New name for BBC's Radio 7

BBC station Radio 7 is being given a new name - Radio 4 Extra - in an attempt to attract more listeners.







Radio 7 was launched in 2003 but in 2009/10 fewer than one in five British adults were aware of the station, which has an annual budget of £5.8 million.



The BBC Trust, the Corporation's governing body, has now endorsed a management proposal to reposition the speech-based comedy and drama station, which has an audience of 925,000, as Radio 4 Extra.



The BBC also wants to build awareness of Radio 7 by fostering closer editorial ties with Radio 4, which has around 10 million listeners, and by doubling the levels of cross-promotion.



Despite lower awareness of Radio 7 than any other BBC network station, it had been successful, the Trust said.



But it regretted that the BBC's attempt to serve children through dedicated programming on Radio 7 had been unsuccessful.



As a result, it has approved plans to reduce the hours of children's programming from 1,400 to 350 hours on Radio 7 and refocus it on "family-friendly content", saying this would result in a "stronger speech service for children".



The Trust reviews each of the BBC's services at least once every five years.



Today it also published its findings on Radio 4, saying many listeners considered the station a "national treasure".



It endorsed proposals to increase levels of listening among audiences outside of London and the South East and those from ethnic minority groups.



It also said that Radio 4 should address concerns about the imbalance of its international coverage in favour of the US, compared with Europe and the rest of the world.



It endorsed plans to find ways to build loyalty among "younger, lighter listeners", saying that there were "concerns about long-term decline in reach to the 'replenisher' audience group".



Radio 4's £91.3 million budget is nearly double that of the next most expensive BBC radio station, but the Trust said it was "cost-effective" due to its strong performance.



Radio 3, which broadcasts mainly classical music, has a budget of £39.2 million and attracts around two million adult listeners, fewer than any other BBC network radio station and around a third of Classic FM's audience.



It has the highest cost per listener-hour of the main BBC radio stations.



The BBC Trust said there was no compelling evidence to back up concerns that the station's attempt to be more accessible had reduced its quality and distinctiveness.



Radio 3 should become more accessible without alienating its core audience or reducing its distinctive output, it said.



BBC management have raised the possibility of providing an opt-out digital stream at weekends for jazz, world music and special events.



The Trust said it concluded that BBC Radio 3, Radio 4 and Radio 7 are "much loved and highly valued by the millions of licence fee-payers that listen every week".







The report said an hour of Radio 7 content costs £571 to broadcast.



It aims to boost listening to the station by 50% through the changes announced today.



RadioCentre, the industry body for commercial radio, criticised today's report.



Chief executive Andrew Harrison said: "The BBC Trust's call for Radios 3 and 4 to extend their appeal, whilst retaining their distinctiveness, is a contradiction in terms.



"It's like asking a station to become more popular and less popular at the same time. Radio 3 and Radio 4 should be proud of their unique character and do all they can to retain it."



Radio 3 controller Roger Wright welcomed the trust's "recognition of Radio 3's distinctive music and arts output and support for the current direction of the station".



He added: "The trust confirms that Radio 3 represents excellent value for money. We welcome the trust's recommendation that Radio 3 continues to build appeal for potential new listeners whilst, vitally, maintaining the station's unique music, arts and broadcast features of the highest quality."



Radio 4 and Radio 7 controller Gwyneth Williams said: "I warmly welcome the results of the trust's very thorough review of Radio 4. The overwhelmingly positive feedback they received from listeners is a tribute to all the programme makers across the UK on whose creativity and high standards the station depends.



"I am also encouraged by the trust's endorsement of our continuing work to extend the appeal and accessibility of the station while remaining true to our values and our very loyal audience."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Ashdown Group: Web Developer - London - £40K plus benefits - Salary negotiable

£38000 - £40000 per annum + Excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: A leading consu...

Sheridan Maine: Accounts Assistant

£12 - £15 Hourly Rate: Sheridan Maine: Are you an experienced Accounts Assista...

Sheridan Maine: Accounts Payable Clerk

£21,000 - £24,000 Annual: Sheridan Maine: Are you looking for a new opportunit...

Sheridan Maine: Finance Manager

£55,000 - £65,000 Annual: Sheridan Maine: Are you a qualified accountant with ...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor