Media: Talk of the Trade: Anderson shelter

WITH the rough edges and jarring interludes of Radio 5 Live to work on perhaps BBC senior executives will desist from any more tinkering with Radio 4. The Corporation seems to think it can ride out the storm over Anderson Country, the new Radio 4 afternoon programme hosted by Gerry Anderson, which has provoked buckets of venom from listeners. The lofty Corporation view is that Radio 4 listeners will eventually come to love him. But there are senior people within Broadcasting House who privately say that Radio 4 should be worried, and the audience should not be insulted in this way. The weekday programme, which includes phone-ins, was introduced to give some identity, and attract new listeners, to a previously undistinguished 3-4pm slot. But the simple solution would have been to sugar the pill by giving the new looser format to an established broadcaster. After all, the most successful addition to Radio 4 in the past few years has been The Moral Maze, which combined a fresh format and brief with a well-known name, Michael Buerk.