The Media in the Press 30.10.09

On the back of yesterday's radio listenership figures, issued by RAJAR, today's press looks at the winners and losers….

Second-year Journalism student, Alex McConnell, of Strathclyde University, takes a look at the media stories making it into the pages of today’s papers….

The Daily Telegraph, Daily Mail, Daily Star and the Guardian have all reported on how BBC Radio 4 has bucked widespread decline by posting its highest listening numbers in over a decade, with a weekly output of 10.22 million listeners. 

The reasons for the success are numerous; Paul Robinson, former BBC radio executive, writing in the Guardian, believes it is the “strength and range of its schedules” (page 9), while other station insiders claim that Radio 4 has benefitted from the recession where there has been a greater public interest in ‘serious news and current affairs coverage’.

The Daily Telegraph claims the success is down to 'grey power' (page 4) with older viewers switching off from programming that is 'youth obsessed' and 'low grade'. Meanwhile, both the Telegraph and Daily Star have reported that BBC Radio 1 presenter, Chris Moyles, has lost nearly 700,000 listeners in three months from his morning breakfast show while his older, Radio 2 rival, Terry Wogan, has extended his ratings lead by 718,000 listeners.

In other radio-related news, while UK-wide programming has been growing strongly, Scottish regional radio listener numbers have dropped, with 125,000 listeners turning off in one year, The Scotsman reports (page 6). The figures for Scottish commercial radio stations have also fallen significantly, with stations such as Clyde 2 down a quarter from last year. The Times have also picked up on this,  calling the decline in figures “profoundly worrying” amid accusations that BBC Radio Scotland has ‘dumbed-down’ (page 22), with Labour MSP, Lord George Foulkes criticising ‘Good Morning Scotland’ for being “trivial and parochial“. In The Scotsman, BBC Radio Scotland's head, Jeff Zycinski, defends the figures, saying the dip reflects the summer absence of the Scottish Premier League football, which the station covers extensively (page 6).

Meanwhile, The Herald (page 3), the Daily Telegraph (page 4) and The Times (page 22) all report BBC plans to axe more than 140 top management posts, after widespread criticism over the sums paid to executives. The move will also see the pay of senior managers and executive directors frozen for four years with the aim of saving two million pounds. The changes are being seen as an attempt to demonstrate prudence to a possible future Conservative Government.

Other media stories:

* Scotland’s first online community TV channel,, is holding X Factor-style auditions to select presenters – The Scotsman (page 13) and The Sun (page 14).

* The world's longest-serving soap actor, Norman Painting, who played The Archers' patriarch, Phil Archer, for 60 years, has died at the age of 85 – The Times (page 4) and The Daily Telegraph (page 1).

* Ofcom, the television watchdog, has received 300 formal complaints about BNP leader, Nick Griffin's appearance on the BBC current affairs programme, Question Time – Daily Star (page 31).