Home      Discussion      Topics      Dictionary      Almanac
Signup       Login
BBC Radio 4

BBC Radio 4

Overview
BBC Radio 4 is a British domestic radio station, operated and owned by the BBC
BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

, that broadcasts a wide variety of spoken-word programmes, including news
News
News is the communication of selected information on current events which is presented by print, broadcast, Internet, or word of mouth to a third party or mass audience.- Etymology :...

, drama
Drama
Drama is the specific mode of fiction represented in performance. The term comes from a Greek word meaning "action" , which is derived from "to do","to act" . The enactment of drama in theatre, performed by actors on a stage before an audience, presupposes collaborative modes of production and a...

, comedy
Comedy
Comedy , as a popular meaning, is any humorous discourse or work generally intended to amuse by creating laughter, especially in television, film, and stand-up comedy. This must be carefully distinguished from its academic definition, namely the comic theatre, whose Western origins are found in...

, science
Science
Science is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe...

 and history
History
History is the discovery, collection, organization, and presentation of information about past events. History can also mean the period of time after writing was invented. Scholars who write about history are called historians...

. It replaced the BBC Home Service
BBC Home Service
The BBC Home Service was a British national radio station which broadcast from 1939 until 1967.-Development:Between the 1920s and the outbreak of The Second World War, the BBC had developed two nationwide radio services, the BBC National Programme and the BBC Regional Programme...

 in 1967. The station controller is currently Gwyneth Williams
Gwyneth Williams
Gwyneth Williams is the controller of BBC Radio 4. She grew up in South Africa and attended St Hugh's College, Oxford.-Earlier career:...

, and the station is part of BBC Radio
BBC Radio
BBC Radio is a service of the British Broadcasting Corporation which has operated in the United Kingdom under the terms of a Royal Charter since 1927. For a history of BBC radio prior to 1927 see British Broadcasting Company...

 and the BBC Audio & Music department. The station is broadcast from the BBC's headquarters at Broadcasting House
Broadcasting House
Broadcasting House is the headquarters and registered office of the BBC in Portland Place and Langham Place, London.The building includes the BBC Radio Theatre from where music and speech programmes are recorded in front of a studio audience...

, London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

.

A sister station, BBC Radio 4 Extra, complements Radio 4 by broadcasting archive programming alongside extended versions of programmes, or supplementary programmes to well known Radio 4 programmes, such as The Archers
The Archers
The Archers is a long-running British soap opera broadcast on the BBC's main spoken-word channel, Radio 4. It was originally billed as "an everyday story of country folk", but is now described on its Radio 4 web site as "contemporary drama in a rural setting"...

 and Desert Island Discs
Desert Island Discs
Desert Island Discs is a BBC Radio 4 programme first broadcast on 29 January 1942. It is the second longest-running radio programme , and is the longest-running factual programme in the history of radio...

.
Discussion
Ask a question about 'BBC Radio 4'
Start a new discussion about 'BBC Radio 4'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Unanswered Questions
Encyclopedia
BBC Radio 4 is a British domestic radio station, operated and owned by the BBC
BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

, that broadcasts a wide variety of spoken-word programmes, including news
News
News is the communication of selected information on current events which is presented by print, broadcast, Internet, or word of mouth to a third party or mass audience.- Etymology :...

, drama
Drama
Drama is the specific mode of fiction represented in performance. The term comes from a Greek word meaning "action" , which is derived from "to do","to act" . The enactment of drama in theatre, performed by actors on a stage before an audience, presupposes collaborative modes of production and a...

, comedy
Comedy
Comedy , as a popular meaning, is any humorous discourse or work generally intended to amuse by creating laughter, especially in television, film, and stand-up comedy. This must be carefully distinguished from its academic definition, namely the comic theatre, whose Western origins are found in...

, science
Science
Science is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe...

 and history
History
History is the discovery, collection, organization, and presentation of information about past events. History can also mean the period of time after writing was invented. Scholars who write about history are called historians...

. It replaced the BBC Home Service
BBC Home Service
The BBC Home Service was a British national radio station which broadcast from 1939 until 1967.-Development:Between the 1920s and the outbreak of The Second World War, the BBC had developed two nationwide radio services, the BBC National Programme and the BBC Regional Programme...

 in 1967. The station controller is currently Gwyneth Williams
Gwyneth Williams
Gwyneth Williams is the controller of BBC Radio 4. She grew up in South Africa and attended St Hugh's College, Oxford.-Earlier career:...

, and the station is part of BBC Radio
BBC Radio
BBC Radio is a service of the British Broadcasting Corporation which has operated in the United Kingdom under the terms of a Royal Charter since 1927. For a history of BBC radio prior to 1927 see British Broadcasting Company...

 and the BBC Audio & Music department. The station is broadcast from the BBC's headquarters at Broadcasting House
Broadcasting House
Broadcasting House is the headquarters and registered office of the BBC in Portland Place and Langham Place, London.The building includes the BBC Radio Theatre from where music and speech programmes are recorded in front of a studio audience...

