Monday, November 02, 2009

Radio 4 and the 50-plus

The BBC’s Radio 4 channel added more than 750,000 listeners in the space of a year, according to Rajar.

Radio 4 is now listened to by 10.22 million people every week. The Today programme helped bolster the numbers as the recession prompted a rise in demand for in depth news. It attracted 6.6 million listeners, a record 16.8 per cent share of the audience.

Woman's Hour and You and Yours also posted record results.

According to "industry commentators" the popularity of the station, which has an average audience age of 55, has benefited from older audiences moving away from “youth obsessed” television.

The Head of Public Policy at Age Concern and Help the Aged said: “TV has become out of touch with the tastes of an ageing audience, reflecting our society’s obsession with youth.” He went on to say, “As shown by separate reports from Ofcom and our charity, older viewers are being increasingly put off by programming that not only doesn’t meet their tastes but is also reluctant to show grey hair on screen.”

I think much of the commentary mixes up two things. One thing is the BBC’s fear of having too many oldies on the screen and so it seems to have this policy of despatching older presenters to wherever old presenters go when they give up their earphones. To be honest I don’t think that really concerns that many older people.

The other factor is that a lot of BBC TV does assume its viewers have the intellect of a slug. This, unfortunately, might be right about a lot of its viewers, but not all.

Radio 4, for most of time, has moderately adult (not in the sexual manner) programming so I guess it really is the last resort if you are in need of a little intellectual substance. Just think if you could persuade the BBC to take advertising - a readymade channel to the bright 50-plus. Dick Stroud

1 comment:

Chris Gosling said...

Glad there's at least one Tv programme aimed at older viewers, shown 7 days a week on satellite, and with a new programme every week . . if only I could remember what it's called!