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TalkSport and RadioCentre respond to BBC Trust proposals for BBC 5 Live


By Stephen Lepitak, -

January 30, 2012 | 3 min read

TalkSport and RadioCentre have both responded to the BBC Trust’s findings following a review of Radio 5 Live.

The findings have led to the BBC Trust stating that the station should provide more coverage of minority sports, stating that it should offer news and live commentary on at least 20 different sports from around the work each year.

UTV Media, which operates commercial station talkSPORT, urged management at 5 Live to act on the findings from the review that took place following a complaint raised by UTV about the news on the station.

The BBC Trust also highlights a need for ‘greater clarity’ in terms of the station’s commitment to minority sports.

“We welcome the BBC Trust’s findings, and in particular its decisions to strengthen 5 Live’s commitment to 75% news, and to ensure coverage of minority sports,” commented Scott Taunton, managing director of UTV Media (GB).

He continued: “Whilst the Trust has set out a number of important actions, we will need to wait and see whether this has a material impact on 5 Live’s performance and distinctiveness. We will therefore be watching the response of BBC management closely.”

“The BBC Trust’s report also sets out some surprising figures for programme expenditure at 5 Live. This includes the revelation that 5 Live spends more money on sports programming than on news, despite news accounting for over three times more airtime. We welcome the Trust’s recommendation that expenditure should be rebalanced towards news and restate our offer to participate in an appropriate benchmarking study to help BBC management identify efficiency opportunities.”

Meanwhile, RadioCentre claimed that the Trust had missed the opportunity to provide a ‘step change’ for the station.

Andrew Harrison, chief executive of RadioCentre, claimed that while the analysis was ‘worthy’ and ‘thorough’, the recommendations only suggested ‘modest’ changes to the operation.

“5 Live should always be a beacon of excellence in delivering the BBC’s highest editorial priority, to provide the best journalism in the world,” he continued.

“The report highlights several areas, identified by listeners and commercial radio broadcasters, which will enable 5 live to fulfil its public service remit more effectively. We welcome these. Particularly encouraging are measures to prioritise high quality news coverage and feature minority sport more regularly, factors that should help distinguish it from other services. Reducing the future amount of non-news items and Premier League Football coverage on the services are also a step in the right direction.

Nevertheless, at a time of intense public scrutiny on journalistic standards this seems like a missed opportunity for the BBC.”

TalkSPORT RadioCentre BBC Radio

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