, London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

.

A sister station, BBC Radio 4 Extra, complements Radio 4 by broadcasting archive programming alongside extended versions of programmes, or supplementary programmes to well known Radio 4 programmes, such as The Archers
The Archers
The Archers is a long-running British soap opera broadcast on the BBC's main spoken-word channel, Radio 4. It was originally billed as "an everyday story of country folk", but is now described on its Radio 4 web site as "contemporary drama in a rural setting"...

 and Desert Island Discs
Desert Island Discs
Desert Island Discs is a BBC Radio 4 programme first broadcast on 29 January 1942. It is the second longest-running radio programme , and is the longest-running factual programme in the history of radio...

. BBC Radio 4 is the second most popular domestic radio station in the UK, and is broadcast throughout the United Kingdom on FM, LW and DAB, and can be received in the north of France and Northern Europe as well. In addition, the station is also available through Sky and Virgin Media
Virgin Media
Virgin Media Inc. is a company which provides fixed and mobile telephone, television and broadband internet services to businesses and consumers in the United Kingdom...

, and on the internet.

BBC Radio 4 is notable for its consistent news bulletins and programmes such as Today
Today programme
Today is BBC Radio 4's long-running early morning news and current affairs programme, now broadcast from 6.00 am to 9.00 am Monday to Friday, and 7.00 am to 9.00 am on Saturdays. It is also the most popular programme on Radio 4 and one of the BBC's most popular programmes across its radio networks...

, which are heralded on air by the BBC Pips or the chimes of Big Ben.

Outline


Radio 4 is the second most popular British domestic radio station
Radio station
Radio broadcasting is a one-way wireless transmission over radio waves intended to reach a wide audience. Stations can be linked in radio networks to broadcast a common radio format, either in broadcast syndication or simulcast or both...

, after Radio 2
BBC Radio 2
BBC Radio 2 is one of the BBC's national radio stations and the most popular station in the United Kingdom. Much of its daytime playlist-based programming is best described as Adult Contemporary or AOR, although the station is also noted for its specialist broadcasting of other musical genres...

 – and the most popular in London and the south of England. The station recorded its highest ever audience of 11 million listeners in May 2011 and was named "UK Radio Station of the Year" at the 2003, 2004 and 2008 Sony Radio Academy Awards
Sony Radio Academy Awards
The Sony Radio Academy Awards , started in 1983, are some of the most prestigious awards in the British radio industry. They are run by ZAFER Associates in association with the Radio Academy...

. Costing £71.4 million (2005/6), it is the BBC's most expensive national radio network and is considered by many to be the corporation's flagship. There is currently no comparable British commercial network. This situation is unlikely to change in the near future, as Channel 4
Channel 4
Channel 4 is a British public-service television broadcaster which began working on 2 November 1982. Although largely commercially self-funded, it is ultimately publicly owned; originally a subsidiary of the Independent Broadcasting Authority , the station is now owned and operated by the Channel...

 abandoned plans to launch its own speech-based digital radio station in October 2008 as part of a £100m cost cutting review.

The controller of Radio 4 is Gwyneth Williams
Gwyneth Williams
Gwyneth Williams is the controller of BBC Radio 4. She grew up in South Africa and attended St Hugh's College, Oxford.-Earlier career:...

. The previous controller was Mark Damazer
Mark Damazer
Mark Damazer CBE is the Master of St Peter's College, Oxford, and a former controller of BBC Radio 4 and BBC Radio 7 in the United Kingdom.He is the son of a Polish-Jewish delicatessen owner in Willesden in North London....

, who is now Master of St Peter's College, Oxford
St Peter's College, Oxford
St Peter's College is one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom, located in New Inn Hall Street. It occupies the site of two of the University's oldest Inns, or medieval hostels - Bishop Trellick's, later New Inn Hall, and Rose Hall - both of which were...

.

Music
Music
Music is an art form whose medium is sound and silence. Its common elements are pitch , rhythm , dynamics, and the sonic qualities of timbre and texture...

 and sport
Sport
A Sport is all forms of physical activity which, through casual or organised participation, aim to use, maintain or improve physical fitness and provide entertainment to participants. Sport may be competitive, where a winner or winners can be identified by objective means, and may require a degree...

 are the only fields that largely fall outside the station's remit. However the channel does broadcast occasional concerts, documentaries related to various forms of both popular
Popular music
Popular music belongs to any of a number of musical genres "having wide appeal" and is typically distributed to large audiences through the music industry. It stands in contrast to both art music and traditional music, which are typically disseminated academically or orally to smaller, local...

 and classical music
Classical music
Classical music is the art music produced in, or rooted in, the traditions of Western liturgical and secular music, encompassing a broad period from roughly the 11th century to present times...

, as well as the long-running music-based programme Desert Island Discs
Desert Island Discs
Desert Island Discs is a BBC Radio 4 programme first broadcast on 29 January 1942. It is the second longest-running radio programme , and is the longest-running factual programme in the history of radio...

