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Read this: 23/12/2022

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23/12/2022…



BBC sounds music Radio podcasts hello, I'm Andrea and welcome to a hypocrite is the controller of radio 4 and St may this year is BBC's director of speech audio.

He is responsible for the style tone and direction of radio for more than that he picks the programs the presenters he chooses what to keep and what to ask and he has to navigate the tides of BBC internal politics managing reducing budgets and trying to represent and collect the whole of the UK cancel Media perhaps most importantly has to straddle a great divide by keeping loyal listeners.

Happy those who still TuneIn on long wave FM and dab.

Well, simultaneously a generation who's never ruined.

Everything is ok as an actual radio he describes himself as a British Indian man with a salt and pepper be more salt.

He says then I'd like I'm not surprised after that introduction Motors he's also the editor-in-chief of everything from the Archers to Ziggy Stardust lively informed actually that that on your watch know there's been more David Bowie documentaries than ever before welcome to feed first of all we did that you a little bit of home.

Give us 60 seconds with perhaps a little bit of hesitation repetition deviation on what you think Radio 4 has achieved the main thing.

We've achieved is to cover strawberry tumultuous political time with the death of the monarch with ivorian Peter the word with three prime ministers in other times we had the Reith lectures which of this year in the

Has been based around the four freedoms of Franklin delano, Roosevelt we've had women's are going from strength to strength.

We will Emma Barnett and Anita Rani big podcast think the storm pewter which we landed within a few days of the invasion of this has been on fire this year with Adele and Bono and Kate Moss limelight on your drama podcast series has had some pretty and dramas.

We've done carranger things and I've been raped.

I think we've established that I'll never make it just a minute time keep going to have that kind of review of the year and I promise I will take you through the entire schedule on Radio 4 but maybe a good place to start is with the Today programme.

Let's go to Sohail ashraf.

You joined us from Torquay to 20%

Currency service award is not an emergency service.

That's why I'm coming off because I'm trying to listen to is a colonoscopy is a colonoscopy a life preserving procedure.

I'm not going to get into the detail of this now the school run and I don't think they work today presenters shout anyone I do that there are times when guests I interrupted but I think you got to remember the broader Context it which is the job of the interview on today or any programme on Radio 4 is a deeper understanding of the audience and layout better for the choice is the person in front of them off and someone who has power not always face and sometimes politicians not always sometimes policy has come on and they are very clearly breathe in order to try and not on.

Questions that put in front of them and our job is to hold people accountable ask questions and seek answers from them right across political spectrum and as long as we are being robust across the board.

I think we are is it good enough just to say that if we are doing it across the board if we are being shouted up from both sides that say nothing that could also be considered to be quite lazy you just because you're you could be getting it couldn't you and I'm not suggesting from now.

I think what I said first.

What sort of course our job is to elicit answers for the audience and to deepen understanding that depends what point you're taking these questions from and criticism that the questions are being asked for a right-wing prospective.

I don't hear that correlation.

I listen to the program a lot and what I hear a journalist trying their best to get the answer.

They need for the audience whoever is in front of has anything that mohits and changed your mind.

I don't like my opinion.

Transport to say thank you very much for your comments and I'd like to move on now and hear from brigita in Northumberland I have just finished listening to the Today programme on BBC sounds, what and relax broadcast just drive for a Saturday morning the people interviewed with free to answer without being interrupted the mix was fairly varied.

Thank you to me.

I'm up when on the program has introduced a fresh approach and brought up his issues not traditionally brought up with fields in and liberating but Tony vanhoose in from Peterborough not so impressed with my wife and I've been listers to the same program for

52 years now and I think we've been listening to it pretty well most of that time and the point I make on IMO I just find the particular when he's reading the headlines for the rush things through and then when is is interviewing it has to mumble in the middle of a sentence for Boxing Day nothing whatsoever to do with my dad's been nice talking to you both and back anyway.

Let me give you a full rundown of I know that you are a big fan of our mirage and any has brought something different to the day.

He has asked to be on Today programme and the phrase I hate myself and it's my breath of fresh air but again to Tony point you know it's amazing that you've been listening for the joy radio for my love.

This job is because there are people whose relationship this network goes back so far and I feel so passionately about the presenters on the programs.

He has brought.

I think a different Sensibility to the station.

I mean he does speak white but I might sound like a paddy point but I mean it might Petty but we do get a lot of complaints about this and Andy newspaper reviewers have said it to do you mind if he goes well, it's difficult isn't it? I don't understand everything.

I'm not just saying that I genuinely do I don't ever listen and go well.

