Michael Uplawski <michael....@uplawski.eu
> Good morning from France
Good morning. It is good to know that people from a wide range of
backgrounds are contributors to this group.
> > On Sat, 5 Mar 2022 at 10:06:20, Liz Tuddenham
> ><l...@poppyrecords.invalid.invalid> wrote (my responses usually FOLLOW):
> >>R4 still thinks its primary purpose is entertainment,
> You cannot gain such a conviction by just listening to a radio program.
> Can you specify the reasons for making that statement?
I formed this impression from the editorial decisions that R4 takes in
response to unforseen circumstances. If a technical or informative item
competes for time with an 'arts' or entertainment item, the
entertainment is always given priority. Even some of the weather
forcasts have been shortened to make time for extra trails.
The same programme in which an expert was hurried up and cut short
whilst analysing the Ukrainian situation, included a poem about Ukraine.
The poem could have easily been cut out to allow the expert more time.
In news bulletins, after a short summary of the situation there is
usually a much longer vox-pop with someone who has very little idea of
what is going on, but pours out their feelings. That is not news, it
could be included in a magazine programme later. It does not belong in
a serious news bulletin and it most certainly does not belong in the 1.5
minutes of trails which preceeed each main news bulletin as so-called
> > it just isn't set
> >>up to deal with information at a time when information is what is most
> >>needed. Instead of expanding ostensibly factual programmes after the
> >>main news bulletins and allowing experts enough time to explain the full
> >>picture, they are hurrying them up and cutting them off part way through
> >>their explanations so as to cram in vox-pops, sport and trails.
> This �€" as far as I remember �€" has frequently or permanently been a
> problem on any of the radio stations that I have listened to, in my
> It is however an impression, created under many influences, some of
> which are the auditor's exigence (I do not even know if this is English,
['Exigency' is an English word but not very often used. You could avoid
it by saying "Some of which depend on the listener's situation"]
> There *are* however stations where *I* encounter the same
> problem more frequently and even more frequently than on BBC4. They are,
> usually, not what you once called highbrow services. Apart from those,
> let's say on *some* broadcasts on « France Culture »,
I used to listen to French stations many years ago, but stopped when
they started playing trails and talking argot. The last good station I
discovered was Radio Bleue when I could receive it from a medium wave
transmitter in Brittany; it played a programme hosted by Pierre-Marcel
Ondher (who spoke good clear French).
The problem is that I am old enough to remember when BBC radio was
always very formal and correct when it was dealing with serious matters
(sometimes too formal). Now it has gone the opposite way and gives the
impression of being run by a bunch of arts undergraduates who don't know
how to treat a subject seriously and feel they have to turn everything
I agree with you that a lot of radio station are worse than R4, but R4
is supposed to be the 'flagship' of the BBC and the 'British ambassador'
of the airwaves. You wouldn't have a good opinion of us if we sent an
ambassador to Paris to discuss the possibility of a Third World War and
all he wanted to talk about was how worried his taxi driver was by the
possible rise in the price of diesel.
> I see that
> radio hosts must intervene because a topic is vast and the expert tends
> to digress towards her/his own zone of comfort instead of answering a
That is a different matter and I completely agree that many interviews
are a waste of time because the interviewee is allowed to change the
questions to suit his or her pre-planned propaganda.
My worry is that they are now inteviewing real experts in subjects which
have suddenly become vital to understand,. These experts need time to
explain the answers to quite difficult questions but they are being
hurried along by a reporter who thinks the whole answer can be given in
one sound bite of five words.
The impression is that the reporter doesn't really understand the
subject and he is mistaking the expert's slow methodical thought for a
politician's prevarication or a layman's ignorance.
> I will pay more attention to the ambience on BBC4 to verify my own
> claims, but I cannot say that I already suffer much from this
Perhaps some listeners are more upset by it than others.
> >>The World Service is slightly better, but have they considered how
> >>someone sheltering in a cellar under bombardment will feel sitting
> >>through jolly jingles and promotional trails for programmes they may
> >>not live to hear, when all they really need is news?
> Never been in a bunker, other than those you still find in Germany, in
> search of fire-bellied toads, when I was eight or nine years old. You
> have to ask those concerned about how *they* feel about the quality of
> the broadcasts they heard. Else, tell me how your question could be
> merely rhetoric. What qualification do you have to venture that jolly
> jingles may disappoint folks who expect nothing else than terror?
> I may know nothing but I do not claim the opposite.
I didn't make any claims either, I asked if the planners who played
those jingles had considered their possible effect on some listeners.
I also have been into similar bunkers. Five minutes on a Summers day
was enough for me, so I can only guess how dreadful it must be for the
hundreds of people who are forced to live their lives in a bunker while
their entire city is destroyed above them.
[This is possibly the longest post this group has ever seen]