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.

News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
News
news
New Articles
i100
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
life
Arts and Entertainment
musicHow female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
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

Cover Supervisor

£75 - £90 per day + negotiable: Randstad Education Group: Are you a cover supe...

Marketing Manager - Leicestershire - £35,000

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (CIM, B2B, MS Offi...

Marketing Executive (B2B and B2C) - Rugby, Warwickshire

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful organisation wit...

SEN Coordinator + Teacher (SENCO)

£1 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Job Purpose To work closely with the he...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
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