What's he saying that and lots of our listeners? Do I won't let you think I said obviously then you know that's what they hear and do you know I mean what I can speak speak so I know for somebody has been on record say you like to try and slow down and I'm sure he has been sent to my work for does sound rather different from the way to the year ago.

They have been lots of Voices that vanished from the station over this year with Radio 4 store Norman Smith

Banana course Roger Bolton from this programme on BBC science podcast RV Glover and Jane Garvey 12 x radio Jon Sopel and Emily maitlis, who made America's the hit that it was left for globe and I join dream of course he left start the week the beginning of this year some of them chose to move on.

I think there are some of them who you would have liked to have kept the audience is lost and very familiar voices an old friends and you've lost some exciting Talent does that level of turn worry you know it doesn't I think it's inevitable in an expanded dramatically as he saying last for years.

I mean you know we've got commercial stations.

We didn't have before and speech we've got huge boom in the market suddenly.

Got very competitive knife to not expecting that she Morton the truth is though it gives us an opportunity to bring you people on so you know Jane and Jenny leaving allowed to Emma Barnett and

I need to come on you know we've got Chris Mason coming up with Jonathan Dimbleby decided to hang up now.

Christmas is being played at Uno mas besides come in amylose.

We talked about you know and I think you must have been sorry to lose some of them.

Who is the most sorry to lose it's always the same when a good broadcaster leaves Radio 4.

I don't want to pick a name because I think that's invidious and I think the truth is I'm really focused I know this sounds like meaning of but I'm really focused on the people will bring it on let me just play a clip from the interview that I did with feed lover a few weeks ago.

I asked her if BBC has a talent management problem vision to leave the BBC and it is a big decision you know it's the best speech broadcaster in the world.

So you know it's not to be taken lightly when people go 5 Live had come along a couple of years ago to tickle both of us under the armpits, but you know that was a complicated tickle because I wouldn't be able.

Miss my family but did you feel that nobody at BBC was tickling you under the armpits to use your phrase? Do you feel that you didn't particularly Feel the Love so that when somebody came along from times radio and offered you something you were you are much more open to it.

Then perhaps you would have been if you've been better.

Look after the BBC that's a beautiful.

I think I'll say yes to that.

Yeah.

Let me just put the same question to you is talent management and issue for you.

Already owed.

I don't think it is am I think obviously we have to have article sticks out and maybe you don't deploy them all visas as well as some presenters would like but I repeat I think it's such a narrow where to find them the whole subject to say.

Oh, this is Juliet it is an opportunity for us to bring you know I can't possibly have you here without discussing the Archers there has been a recurring theme about younger characters taking over hello feedback.

This is a listener from Bedfordshire

Storylines have mainly feature the young people in ambridge.

If we must have so many stories about the youngsters.

Why do they all have to be so unpleasant some of my friends not listening to the arches as it has straight from its gentle rural routes to an uncharacteristic soap opera.

Let me ask you I am a huge fan of the is an irregular listener.

I've heard this younger voices a lot.

I just wonder has the change been a little bit too obvious has it been too much of a screeching gear change of course the art is to bring in new characters.

We all understand that but hasn't been done.

Just to obviously I don't hear a screeching gear change the Archers has introduced a series of storylines and some of them have been based around with the uncle Andy Jeremy was on the programme of you eat together the editor of The Archers and he said yeah, this is a family.

How are you? Sorry? This is a family of course.

That's what it is families.

Have young people and they are old people.

This drama is drama that I just wonder if genuinely there hasn't been any decision to big up if you like the younger members of The Archer tribe to my understanding.

There's no policy decision to do this they produce and storylines and they best sat with the members of can I carry them no one storyline that has really hit home for people was Chelsea horrible decision to terminate hurt you I would like to bring in our listeners John love from Edinburgh he joined last night John Mayer first briefly introduce myself.

I'm 71 years old male and in general.

I'm happy with abortion in almost any circumstances and listen to the bible about 18 but I feel well and they said it left.

Much more positive towards Chelsea and bed with the father if they think I've sent them both message to Chelsea started a difficult decision and just reading this difficult this year in the program.

I am sorry no, I wanted to say that about everything.

I wish you never had to go through all that my fault well half my fault and I feel terrible about it.

I have to focus on other things you know Chelsea and Ben straight with mature intelligent people.

I hope entrustable Wallace be able to work through the system and eventually get their life.

The drama and indeed a lot of other programming that you put on Radio 4 really matters so much to people and can actually affect the way they feel and it can influence terrapins absolutely and it's very moving to her John speak and I will know the Archers team would be incredibly proud that they could create a storyline that mate.

Just had on on John what comes through to me all.

