BBC defends plan for all-news radio station

THE BBC hit back vigorously last night at critics of its plan to turn the Radio 4 long wave frequency into an all-news station by 1994. Giving details of the schedule proposed for the new channel, Tony Hall, director of news and current affairs, denied reports that attacks on it by vociferous listeners had persuaded the Corporation to think again.

The BBC's first attempt at an all-news service came during the Gulf war, when Radio 4's FM frequency was given over to news and comment about the conflict. Mr Hall told members of the Royal Television Society in London that this had attracted 1.5 million new listeners, many of them young.

Some regular Radio 4 listeners have complained that they cannot receive FM broadcasts well and will be deprived of their favourite shows, such as Desert Island Discs and Gardeners' Question Time. Mr Hall said that engineers would ensure that 98 per cent of the country could receive the FM service by the time the split was made. Research into reactions of listeners during the Gulf war showed that more people had difficulty receiving long wave than FM. Many car radios have no long wave reception.

Mr Hall said the lack of a specialised station meant delays in relaying important news. 'You had to wait for full details of John Major's new Cabinet earlier this year. You had to wait for the flash and details of the changes in interest rates on Black Wednesday. These are the latest in a series of occasions where we have not been first with the news.'

He added: 'People increasingly want their news when it is convenient for them - when they get in from work, when they've picked up the children from school, when they take a break from their work, or finishing a meeting, when they arrive in a hotel. That is the way of the future.'

Among the highlights of the new service would be:

Live parliamentary debates and major press conferences;

Three half-hour business programmes a day;

The foreign affairs programme From Our Own Correspondent, expanded to include reports on home affairs;

Guides to topical issues such as the Maastricht treaty;

A special programme on Europe every week;

Three times as many documentaries as Radio 4 has now;

More sports and arts news;

The best reports from the World Service.

The main news and current affairs programmes on Radio 4, such as Today and The World Tonight, would be broadcast simultaneously on both channels.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Personal Tax Senior

£28000 - £37000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Customer and Markets Development Executive

£22000 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company's mission is to ma...

Recruitment Genius: Guest Services Assistant

£13832 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This 5 star leisure destination on the w...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Account Manager

£20000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Account Manager is requ...

Day In a Page

A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory