I have got to admit I didn’t really start listening to Radio 4 until I had left university and started to work there. I was amazed by the range of programmes on offer, the thought provoking discussions, meeting people who ran the country, the beautifully crafted features and more.
I loved making features, it was a time when we still used razor blades and tape to cut and edit! Programmes like The Learning Curve, In Living Colour, Offspring etc no longer exist. These were some of the programmes I worked on, when Radio 4 provided a broader spectrum of issues and stories to be aired.
Recently it was announced Gwyneth Williams, the head of Radio 4 and 4 Extra, is to step down. Radio 4 has changed and while some us miss the old programmes I salute her in what she’s managed to do with the station.
Despite cuts, there’s little evidence of dumbing down. Formats are simplier, there are fewer crafted features but there is more impactful straight forward storytelling, there is more science and comedy. It’s rather wonderful to be able to have something to laugh at.
I hope the next controller of Radio 4 and of 4 Extra will be bolder. To take into account the full diversity of the audience it serves and, a personal of plea of mine, to bring back some texture to radio.