The time is the people feel so passionately about Radio 4 and anything I say you know ultimately is nothing as compared to their passion and commitment at work and I feel that very strongly but I go back to the point which is going to the point you made in the introduction which is it's a Broadchurch Radio 4 and it has any kind of business Who been with the station for decades and decades but also new listeners who found it for the first time and are really blown away by what ready for try to do it.

In the world you try and get somewhere trying to make sense of the world through comedy to drama to news for current affairs through hearts through all kinds of manner of things.

It's a unique proposition in the world try to do something which place is everyone is almost impossible and all we have to do is try and make sure that we are true to as many of those people as possible and being ambitious been a public square for as many people as possible.

Let's look more widely of drama this year.

There's obviously been some big hits moved to those are cereals and stories which are aimed perhaps more of early as a podcast audience via BBC signs.

We've had a ghost story some sci-fi, but we do know that a lot of slots have been cut on the Producers trade body audio UK I know right to Ofcom with concerns that radio 4S I put her original drama will have fallen 50%

2017 I don't recognise that figure not 50% there has been a reduction since I've been controller the cut side major drama.

We have had the money and drama and that's been because one of the biggest problems faced us was The Rising Costa and drama and the fact that the surprise was sainte-justine make less drama, but you still spend the same budget that you did back when you took over when I came in the cuts are made a 15-minute drama that money went back into it.

So that was a 15 minutes at the end of woman's hour of the current.

Do you feel like dramas? Really safe Radio 4 mean you've got 300 hours of drama.

It's less than an hour a day nylon biggest commission of drama in the world pretty much so I of course it's safe and of course we need to ensure.

It's going to be so but I think the mistake is to think that the only way to make drama safer to commission lots and lots and lots of endlessly.

No way to make a drive up quality and 2.

Chat to a new audience in order to make sure it continues to thrive into the next decade and I know you know that we hear and talk a lot on the programme about the BBC impartiality and woven into the DNA of the organisation and our listeners are the first point out when they feel that the BBC has come up short but we know I have this phrase which we use quad lock due impartiality.

Could you just spell it out for us from a BBC point of view? What is the Jew doing that to my understanding and means that across our put in Any Given week? We are anything but I'm glad we are reflecting the full range of opinions and views of the nation and we are not overly focusing or platform 21 to the detriment of another it doesn't mean in every conversation or every documentary or every drama that you won't hear a particular story or position or

Articulated and yet the kind of impartiality that the BBC imposes particularly on news is very different from for example LBC because somebody in here from LBC don't say the same thing they say look across the day we are impossible, but that doesn't mean that we can't have a presenter from a particular viewpoint on for example a James O'Brien or a Nick Ferrari these people are attracting huge by not being impartial and I wonder if you feel that you can complete and indeed if you should be completing a different way against those kind of present.

I just don't think that's a job and I don't think that's what we know what we're here for we're here to take whatever issue, or can I have area of exploration that we're in and two BBC lens on it which is to be impartial to be clear to try and understand that they keep saying motto is to make sense of the word for audience.

It isn't to drive division or

Reflect a particular sector of society it is to try and understand.

What are the forces that are shaping our world around us and I think of it safe to say that that's where your audience audience is saying desperately want to try and understand what's going.

We just want a podcast called understand the economy with Tim Harford really big numbers could people living crisis as I really want to understand what interest rates are they operate? I am just won't understand inflation so I think we're doing a different ok.

Let's move on we've had a number of comments about radio 4S coverage on the environment and Climate Change are Alan Williams I have just listen to the feedback comments on the coverage of the just stop oil protests.

I would like to add my voice that there is not enough BBC coverage of the impending adverse effects of climate change I understand that it is a long burn story not changing much from month to month.

The impact is existential I know that they've been some big series you had time at Tipping Point earlier this year new Farming Today costing the Earth to their bed, but how do you go about making the most of what you do on climate change and really trying to make a kind for a Radio 4 audience look I take this really seriously and I think we need to be all over climate change and looking for ways to bring that to do all yes, because we know that is a really difficult something to cover because you can want just disappear under a duvet and we are we doing tonight ways to save the planet that was very much are Solutions that have been filled up around the world try and deal with this having said that because we take the seriously we are going to do some things first thing in the first week of January we're going to do a whole set of drawers called rethink which is about the green gap which is simply looking at premises and Prejudice made at cop26 and that look at where government action is in relation to those but even more importantly I'm playing.

New show around climate change next year but you're right the challenges of course not to terrify people and leave them hanging and I think the job is to come to say this is how serious it is a but.

