'Campaign To Save "BBC Radio 4" Long Wave Transmissions Enthuses Broadsheet Newspapers' Upmarket Readership' by Grant Goddard

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Business & Mgmt

Published on November 30, 2013

Author: GrantGoddard1

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Commentary about support for the campaign to reprieve the 'BBC Radio Four' Long Wave transmitter closure in UK broadsheet newspapers, written by Grant Goddard in November 1992 for City Limits magazine.

CAMPAIGN TO SAVE 'BBC RADIO 4' LONG WAVE TRANSMISSIONS ENTHUSES BROADSHEET NEWSPAPERS' UPMARKET READERSHIP by GRANT GODDARD www.grantgoddard.co.uk November 1992

The public campaign against the BBC's decision to remove 'Radio 4' from Long Wave is less remarkable for its substantive argument than for the coverage it has earned in the broadsheet press. Anyone would think the station itself was under threat of abolition, judging by the listenership's hostility and their threat (now suspended) to march upon Broadcasting House. In fact, the network is merely relinquishing one of several channels it presently uses for simultaneous transmissions, a wasteful practice lingering from the days when the BBC was the only radio broadcaster. The government has belatedly tackled such anachronisms, forcing the Corporation to either provide distinct services on its frequencies or hand them over to commercial radio. Two years ago, 'Radio 2' lost its Medium Wave channels to the new 'Radio 5' network. Last year, 'Radio 3' sacrificed its Medium Wave frequency, which had always been plagued by night time interference from 'Radio Albania', to the Virgin/TV-AM rock station opening next year. Soon, 'Radio 1' will cease transmissions on 275/285 AM, to be replaced by a commercial talk station in 1995. None of this rationalisation precipitated the kind of outcry that now surrounds the Radio 4 plan, despite sports fans having lost ball-by-ball cricket commentary this season as a direct result of the Radio 3 change. Music radio stations have commonly lost presenters, changed programmes and virtually abandoned their formats with impunity, merely ruffling a few feathers and causing some protest letters. But no one started a mass campaign to tear up their TV Licences (which pay for radio) or demanded the resignation of the BBC Chairman. Bizarrely, the BBC's proposal will actually increase the choice available to Radio 4 listeners by replacing its Long Wave relay with a national all-news network in 1994, thus satisfying current affairs junkies frustrated by 'LBC's slide towards trivialisation and Tory dogma. But the protesters are simply averse to change, any change, and would rather see Radio 4 fossilise than keep up with the 90s. And the quality press, whose newsrooms commonly listen to Radio 4 for tips and quotes, oblige by accommodating the protesters who form their ABC1 readerships. When Radio 1 sacked DJ Janice Long; when 'Capital Radio' abandoned its specialist music programmes; when 'Spectrum Radio' incited the murder of Jews in its Arab programme, you probably didn't read about it. But the Campaign To Save Radio 4 Long Wave? BIG NEWS, huh? [Submitted to 'City Limits' magazine, #577, unpublished] Campaign To Save 'BBC Radio 4' Long Wave Transmissions Enthuses Broadsheet Newspapers' Upmarket Readership ©1992 Grant Goddard page 2

Grant Goddard is a media analyst / radio specialist / radio consultant with thirty years of experience in the broadcasting industry, having held senior management and consultancy roles within the commercial media sector in the United Kingdom, Europe and Asia. Details at http://www.grantgoddard.co.uk Campaign To Save 'BBC Radio 4' Long Wave Transmissions Enthuses Broadsheet Newspapers' Upmarket Readership ©1992 Grant Goddard page 3

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