Radio Four's changes win the ear of not-so-disgusted of Tunbridge Wells - News - The Independent

Radio Four's changes win the ear of not-so-disgusted of Tunbridge Wells

JAMES BOYLE, the controller of Radio 4, appears to have pulled off his gamble to revamp radically the radio station that has Britain's most conservative audience.

Radio 4 has attracted 100,000 new listeners following the major overhaul which saw 53 new programmes introduced at the beginning of April.

Quarterly figures from Rajar, the radio industry audience research body, show that Radio 4 increased its average weekly audience to 8.25 million in April, May and June. It was the only BBC radio network to increase its audience compared with the first three months of the year.

Mr Boyle's controversial changes to the station attracted accusations of "dumbing down", but were intended both to bring in new listeners and to persuade existing listeners to stay for longer.

He has succeeded in his first task, but average time spent with the station has fallen from 10.8 to 10.4 hours per listener. The BBC claims that the average has fallen because new listeners are still finding their way around the station.

Mr Boyle said yesterday: "I am really pleased with the vote of confidence in the new schedule. We've extended the reach of the station at a time when a lot of people were watching the World Cup. We've got them in and now we've got to make them stick around for longer and we will tweak the programmes. But it looks as if the basic schedule strategy has worked."

Early analysis of the figures shows that the greatest improvement has come in parts of the day when the station has traditionally been weak, such as the afternoons and evenings.

The controversial decision to move Yesterday in Parliament on to the long wave version of Radio 4 has given the 8.30am to 9.00am segment of the Today programme a slight boost in the ratings.

However, moving the 9.00am news bulletin into the Today programme and starting new shows at 9am has not stopped the major fall-off in listeners when the flagship current affairs programme ends.

"The 9.00am slot is pretty flattish," said Mr Boyle. "That is what we expected, because there was a huge number of new programmes so we have to look at what has worked and what hasn't."

Moving Woman's Hour forward to 10.00am has given the programme a bigger audience and given the hour between 10.00am and 11.00am its biggest ratings.

The BBC is also claiming a success in moving the Archers from 1.40pm to 2.00pm. More than 90 per cent of the afternoon's 1.1 million Archers audience has moved with the show.

The evening episode of the Archers and the Sunday omnibus are now getting slightly higher audiences so Radio 4 believes listeners who cannot catch the afternoon programme are now listening to the repeats in the evening or at weekends.

Even better, from the BBC's point of view, the 2.00pm Archers audience is now staying with the station to listen to its new afternoon dramas, which replaced poorly performing shows such as Afternoon Shift and Kaleidoscope. The relocation of programmes such as the Moral Maze has helped to lift evening ratings, although the BBC concedes it was starting from a low base.

The Saturday morning schedule which saw the most change, with shows like John Peel's Home Truths and a new time for the Food Programme, has seen little change in its audience, but the BBC says it is grateful not to have lost any listeners due to the changes.

Suggested Topics
News
John Travolta is a qualified airline captain and employed the pilot with his company, Alto
people'That was the lowest I’d ever felt'
Life and Style
healthIt isn’t greasy. It doesn’t smell. And moreover, it costs nothing
News
peopleThe report and photo dedicated to the actress’s decolletage has, unsurprisingly, provoked anger
Property
Home body: Badger stays safe indoors
property
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
The programme sees four specialists creating what they believe are three perfect couples, based on scientific matchmaking. The couples will not meet until they walk down the aisle together
tvUK wedding show jilted
Arts and Entertainment
US pop diva Jennifer Lopez sang “Happy Birthday” to Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, president of Turkmenistan
musicCorporate gigs become key source of musicians' income
Arts and Entertainment
You've been framed: Henri Matisse's colourful cut-outs at Tate Modern
artWhat makes a smash-hit art show
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
filmsDaniel Craig believed to be donning skis as 007 for first time
Sport
Mikel Arteta pictured during Borussia Dortmund vs Arsenal
champions league
Voices
Yes supporters gather outside the Usher Hall, which is hosting a Night for Scotland in Edinburgh
voicesBen Judah: Is there a third option for England and Scotland that keeps everyone happy?
Arts and Entertainment
Pulp-fiction lover: Jarvis Cocker
booksJarvis Cocker on Richard Brautigan
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke and Pharell Williams in the video of the song, which has been accused of justifying rape
music...and he had 'almost no part' in writing it
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 General

Senior QA Engineer - Agile, SCRUM

£35000 - £50000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior QA Engineer (Agil...

Marketing Executive - West Midlands - £28,000

£26000 - £28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Digital Marketing Executive (SEO, PP...

Retail Business Analyst

£40000 - £50000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our retail client ...

Senior C++ Developer

£400 - £450 Per Annum possibly more for the right candidate: Clearwater People...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week