THE CUTTING EDGE

23rd October 2013

RADIO 5 LIVE

Some have commented this year about the changes made to BBC Radio 5 Live. These have no doubt been occasioned by the drop in audience figures for the station, as also the intense criticism it has faced from many in industry and listener forums, blogs etc.. I ask whether R5L still does what it was established to do, provide live news and sports coverage? In both areas they now face intense competition from other stations, local BBC and independent, the net and social media.

To broadcast 24 hours news coverage is an unenviable task in that arguably there is not enough news to go around. I guess if we report events in Asia, Africa, the Americas and elsewhere, much of it of little consequence, at least to us, this can be done. But do we really care for such news? I suspect but a tiny minority do. In the process R5L, to fill in and pad out programming, has been dumbed down and this was the principle reason, in my opinion, for a falling audience. I have for many years described Radio 5 as being programmed by semi-literates for semi-literates, and before any of you take offence at this comment, I listen to it.

Then again, the quality of many broadcasters is suspect. You have characters like Stephen Nolan, who pick up on a topic and flog it to death, squeezing out the last drop of sentimental goo and wallowing, like a whale, in the misfortune of others. Why? Why do this? He may have received a Sony award for this from within the industry, but I doubt he would receive one from listeners to R5L.

R5L’s share of audience figures is but 4.1% of the total, this according to RAJAR, so it is very much minority listening. To give some comparable figures, Radio 1 has 6.8%, Radio 2 17.2% and Radio 4 12.1%. There are any number of local BBC local and independent radio stations which have a significantly higher number of listeners than R5L.

There has also been an agenda of social engineering on the part of the BBC, particularly as far as radio is concerned. The BBC charter states inter alia that the BBC is there to report news with impartiality. This is not happening. There has been a left wing bias on the part of producers and some presenters. This is especially the case with Radio 5 Live. I am not a supporter of the left or the right wing in politics, but find this social engineering totally unacceptable. I would like to see the BBC lose its charter and it be re-assembled.

The BBC has grown exponentially, and without much forethought and planning. It is also an exclusive club that takes good care of its members, one need only think back a short time to the gross pay-offs given to many executives. Few were dismissed from service for misdemeanours, lack of judgement and arguably criminality, instead they were quietly reassigned to other positions.

Let the BBC go back to its roots. Let the back catalogue of TV and radio programs be privatized or licensed to a private entities. The argument that the BBC needs the revenue from these to re-invest in future programming does not stack up. After all, many programs are done out of house already and revenue from licence money should pay for licensing these. Profits from the sale of back catalogue material, and other merchandising, need not go to growing the BBC. It could go to government, or indeed back to TV license payers. .

PILZ RAEUBER

Ich las heute in einer unserer Tagezeitschrift, dass Banden von Pilzraeuber in unseren Waeldern unterwges sind. Besonders Epping Forest und Ashdown Forest siund betroffen. Begleitet von ‘Micologists’, nehmen sie alles was an Pilzen essbar ist! Offenbar sind diese Banden aus dem Osten. Ich habe nichts gegen Ostler, aber das geht zu weit. Schon vor Jahren verschwanden Schwaene hier in Unmengen. Warum weiss der Teufel. Ich habe mal einen Schwanenschenkel gegessen, und der war nicht besonders geniessbar; das mag daran gelegen haben, dass ich ihn nicht besonders gut zubereitet hatte. Karpfen verschwinden auch. Eine Delikatesse fuer die Polen, aber wenig von Briten verzerrt. Ein Freund hatte vor Jahren einen Karpfenteich, und das war echt ein Problem, sowie auch fuer seine Bekannten. Zurueck zu Pilzen. Scheinbar warden diese an Restaurants verkauft, zu Preisen biz zu £50 pro Kilo. Weiss der Teufel welche Pilze solche Preise verlangen, aber ich hoffe Stefan wird uns schlau machen. Es muss was unternommen werden. Diese Diebe muessen aus dem Land gewiesen werden, am besten nach Deutschland in den Koenigsforst, wo Stefan’s Freund der Foerster mit seiner Schrottflinte sie bedienen kann.. Aber sie erst fangen? Das waere kein Problem. Restaurants die sie kaufen sollten eine Geldbuse von £10000 pro Kilo zahlen muessen. Wie findet man aus wer diese sind? Einfach. Man bietet ‘Whistleblowers’ £5000 pro Kilo an. Mein Gott, so viele in der Branche sind so schlecht bezahlt.

TORY HOARDINGS

I am glad the government is to discontinue its partial advertising campaign, the one with hoardings mounted on vans, advising illegal immigrants to go home or be arrested. I mean, what a stupid idea, it can only have stemmed from Cameron’s sidekick Lynton Crosby. Who the hell takes a blind bit of notice? It was a sop to the electorate, no more than that, but even they are not foolish enough to give this credence. The adage that Cameron cannot be trusted now carries more weight and will be used a great deal in the next general election campaign -and quite right too. Why does this government instead not go and arrest illegal immigrants and send them home? Is it they don’t know where they are to be found? I do, a very great number. Come and talk to me about it.

ARE YOU SUFFERING FRO INSOMNIA

Well, one of the best cures is to listen to a William Hague speech, that is guaranteed to put you to sleep.

FACEBOOK

For Facebook to allow videos and images of beheadings once again is totally grotesque and disgraceful. It really doesn’t matter whether these have warnings attached to them. They are offensive, and it is not often that I find something offensive. I could, however, be persuaded to have them on Facebook if they portrayed the beheadings of Tony and Cherrie Blair, Gordon Brown and David Cameron – oh yes, and for good measure Mark Zuckerberg.

RICHARD BRANSON

So Richard Branson is going to become an émigré. Why not, his time is over. Of course, he says he is not doing this to avoid paying UK taxes. Is he paying income tax here? The fact that many of his enterprises have only succeeded because of grants given by successive government rankles in particular.

THE MITCHEL AFFAIR

What doesn’t stack up, for at least, in this affair, is the fact that after having been accused of calling a policeman a pleb, he subsequently apologised for having done so. Then at a later date he denies having called him it.

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