This is what it means and try and place some Solutions journalism to my agency into it.

It will look forward to that I want to return to the idea of impartiality because of course not just simply right and there is a whole range of issues that we can badgers as culture Wars which genuinely divide people's opinion race gender sexuality colonial history moral debate feel like radio 4S in navigate those fault lines almost on a daily basis, but I think the first Mercedes not followed for the ready for in-season fault lines for the nation very aware of it and you know when you hear from Amanda's first read lecture she addresses all of this in her brilliant electro about freedom of speech so it is a subject and an area with.

Aware of and of course as he say he can have gone through an awful.

Lot of unused coverage and some of the stuff that plays out in a really I think unhelpful way on social media and part of the only because I think part of my job is to be an antidote to that, that's why we got antisocial do exactly that and how long program which whatever the particular issue, which was divided before allowed to come together and crucially here perspectives that they may not agree with but actually hear them and listen to them.

They have to sit with them and think about them rather than it being an you say that but yet we get listeners who say that Radio 4 has now become radio woke how would you respond to that criticism? I don't really know what that means.

I think you know it's not the network.

I hear accused of not working as well as working it is I think the nature of broadcasting in Ossett

The day with these accusations get level that you I think our job is to make sure that we reflecting all opinions and giving the Debate the proper calm consideration it deserves.

I don't recognise 3 at work.can translation because it's just simply not what we doing it might be no let's go to a quick fire round is there too much Music Under speech on Radio 4 music? I think we should always get the balance the music right.

I think sometimes it's too loud and I think you don't want to do that sort of the juices about is making sure you keep the level right to the that speech is always intouchable.

Why do you have so many moles on Radio 4 because we've got so much stuff on Radio 4 and we have to tell the audience about it.

We don't have many other means to tell people we don't do advertising so we've got he got one mechanism and mostly people like what else is coming up on the station because they may want to listen to how much longer are you going to stick with melvyn Bragg on another time as long as Malvern wants to be presenter of the last time.

How many hours a day do you listen to Radio 4?

Shut up, I don't know maybe for 5 hours a day.

I don't know which station to listen to I listen to times LBC and then I try with you as I got left to live podcast from Beyond I feel because there's some brilliant things been made by our competitors and it's worth name.

What they do and what's your favourite David Bowie album hunky dory let's give the final word feedback listener, Let's Hear to Lucy pushing who joined us hello mohits.

I'd like to thank you for keeping the radio safe really weird bombarded with misinformation fake news bigotry conspiracy theories and Radio 4 is somewhere I can go and know that I'm safe and every shade of opinion presented in an intelligent analytical investigative way and I live alone like some of your other listeners.

I'm literally listen to the radio from the minute.

I wake up to when I go to bed at night and I just have the company of those voices every day which is so valuable and turn the pandemic.

I feel sure that a number of people's mental well-being get to what you were doing and just like family and nature and friends and creative important radio weekend essential.

I'm someone to whom the radio really matters mohits the radio really matters Radio 4 really matters to so many of our listeners.

Would have you got for us for 2023 can I just say I think about this information? It's a really well made and of course we could always do better things but I do think I'll mission to try and cut through that and give people and probably sourced evidence-based information is more important now than ever and I take that incredibly.

In terms of what have you got next year to Centenary of audio drama which is exciting we've got a load of stuff planned for that as well some stuff around the first Shakespeare folio.

It's only got a big take on that looking at The Legacy of that particular war we've got Jon Ronson things fell apart series 2 coming which is great idea.

We got cherryburn.

Look at impossible.

We got a Richard Rogers memorial lecture on architecture coming for the first one.

We've got the Coronation we got stuff around the coronation.

Obviously will be coming that on a but also I'm going to pray you asked me what I regret or what went wrong, but I think now we can sound like everything's fine and dandy.

I think you know given a big place here.

It was this year we didn't always bring enough escapism and joy to the audience.

I think sometimes it felt like it was going to relentless and I think people were looking for have news of escape.

I know we're looking at various serious to try.

Talk about little stories of things that people do which bring Holborn can of Joy to people's lives, I think we're also looking at home Range and new comedy pilots.

Just really kind of car park level of fun.

What no hipic.

I hope and joy what a good place to leave at thank you very much indeed.

Hope that you'll come back and see it again at the same time next year before we pop the mulled wine on a very big.

Thank you to everyone has contacted us this year about what you've been listening to on the BBC you've been Frank you've been Fearless you've been funny and feedback well.

It just wouldn't exist without will be back with more next year.

I'm Andrea catherwood the producer is Jill Davies and feedback is a whistledown Scotland production for BBC Radio 4.


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