According to this article from MediaGuardian the BBC are saying that Radio 4 needs to react quicker to the news, my question is why? What is the BBC’s obsession with turning every single one of it’s outlets into a rolling news service, with BBC News 24, and the switch overs to News 24 when BBC1 and 2 are ‘off’ it’s become impossible to escape, even the ever-reliable World Service through the night service is now little more than rolling news interspersed with occasional arts programmes which are getting increasingly thin on the ground, not to mention dubious in terms of their actual worth.
So it’s beyond me why the BBC is mooting that Radio 4 should react quicker, and frankly it fills me with dread because I can almost guarantee that their idea of reacting quicker is news bulletins jumping in whenever some foreign leader sneezes (as happens on Radio 5 and News 24) or even worse regular half hour updates cutting short programming flexibility and interrupting hour long shows (as happens on the world service).
It raises the question of what is ‘important news’ – I’d expect a program to be broken into for something like July7th or 9/11, or the PM or Her Madge dropping dead, but that’s about it: If I’m that bothered about keeping up to date with what’s going on with the rest of the world then I’ll have Sky News or Radio 5 on, as would anyone else who desperately needs to be in touch with what colour toilet paper Jacque Chirac is using today, or whether Michael Jackson’s dropping his kid out of the window at some hotel. The obsession with New News is so tiresome, and the BBC beyond all other service providers are the worst for picking up this buzz and over-exposing it. Just because News happens 24 hours a day doesn’t mean every outlet has to be 24 hour news.