Radio Newsbeat

Here is my selection of the latest news that interests me from three websites

Selections from the Radio Today Site

The BBC Trust says Radio 5 live should ensure that discussions and features should have an obvious link to news or topical issues.

The guidance comes from the Trust’s service review of the station, which also says it should cover more minority sports that commercial radio does not.

As part of the service review process, UTV Media – the owner of commercial rival talkSPORT – has been arguing that 5 live is failing to meet its current requirement for 75% of the station’s output to be news and current affairs.

Today the Trust reported that 5 live has ‘breadth, depth, wit and intelligence’, and 9 out of 10 listeners rate sports coverage on the station as high quality. Audiences also praised the station as a reliable source for breaking news and said it had ‘knowledgeable presenters who make stories accessible without trivialising them’.

BBC Trustee Alison Hastings, who led the review, said: “In a year that has seen so many major news stories hit the headlines, it’s great to see that 5 live’s approach to news coverage and breaking news really stands out for listeners. We’ve set out ways in which we think 5 live could build on this to ensure that all of its journalism continues to meet the high standards that audiences expect. The station also has an unmatched reputation for sports coverage among licence fee payers. Given the BBC’s unique position we think the station could do more to cover the less mainstream sports that other stations can’t, and we look to the Executive to decide how best to achieve this.”

Last week, the BBC Trust announced as part of its DQF interim report that 5 live’s proposals to reduce current affairs programming shouldn’t go ahead. Today, it adds that the other cost-savings outlined for the station should be retained within the overall DQF strategy – namely reducing the cost of overnight programming, using smaller teams of presenters at sports events, reducing 5 live’s team of regional journalists in England and working more closely with other parts of BBC News.

BBC Three Counties Radio Managing Editor Mark Norman is the latest local radio boss to announce his departure from the corporation.

He’s spent the majority of his 21-year BBC career in Luton, becoming the station’s boss in 1998.

Before joining the BBC he worked as a newspaper reporter, including in Hertfordshire and the North East of England.

Mark told RadioToday.co.uk that leaving the BBC was one of the hardest decisions he’s had to make. “It is an organisation which has the ability to inspire those who work inside it and those who pay for it and that’s not something one gives up lightly,” he said. “I came to the BBC from newspapers by chance – it was a move dictated by geography rather than desire. I think I got lucky. Without knowing it I found myself in a job that made me feel passionate about broadcasting and reignited my appetite for journalism.

“Since then I have been privileged to be able to reflect the area in which I was born and grew up, working with some of the most amazing people I have encountered in any walk of my life. And even more gratifying than that is the fact I’ve done it in Local Radio – the one bit of the BBC that is truly defined by its listeners and is better than anything else on the radio because of it. I’ll miss working here, but I’m looking forward to becoming a proper listener.”

Mark joined BBC Radio Bedfordshire, as it was then, as a reporter in 1991, later going on to produce the station’s breakfast show and work as a presenter. In 1998 he had brief spells as a reporter at BBC Look East and Acting Managing Editor of BBC Radio Northampton before taking over as Managing Editor of BBC Three Counties Radio at the end of the year.

In recent years, he’s had three spells on attachment away from Three Counties – in 2005 as an Advisor in the BBC Corporate and Social Responsibility Unit; in 2006-7 as Executive Editor of BBC East; and in 2010-11 as Head of Local Radio Development.

Tim Bishop, Head of Regional and Local Programming BBC East, said: “I first met Mark when he came for a week’s work experience on his local paper. In lots of ways he hasn’t changed. He was always proud of working for the BBC covering the patch in which he grew up. He’s creative, restless, easily bored and out of that appetite for new and bigger and better ideas, BBC Three Counties has produced some great radio that have been recognised with a string of national awards.

“He’s had some great successes and like everyone who does anything really good he’s never been afraid to fail, to know when something hasn’t worked, but not to be afraid to come back and try again. He’s had the personality and presence to lead some of the best presenters in local radio and get the best out of them and leaves BBC Three Counties far stronger than we joined the BBC as a fresh faced young man.”

Mark’s departure follows the recent announcements that the Managing Editors of BBC Radio Manchester, BBC Radio Cumbria and BBC Hereford & Worcester are to also leave their posts.

The owners of the second digital radio multiplex for Greater London have announced plans to change transmission provider from June this year and extend coverage.

Switchdigital as agreed a 12-year deal with French company VDL, which will see the service through its second licence period.

The deal includes a new transmitter at the BT Tower which is expected to improve indoor reception of the stations on the multiplex for DAB listeners in Central London.

