.

The 30s Dan Stevenson works on his family farm in North Yorkshire and on neighbouring farms as a contractor to live nearby is a photographer specialising in catching Rule and I asking Dan when he started to listen to The Archers years ago.

Just came back from New Zealand and started a new job were some farmers nearby and is ringtone went off and it was the Archers theme tune and I didn't know what it was like.

What and then everywhere we went in his pick up he was listening to the Archers so he kinda got me up to do a lot of young farmers actually listen to The Archers no I don't think so secretly listen to it as well, but what you doing secret to this to-do.

You're happy to admit that you're an Archers fan.

Ah, yeah.

I love the Archers and how did you get in to listen to?

No, I think it was from working at home and Edin at in photographs and I would sit and listen to Radio 4 and then the Archers came on and it kind of Lords you change the more you listen to The Archers the more you get invested in it the Archers has an agricultural advisor and it originally started all those decades decades ago.

She being a drama built around what was happening on the farm not so much on the relationship between the individuals on farms and sunset is it still credible too far must you hear is Susie the Archers which I'm with the problems you're facing up in your Definitely Maybe not so much now as originally but no there's definitely talk issues talked about what are the issues now.

There is concern you for example in your job job specifically it's all about Syria at the moment and they've closed the dates down when we're allowed to spread slurry, so that's affected my day.

Pip this means astrofix Larry deals definitely off that's why I was coming to see you.

It's ok.

Not a problem.

I can easily find another buy for a straw as I said before I've never really like muck spreading and order the neighbours slurry tankers and precision application is much more Maestro you would think of listening to in order to keep up with agriculture issues, or is that just a bit of a bonus as you listen to the stories of the personalities involved I think it's just a bit of a bonus.

I don't really like keeping up to date with stuff anyway.

It's all a bit too depressing I like the light-hearted stuff bringing the other characters in the youngest storylines at you.

Obviously know about the very powerful storyline of alcoholism on most recent WhatsApp mean does that reflect a song?

Play stick to the sort of thing you would in your own life coming to contact.

I think the what is particularly good at is issues like that might be really hard for people in the countryside to visit touches on them and bring them in so that a lot of people who listen to The Archers might be in a city, but I think it helps kind of you.

See that those issues might be things that young people face in over there as well, so for me.

I find it very interesting when there's issues like the storyline with Alice was brought in was really interesting to me.

He did this for me.

So often when you're ill stupid not because I'm any small I think that story-line definitely pulled you in and it really like you wanted to listen to what was going to happen next and you've had a really wanted her to turn it around.

A new kind of wanted them to get back together.

See you wear invested in it in that way and I think some of the teenage character is like Tracy's daughter.

They're getting more or seem to get more time on the shower you get quite interested in what they are doing.

I do feel that there is a real division between the country and the town that are people who listen to The Archers who will never or very rarely.

I think go out in the countryside to think of can act as a source of Bridge by informing people who live in the cities of some of the realities of life outside.

Yeah, I've met quite a few people that have nothing to do with the agricultural probably never even set foot on the phone, but will turn up one day and we'll be there car have all of her about this on the Archers come and have a look is a social divide in The Archers you know which is quite pronounce is not an aristocracy, but there's a certainly upper-middle-class you feel and then there is certain people in The Archers

Feel as if they're being ground down is that an exaggerated picture of you feel like class or not as it reflects on the you think exist in Yorkshire but I think that this is one of the reasons.

I really like the Archers is that I think it shows class in the countryside in a way that no other program on TV or radio does for me and I think that class is still evident in the countryside in those kind of structures may be less so than they were many years ago, but the Archers are really good way of showing it through a more informal way down does a jewellery with that class is still an important Factor in the countryside definitely crazy to see I've travelled quite a bit around and you can see it all over the country this all the temperature in The Archers to represent religion as being a source of natural part of life in a way.

You don't often get in other soaps to did you know that.

How do you think sometimes when you listening to the sermons in church and whatever you think so the other moralising I guess it does seem quite strange compared to maybe how society works now, but I get an average are quite a lot of events around the church that some people in the community is definitely is really important to them so maybe it is a reflection of the artist count even said I want you to recruit other young to listen to The Archers you've got to sell it.

How would you sell it come on done? What are your friends? Missing a rural breaking Breaking Bad as possible about you.

I would say I recommend everyone have a look at the Twitter account that shows that each episode of The Archers in emojis because that's just really likes of the missing episode.

It makes me want to kind of catch up with what's happened and try and work it out in emoji for thank you very much.

Thanks very much.

Thank you very much.

Well, we would have had another young Yorkshire farmer in that discussion, but true to any Archers storyline.

He was at that moment explain to the police.

How a load of muck tipped onto the from a trailer he was telling and then clearing it up while they watched now in January the culture secretary Nadine dorries unexpectedly announced that the government would be using the cost of the licence fee for 2 years before allowing it to rise in line with inflation for the next four years after that.

She hopes to get rid of it all together this means that the BBC to make 285 million in annual savings from now on decisions are expected shortly so in this the last program of the present series of feedback with asked for some of your and suggestions Sally Brown I think these politically motivated further cuts a disgraceful as is the continued attack on a much valued independent Broad

I couldn't give advice about work at should be made just that people should wake up and start to defend our valued institutions such as the NHS and BBC and not believe the paid for social media propaganda.

