BBC Radio 4
BBC Radio 4 is a radio station owned and operated by the British Broadcasting Corporation that broadcasts a wide variety of spoken-word programmes including news, comedy and history. It replaced the BBC Home Service in 1967; the station controller is Gwyneth Williams, the station is part of BBC Radio and the BBC Radio department. The station is broadcast from the BBC's headquarters at London. On 21 January 2019 Williams announced. There are no details of when, it is the second most popular domestic radio station in the UK, broadcast throughout the UK, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands on FM, LW and DAB, can be received in eastern and south eastern counties of Ireland, the north of France and Northern Europe. It is available through Freeview, Virgin Media and on the Internet, its sister station, BBC Radio 4 Extra, complements the main channel by broadcasting repeats from the Radio 4 archive, extended versions of Radio 4 programmes and supplements to series such as The Archers and Desert Island Discs.
It is notable for its news bulletins and programmes such as Today and The World at One, heralded on air by the Greenwich Time Signal "pips" or the chimes of Big Ben. Radio 4 broadcasts the Shipping Forecast, which reached 150 years old in August 2017; the pips are only accurate on FM, LW, MW as there is a delay on DAB and digital radio of 3 to 5 seconds longer online. BBC Radio 4 is the second most popular British domestic radio station by total hours, after Radio 2 – and the most popular in London and the South of England, it recorded its highest audience, of 11 million listeners, in May 2011 and was "UK Radio Station of the Year" at the 2003, 2004 and 2008 Sony Radio Academy Awards. It won a Peabody Award in 2002 for File On 4: Export Controls. Costing £71.4 million, it is the BBC's most expensive national radio network and is considered by many to be its flagship. There is no comparable British commercial network: Channel 4 abandoned plans to launch its own speech-based digital radio station in October 2008 as part of a £100m cost cutting review.
In 2010 Gwyneth Williams replaced Mark Damazer as Radio 4 controller. Damazer became Master of Oxford. Music and sport are the only fields that fall outside the station's remit, it broadcasts occasional concerts, documentaries related to various forms of both popular and classical music, the long-running music-based Desert Island Discs. Prior to the creation of BBC Radio 5 it broadcast sports-based features, notably Sport on Four, since the creation of BBC Radio 5 Live has become the home of ball-by-ball commentaries of most Test cricket matches played by England, broadcast on long wave; as a result, for around 70 days a year listeners have to rely on FM broadcasts or DAB for mainstream Radio 4 broadcasts – the number relying on long wave is now a small minority. The cricket broadcasts take precedence over on-the-hour news bulletins, but not the Shipping Forecast, carried since its move to long wave in 1978 because that can be received at sea; the station is the UK's national broadcaster in times of national emergency such as war, due to the wide coverage of the Droitwich signal: if all other radio stations were forced to close, it would carry on broadcasting.
It has been claimed that the commanders of nuclear-armed submarines believing that Britain had suffered nuclear attack were required to check if they could still receive Radio 4 on 198 long wave, if they could not they would open sealed orders that might authorise a retaliatory strike. As well as news and drama, the station has a strong reputation for comedy, including experimental and alternative comedy, many successful comedians and comedy shows first appearing on the station. Following the six o'clock news from Monday to Friday, the station broadcasts a thirty-minute comedy programme; the station is available on FM in parts of Ireland and the north of France. Freesat and Virgin have a separate channel which broadcasts the Radio 4 LW output in mono, in addition to the FM output; the BBC Home Service was the predecessor of Radio 4 and broadcast between 1939 and 1967. It had regional variations and was broadcast on medium wave with a network of VHF FM transmitters being added from 1955. Radio 4 replaced it on 30 September 1967, when the BBC renamed many of its domestic radio stations, in response to the challenge of offshore radio.
It moved to long wave in November 1978, taking over the 200 kHz frequency held by Radio 2, moved to 198 kHz as a result of international agreements aimed at avoiding interference and to mark the station becoming a national service for the first time the station became known as Radio 4 UK, a title that remained until mid 1984. For a time during the 1970s Radio 4 carried regional news bulletins Monday to Saturday; these were broadcast twice at breakfast, at lunchtime and an evening bulletin was aired at 5.55pm. There were programme variations for the parts of England not served by BBC Local Radio stations; these included Roundabout East Anglia, a VHF opt-out of the Today programme broadcast from BBC East's studios in Norwich each weekday from 6.45 am to 8.45 am. Roundabout East Anglia came to an end in mid-1980, when local radio services were introduced to East Anglia with the launch of BBC Radio Norfolk. All regional news bulletins broadcast
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters are at Broadcasting House in Westminster, it is the world's oldest national broadcasting organisation and the largest broadcaster in the world by number of employees, it employs over 20,950 staff in total. The total number of staff is 35,402 when part-time and fixed-contract staff are included; the BBC is established under a Royal Charter and operates under its Agreement with the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture and Sport. Its work is funded principally by an annual television licence fee, charged to all British households and organisations using any type of equipment to receive or record live television broadcasts and iPlayer catch-up; the fee is set by the British Government, agreed by Parliament, used to fund the BBC's radio, TV, online services covering the nations and regions of the UK. Since 1 April 2014, it has funded the BBC World Service, which broadcasts in 28 languages and provides comprehensive TV, online services in Arabic and Persian.
Around a quarter of BBC revenues come from its commercial arm BBC Studios Ltd, which sells BBC programmes and services internationally and distributes the BBC's international 24-hour English-language news services BBC World News, from BBC.com, provided by BBC Global News Ltd. From its inception, through the Second World War, to the 21st century, the BBC has played a prominent role in British culture, it is known colloquially as "The Beeb", "Auntie", or a combination of both. Britain's first live public broadcast from the Marconi factory in Chelmsford took place in June 1920, it was sponsored by the Daily Mail's Lord Northcliffe and featured the famous Australian soprano Dame Nellie Melba. The Melba broadcast caught the people's imagination and marked a turning point in the British public's attitude to radio. However, this public enthusiasm was not shared in official circles where such broadcasts were held to interfere with important military and civil communications. By late 1920, pressure from these quarters and uneasiness among the staff of the licensing authority, the General Post Office, was sufficient to lead to a ban on further Chelmsford broadcasts.
But by 1922, the GPO had received nearly 100 broadcast licence requests and moved to rescind its ban in the wake of a petition by 63 wireless societies with over 3,000 members. Anxious to avoid the same chaotic expansion experienced in the United States, the GPO proposed that it would issue a single broadcasting licence to a company jointly owned by a consortium of leading wireless receiver manufactures, to be known as the British Broadcasting Company Ltd. John Reith, a Scottish Calvinist, was appointed its General Manager in December 1922 a few weeks after the company made its first official broadcast; the company was to be financed by a royalty on the sale of BBC wireless receiving sets from approved domestic manufacturers. To this day, the BBC aims to follow the Reithian directive to "inform and entertain"; the financial arrangements soon proved inadequate. Set sales were disappointing as amateurs made their own receivers and listeners bought rival unlicensed sets. By mid-1923, discussions between the GPO and the BBC had become deadlocked and the Postmaster-General commissioned a review of broadcasting by the Sykes Committee.
The Committee recommended a short term reorganisation of licence fees with improved enforcement in order to address the BBC's immediate financial distress, an increased share of the licence revenue split between it and the GPO. This was to be followed by a simple 10 shillings licence fee with no royalty once the wireless manufactures protection expired; the BBC's broadcasting monopoly was made explicit for the duration of its current broadcast licence, as was the prohibition on advertising. The BBC was banned from presenting news bulletins before 19.00 and was required to source all news from external wire services. Mid-1925 found the future of broadcasting under further consideration, this time by the Crawford committee. By now, the BBC, under Reith's leadership, had forged a consensus favouring a continuation of the unified broadcasting service, but more money was still required to finance rapid expansion. Wireless manufacturers were anxious to exit the loss making consortium with Reith keen that the BBC be seen as a public service rather than a commercial enterprise.
The recommendations of the Crawford Committee were published in March the following year and were still under consideration by the GPO when the 1926 general strike broke out in May. The strike temporarily interrupted newspaper production, with restrictions on news bulletins waived, the BBC became the primary source of news for the duration of the crisis; the crisis placed the BBC in a delicate position. On one hand Reith was acutely aware that the Government might exercise its right to commandeer the BBC at any time as a mouthpiece of the Government if the BBC were to step out of line, but on the other he was anxious to maintain public trust by appearing to be acting independently; the Government was divided on how to handle the BBC but ended up trusting Reith, whose opposition to the strike mirrored the PM's own. Thus the BBC was granted sufficient leeway to pursue the Government's objectives in a manner of its own choosing; the resulting coverage of both striker and government viewpoints impressed millions of listeners who were unaware that the PM had broadcast to the nation from Reith's home, using one of Reith's sound bites inserted at the last moment