Switchdigital is jointly owned by UTV Media, TIML (owners of Absolute Radio) and Carphone Warehouse. The contract will mark VDL’s first move into the UK digital radio transmission market.

Piers Collins, Director, Switchdigital London, said: “We have been very impressed with VDL’s fresh approach, value for money and desire to work with Switchdigital as a strategic partner.”

Yannick Andre-Masse, VDL’s CEO added: “For VDL, the establishment of a presence in the UK digital radio transmission market represents an important strategic extension of the company’s existing FM and digital transmission network operations in France and Belgium.”

The London 2 DAB multiplex was launched in July 2000. Current stations available include XFM, Gold, BBC London 94.9, Absolute Radio’s 70s and 00s decades stations and French Radio London.

Mary Kalemkerian, who launched BBC Radio 7, has announced her retirement from the BBC after 30 years.

She’s currently Head of Programming for Radio 4 Extra, after overseeing the station’s rebranding from BBC 7 last year.

A former winner of Station Programmer of the Year at the Sony Awards, Mary said she was sad to be leaving but felt the time was right. “It has been ten years since we launched Radio 7, and during that time we’ve seen the station steadily grow,” she said. “I wanted to be sure that last year’s re-branding was a success and now Radio 4 Extra is well and truly established and firmly on the digital radio map, the time is right for me to leave the BBC. I can move on confident in the knowledge that the station is in great shape and my small but perfectly formed team will carry on the good work.”

Gwyneth Williams, Controller of Radio 4 and Radio 4 Extra, said: “We will miss Mary and her enthusiasm and knowledge of our unique archive, but she leaves behind her a wonderful legacy. Her editorial leadership has been a key part of making Radio 4 Extra into what it is today, for which I’m very grateful. Mary hands on the baton to her excellent team who will continue to bring the very best in archive comedy and drama to Radio 4 Extra’s growing audience.”

Mary’s first job at the BBC was on Radio Scotland’s pre-school programming. She later worked on Schools Radio programmes in London before joining BBC Worldwide as Senior Commissioning Editor for the Radio Collection. She was also chief producer of youth magazine programmes for Radio 5 following its launch in 1990.

The BBC says her responsibilities will be taken on by an ‘integrated management team for both Radio 4 and Radio 4 Extra’.

Community radio station Cheshire FM has ended broadcasts after being served with a winding-up order because of unpaid debts.

The station, which launched in March 2007, fell silent on Friday afternoon.

It’s understood the final track played was Take That’s ‘Happy Now’, with the station’s RDS changing to ‘RIP CHFM’.

Only last month the station heard from Ofcom that its licence was being renewed for a further five years, so would have been able to continue until at least March 2017.

Cheshire FM was awarded a community radio licence in May 2006 after previously running an RSL station. It was set up by Wire FM founders David Duffy and Houltby. Duffy went on to buy Dune FM and later Central Radio while running Cheshire FM.

The community station hasn’t been managed by Niocom for over a year. Recent changes included the signing of Brendan Kearney for the station’s breakfast show in June last year.

Cheshire FM has had mixed fortunes over the five years it was on air, picking up a business award in 2008 and then being found in breach of its licence by Ofcom in 2010 for not sticking to the regulator’s terms on advertising and sponsorship quotas.

BBC Sport and the England and Wales Cricket Board have agreed a new six-year deal for radio coverage, meaning ball-by-ball commentaries will run until at least 2019.

The agreement means live and exclusive coverage for the BBC of two home Ashes series in 2015 and 2019 as well as all England’s home Test, One-Day International and T20 series fixtures.

The current deal with the BBC is due to expire at the end of the 2013 season. Matches are broadcast on Radio 4′s long wave frequencies as well as BBC Radio 5 live Sports Extra under the ‘Test Match Special’ branding.

David Collier, ECB Chief Executive said: “This is excellent news for all cricket-lovers. Test Match Special brings cricket into millions of homes in this country each summer and is widely recognised for its unique and world class coverage of cricket. The next six years are set to be exciting ones for the sport and Test Match Special’s coverage together with the regular summaries and updates provided by BBC Radio 5 live will play a significant role in promoting cricket from the playground to the Test arena.”

Barbara Slater, Director BBC Sport said: “We’re delighted to be taking cricket on the radio forward for a further six years. Test Match Special, now in its 55th year is one of the most treasured programmes on the BBC with its unique mix of expert commentary, insight, humour and entertainment. In a new digital era the programme and its accompanying download have never been more popular with its audience.”

National sports radio station talkSPORT has announced electronics firm Sharp as an official partner of its coverage of the Euro 2012 football tournament this summer.

