Hello there. Hope you’re feeling well today.BBC Radio Wales, the English language station for the nation is over forty years but it seems to be recently attracting a great deal of critisim for it’s output. Whilst I don’t agree with everything that’s being said I would draw your attention to the following blog post.
This post points out the pitiful share of the Welsh audience that actually listens to the station. There are various reasons why. Firstly as I’ve discussed with regard to S4C it has the problem of having to appeal to a wide audience in just one channel stream. So if we take it’s normal daytime schedule we would have (in style) BBC Radio 2 (easy listening) followed by BBC Radio 4 (Speech radio) followed by BBC Radio 5 Live (Phone-in) followed by BBC Radio 2, BBC Radio 4, BBC Radio 1 (Young people’s music) and Mr Chris Needs.
The point being is that there would be a good chance that the listener to one Radio Wales programme is unlikely to stick with the station when the next programme comes on.
That’s not of course the station’s fault. But then you move on from the issue of style to substance. There are a number of the above programmes where if you changed any Welsh names to English ones and made the same programme (barring the news/weather and traffic) in an English accent and then compare it to a similar English one it would not be easy to tell the difference. Basically an English tenplate has been followed.
And indeed I know of some Welsh programmes in the 6:30-7:00 weekday slot to be broadcast on the UK wide BBC Radio 4 before being broadcast on Radio Wales.
Nobody should want every programme in the Radio Wales canon to be Red Dragonised but that does not mean that it should not have a distinctively Welsh flavour either. It is after all the state run national broadcaster. I come back to Mr Chris Needs. The music is not to my taste but that’s a personal thing. What no one can deny though is that his show is unique and distinctly Welsh.
So what should be done? The BBC treats BBC Radio Wales as a “local” radio station like an English region. Hence the carbon copies of most of it’s output. But Wales is not a region it’s a country. What is important local news in Anglesey may mean nothing in Aberdare. Perhaps the solution is therefore is to see how much BBC Radio Wales output can be split to reflect the ears of the people listening. Whether for example the drive time news show should have a North/South Walian version to properly reflect the concerns of the listeners. They do it for some sporting coverage.
Of course it will cost. But the cost of public disinterest in a station that is meant to serve the nation will be even greater.
Until the next time.