Radio 4 a hit, claims BBC

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THE BBC is claiming success for its new Radio 4 schedule after releasing research yesterday showing that half of its audience like the new programme line-up.

The corporation received 31,000 postal responses to a survey placed in its original information pack which showed that 51 per cent of listeners broadly like what they have heard of the new schedule. This compares with just 11 per cent who say they broadly dislike the changes.

Nevertheless over a third of listeners say they have mixed feelings about the station.

The BBC admits that the tear-off slips are a self-selecting survey and so conducted two telephone polls two months apart after the changes began on April 6. The telephone poll showed similar results with 46 per cent broadly liking the new schedule and nine per cent disliking them.

In contrast Feedback, Radio 4's listeners' letters show, has kept a tally of letters objecting to the changes running at a rate of nine to one against the new schedule. The BBC says that this just shows that people who object to something are more likely to write in than those who are happy with the new service.

Most controversy has been stirred by the new tone of the longer Today programme which includes a daily long debate and a number of softer news items. However, Radio 4 sources are quick to point out that responsibility for the show's content lies mainly with BBC News and not Radio 4.