The firm will have bespoke on-air content around live matches and also be featured in the station’s sister title Sport Magazine as part of the build-up to the event.

talkSPORT is broadcasting all 31 Euro 2012 matches live through June and early July from the tournament in Poland and the Ukraine.

Anthony Hogg, Head of Creative Solutions at talkSPORT sales house UTV Pitch, said: “As a dedicated sport station we’re really excited about 2012 and having a sponsor like Sharp on board for our UEFA EURO 2012 coverage is a great start to the year. Our platforms will provide the perfect environment for Sharp to engage directly with football fans on their FanLabs project. We are again using our tried and tested unique category exclusive six partner commercial tournament model for official brands wanting to activate or align themselves to the biggest tournament of the year.”

Martin Arnold , Marketing Communications Manager at Sharp said: “talkSPORT is the home of football fans and we’re delighted to be a sponsor of their UEFA EURO 2012 coverage this summer. We had a great response to working with them on the UEFA EURO 2012 final draw last year with lots of engagement with our FanLabs project both on talkSPORT.co.uk and through their social media channels.”

From Radio Netherlands Media Blog

IBA gives public access to archival treasures
January 30th, 2012 – 16:33 UTC
by Andy Sennitt.

Close to 20,000 programmes and songs dating from before statehood until recent years have been digitized by the Israel Broadcasting Authority and are now accessible at http://www.iba.org.il/zemerivri. Some of the items are extremely rare and have faded from public consciousness. But for some listeners they may be of great significance for any number of historic or personal reasons.

“This is a first step in the establishment of the IBA’s new media and in making the IBA’s extensive archives available to the general public,” IBA chairman Amir Gilat said. Of the material that is accessible, there are more than 10,000 songs and programmes that reflect the pre-state era, and convey the spirit of the state in the making.

The items are categorized under Events, Holy Days and Festivals, Hazanut (cantorial music), Songs, Bible, Sketches based on tradition, Sabbath, Dances, Days of Awe, Music, Settlements, Jerusalem and General.

The project was carried out within the framework of the IBA plenum’s resolve that public broadcasts belong to the public, and that every effort must be exerted to make them available through the new media. The digital process was conducted in cooperation with the National Library’s Tslil (Sound) Archive. The website through which the archival material can be accessed is part of larger project that is being carried out through the IBA information network under the direction of Moshe Lev, and Israel Radio’s new media division headed by Zelig Rabinovich.

(Source: Jerusalem Post)

From the digital spy site

Zoe Ball has confirmed that this weekend’s Saturday breakfast show on BBC Radio 2 was her last, as she wants to spend more time with her family.

The mother-of-two completed her final 6am to 8am breakfast show on the station at the weekend after two and a half years in the early slot.

The former Radio 1 breakfast presenter informed listeners at the weekend that she wanted to spend more time with her children, Woody, 11, and Nelly, 2, along with DJ husband Norman Cook.

“You have been such splendid company, but after three glorious years of early rising my other family – my three ­monkeys at home – have decided they’d quite like me to themselves at weekends,” she said.

Ball has been doing the show since June 2009, although she had a break in January 2010 when she gave birth to her second child.

She will remain on the books at Radio 2 as a cover presenter, including regular cover for Ken Bruce’s weekday mid-morning show on the station.

“I look forward to continuing as Ken Bruce’s stunt double when he’s on holiday,” she added.

After the programme, Ball posted on Twitter: “Thank you splendid bunch of #BarkingLarkers for your fine company on Saturday mornings. I will miss y’all!”

Barking Larkers was the name Ball gave to her Radio 2 listeners.

Lynn Parsons will cover the Saturday breakfast show for the next few weeks, before a permanent replacement is announced.

Kyle Sandilands

© Rex Features / Newspix/Rex Features
Kyle Sandilands is being investigated by the Australian communications watchdog.

The Aussie radio personality, who was dumped by sponsors of his 2DayFM after he launched an on-air attack on journalist Alison Stephenson last year, could be reprimanded after a number of listeners complained about him.

A spokesman for the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) told The Age: “We are investigating complaints about Kyle Sandilands’s remarks on radio on November 22, 2011.

“The results of that investigation will be made available in due course.”

In his tirade against Stephenson, Sandilands called her a “fat slag”, a “little troll” and a “piece of s**t” and threatened to “hunt her down”.

A petition on Change.org called for Sandilands’s sponsors to stop supporting him, and soon after, advertisers including Telstra, Fantastic Furniture, Vodafone and Jenny Craig cancelled their contracts with the radio station.

After the incident, Sandilands said to Stephenson on air: “If you took a personal offence to it, Ali, I’m sorry, but maybe you should think again before you start going [against] different people.

“If they say I can dish it out but I can’t take it, I never ever dish it out first. I always retaliate due to someone else’s crazy, outrageous allegations.”

He later released a statement saying: “I took my remarks too far and for that – and the offence caused to Alison Stephenson and those exposed to my comments – I sincerely apologise.

“I regret the impact this has had on our clients and our hard-working staff. I regret that so many had to bear the brunt of my actions.”

The BBC will have to find a further £10m of savings after the BBC Trust reversed planned cuts to local radio and current affairs, following an outcry from licence fee payers, politicians and religious leaders.

BBC Trust chairman Lord Patten has said that he has asked BBC director general Mark Thompson to row back on around half of the planned £15m cuts to BBC local radio in England.

Thompson has also been asked to rethink some areas of the BBC current affairs proposals, after the Trust judged that they could “disproportionately affect the BBC’s journalistic offer”. It is thought that this will include plans to scale back BBC One’s Inside Out strand.

Overall Lord Patten said that the Trust’s changes to the Delivering Quality First cost-cutting scheme should “cost the BBC no more than £10m” a year.

In its interim conclusion, the Trust said: “Our analysis of the proposals has convinced us… that some of the proposed changes – to local radio and some current affairs output – are likely to have too much of a detrimental impact on the BBC’s journalistic aspirations and reputation.”

Talking about local radio, it added: “We… think the scale and impact of the cuts, although lower in financial terms than for many other parts of the BBC, is disproportionate to the value of these services to their audience and have asked the [BBC] executive to consider again the shape of their proposals, set against a clearer overall strategy for local radio as a whole.”

The English local radio proposals were among the most controversial aspects of Thompson’s Delivering Quality First budget cuts initiative.

Last October, the Trust launched a public consultation on the DQF proposals, which aim to save around £670m a year by 2016/17 under the BBC’s new licence fee agreement.

The local radio cuts, slashing around £15m a year from station budgets and putting around 280 jobs at risk, are understood to have attracted thousands of complaints from licence fee payers, politicians and senior church leaders.

Using the submissions, along with audience research and other analysis, the Trust found that “local speech radio is an area of almost total market failure”, meaning there are few other serious commercial alternatives to the BBC’s output.

The Trust said that local radio “brings something unique and intimate to its audience, many of whom tend not to use many other BBC services beyond mainstream TV”.

It found that particularly in areas outside the south east of England, BBC local services are “seen to provide balance against perceptions of a metropolitan and centrist BBC, and above all, listeners value most the localness of their particular station”.

BBC Radio 5 Live logo
The BBC had proposed to focus primarily on peaktime local radio programming – breakfast, mid-morning and drivetime – as well as sport, and faith programming on Sunday mornings.

Other areas of the schedule would then be filled by increasing the sharing between stations in off-peak slots, such as weekday afternoons, and Sunday evenings.

For example, the BBC executive proposed that all local radio stations would share a single “all-England” programme from 7pm to 10pm every night, while they would simulcast Radio 5 Live from 1am until the start of their breakfast programmes.

Within shared programme, the individual stations would continue to run local news bulletins, and be able to opt out at times of civil emergency or bad weather.

The Trust said that there was a “sound logic” behind the BBC’s proposals, largely because content sharing is already in radio networks.

“Content sharing already exists in some areas at some times without much of an apparent effect on the quality of output, and it is clear that listeners are generally less concerned about the need for a local service to remain local in off peak times such as overnight,” said the Trust.

“The emerging findings from our audience research, and that conducted by the executive following sharing trials last year, suggest that it is possible that some sharing of content, in some areas and at some points of the day, may be an effective way to increase the quality of output.

“However, the findings from our consultation, audience research and other analysis have shown us that local speech radio is an area of almost total market failure; that it brings something unique and intimate to its audience, many of whom tend not to use many other BBC services beyond mainstream TV.

“To some, particularly away from the south east, local radio is seen to provide balance against perceptions of a metropolitan and centrist BBC, and above all, listeners value most the localness of their particular station.”

The Trust said that it will now work with Thompson to “consider the shape” of the local radio proposals against an “overall strategy” for the sector.

This will include proposals to ensure stations “stay local for most of the time to continue to have an impact and to stay distinctive”.

It added: “Local radio is not the same everywhere. It means different things to different communities in terms of news, sport, culture, identity and music.

“The changes should reflect this, and look to give station managers some discretion to be flexible and run stations with regard to the particular needs of their audiences.”

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