They received Alison dowdeswell from Stockport many elderly and Disabled People rely on radio Services as their only companion.

Please do not say a massive cuts on immensely valid services such as Radio 3 4 and 5 Braemar Stop Sheffield the BBC's priority is good in my view been used programs current affairs and documentaries regarding music radio I feel the BBC needs to justify stations that has which are broadly popular music Ruth Hunt West Somerset economize on news especially politics.

It's ridiculous to have p.m.

For an hour followed immediately by another half an hour of news, Sue Wilson cut the world, can you do not pay for a TV licence or charge for programs and podcasts for podcasts of minority interest for example live concert events and delighted to be joined by former Radio 4 controller Mark Thomas who is also rather later a BBC trustee markdown every year by BBC cuts is this front? Why is this difference is different and the language we will not be in tiling you but I think the challenges the BBC basis, which normally financial but also to do with the nature of the audience the way the audience receives and listens to and watches the BBC the fact that the BBC has a known problem innit.

135 degree of commercial challenge I would also say the degree of Clinical suspicion is not hostility that surrounds the BBC from government means that it is very very challenging for Tim Davie and the rest of the team to get this right across the government would say just say actually that there is a real cost of living problem that BBC simply has to pay it share it to make sacrifices like the rest of us will the answer is of BBC is operating on much less money than used to be the case and that will continue because of the 2-year freeze before I increase the licence free kicks in the BBC has taken a pretty substantial hit over the last 10 + years and you know there is a danger here is not allowed to do whatever it once and return the licence fee and decide how much drama it wants to me without any constraints and anybody else I get that needs to be some rational idea of what the licence fee should be and what programs might be made.

But there is a real danger which is that you suffocate the BBC over a period of a decade plus fewer and fewer programmes originated and it begins to lose its purchase with the public and the public but where if you continue to think that you can deprive the BBC of any sort of increased over the period of time when I think that you whisker reel vicious circle.

You make your programs public love the BBC Les consumes less you make feel down.

It's an act of will to sustain the licence fee or any other mechanism that funds the BBC as universal broadcaster.

It's an act of political will give it enough funding to do a decent job for all the millions and millions of people and pay for it and brought even though they occasionally love to hate it also love it, but do they have to be substantial.

Does Gareth Davies the head of the national Audit Office said that she could do more work to end duplication behind the scenes in this example the BBC having three teams have us advertising revenue is that we would strongly resist the argument that there are none left or that.

They are hard to access he said on the question of savings is that true? I mean that's right and well discovered.

Good work and I have the national Audit Office being in the mix of the discussion about the BBC and its economies and it's savings is fine.

It's a good external stimulus to the BBC and they are outside and can say things and find things which the light itself not find very easily.

That's fine and dandy but it's an absolute illusion to assume that savings of magnitude can be found by Simple efficiencies without affecting content for distribution that simply not can we look at and if we are now in a position where Sydney

Cuts in services are going to be made the question is how are they going to make be made and where is a lot of people is this there's no one on the top table anymore speaking your there's no director of radio and people who care most about radio think what age is always talk about television in the last Resort their favourite television over radio.

Do you feel that you remember that the director-general insulting Davey did a pretty decent centres head of radio.

I think he understands the terrain and very well.

There is a difference in the radio channels.

Have a far stronger identity with their agencies them TV channels.

Do you don't find yourself as a BBC one person or a BBC2 plus, you might find yourself as an EastEnders fan of MasterChef van or Peaky Blinders fan and you pick programs that you love and you're passionate about that BBC provides radio on the other hand I think the radio channels have.

Identity of course if you listen to radio four people also listen to radio to Radio 4 don't have to leave your whole life listen to One radio channel, but the radio channels have a personality which will make the transition to the Digital universe the non-linear universal BBC sounds longer to achieve everything but I can't say that it's TV vs.

Understand incredible value that BBC Radio 4 through something if you got the key metric the per hour cost per user out of a particular program or a service radio is unbelievably cheap get have to audiences for a fraction of the cost television that's not televisions fault at all, but it's just the nature of the beast and it would be in a ridiculous to put Radio app on an altar and sacrifice for the inter.

IPlayer I don't think for a moment that's the director generals plan however if they have to make cats Protection services and maybe network so significant to strip away programs.

I mean how the BBC surveys its audiences pretty well constantly, not me Leon fundamental questions like do you trust the BBC journalism but do you think the BBC local programmes with the evidence and it is used when people having to make decisions about how to allocate scarce resources, but you have to come back to some fundamentals the resources have declined are declining will decline further.

It's extremely difficult there will be some genuine efficiency savings that I've been there will be some ways in which programs are distributed that will change I mean in the wrong run and I slept in the long run will BBC be on long wave DAB d t.

Sounds linear fm21 answer is no but that's not for the day after tomorrow, but there will be some savings there will make some money out of commercialising better some bits out me all of these things will help but in the end because the licence fee is much more than it used to be some fundamental decisions will happily made about program origination and there is likely to be less in fact almost certainly likely to be less are thanks to Bob damn is a former BBC trustee and of course former controller of radio for and that's all for this week and indeed for the series with back on in July so please do keep letting us know the issues that you would like us to follow-up.

We read everything until then goodbye.

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