. In addition, prior to the creation of BBC Radio 5
BBC Radio 5
BBC Radio 5 may refer to the following United Kingdom radio stations:* BBC Radio 5 , on air from 1990 to 1994.* BBC Radio 5 Live, the current station, which replaced BBC Radio 5 in 1994....

, the station broadcast several sports-based features, most notably Sport on Four
Sport on Four
Sport on Four was a long running sports programme aired on BBC Radio 4 between 1977 and 1998 on Saturday mornings. It featured many well known BBC sports journalists and was presented for over 10 years by Cliff Morgan. Other presenters/ reporters on the programme included Bryon Butler. Its theme...

 and since the creation of BBC Radio 5 Live
BBC Radio 5 Live
BBC Radio 5 Live is the BBC's national radio service that specialises in live BBC News, phone-ins, and sports commentaries...

 has become the home of ball-by-ball commentaries
Test Match Special
Test Match Special is a British radio programme covering professional cricket, broadcast on BBC Radio 4 , Five Live Sports Extra and the internet to the United Kingdom and the rest of the world...

 of most test cricket
Test cricket
Test cricket is the longest form of the sport of cricket. Test matches are played between national representative teams with "Test status", as determined by the International Cricket Council , with four innings played between two teams of 11 players over a period of up to a maximum five days...

 matches played by England, which are broadcast on long wave. As a result, for around 70 days a year, listeners have to rely on FM broadcasts or increasingly DAB for mainstream Radio 4 broadcasts. However the number of those relying solely on long wave is now a small minority.

The cricket broadcasts even take precedence over on the hour news bulletins, but not the Shipping Forecast
Shipping Forecast
The Shipping Forecast is a four-times-daily BBC Radio broadcast of weather reports and forecasts for the seas around the coasts of the British Isles. It is produced by the Met Office and broadcast by BBC Radio 4 on behalf of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency. The forecasts sent over the Navtex...

. Radio 4 has carried these regular weather forecasts for shipping and gale warnings since its move to the Long Wave frequency in 1978 because the long-wave service can be received clearly at sea around the coasts of Britain
Great Britain
Great Britain or Britain is an island situated to the northwest of Continental Europe. It is the ninth largest island in the world, and the largest European island, as well as the largest of the British Isles...

 and Ireland. The station has also been designated as the UK's national broadcaster in times of national emergency such as a war: if all other radio stations were forced to close, Radio 4 would still carry on broadcasting. It has been claimed that Radio 4 had an additional role during the Cold War: the commanders of nuclear-armed submarines believing that Britain had suffered nuclear attack were required to check if they could still receive Radio 4, and if they could not would open sealed orders which might authorize a retaliatory strike
Letters of last resort
The letters of last resort are four identically-worded, hand written letters written by the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom to the four captains of the four British ballistic missile submarines...

.

As well as news and drama, and despite a reputation for being middle class and London centric, Radio 4 also has a strong reputation for comedy
Comedy
Comedy , as a popular meaning, is any humorous discourse or work generally intended to amuse by creating laughter, especially in television, film, and stand-up comedy. This must be carefully distinguished from its academic definition, namely the comic theatre, whose Western origins are found in...

, including experimental and alternative comedy
Alternative comedy
Alternative comedy is a term that originated in the 1980s for a style of comedy that makes a conscious break with the mainstream comedic style of an era, and typically avoids relying on a standardised structure of a sequence of jokes with punch lines. Patton Oswalt defines it as "comedy where the...

, many successful comedians and comedy shows first appearing on the station.

The station is available on FM
FM broadcasting
FM broadcasting is a broadcasting technology pioneered by Edwin Howard Armstrong which uses frequency modulation to provide high-fidelity sound over broadcast radio. The term "FM band" describes the "frequency band in which FM is used for broadcasting"...

 (in most of Great Britain, parts of Ireland and the North of France), LW
Longwave
In radio, longwave refers to parts of radio spectrum with relatively long wavelengths. The term is a historic one dating from the early 20th century, when the radio spectrum was considered to consist of long, medium and short wavelengths...

 (throughout the United Kingdom and in parts of Northern Europe, and the Atlantic north of the Azores
Azores
The Archipelago of the Azores is composed of nine volcanic islands situated in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean, and is located about west from Lisbon and about east from the east coast of North America. The islands, and their economic exclusion zone, form the Autonomous Region of the...

 to about 20 degrees west), MW (in some areas), DAB
Digital audio broadcasting
Digital Audio Broadcasting is a digital radio technology for broadcasting radio stations, used in several countries, particularly in Europe. As of 2006, approximately 1,000 stations worldwide broadcast in the DAB format....

, Digital TV (including Freeview, Freesat
Freesat
Freesat is a free-to-air digital satellite television joint venture between the BBC and ITV plc, serving the United Kingdom. The service was formed as a memorandum in 2007 and has been marketed since 6 May 2008...

, Sky and Virgin Media
Virgin Media
Virgin Media Inc. is a company which provides fixed and mobile telephone, television and broadband internet services to businesses and consumers in the United Kingdom...

), and on the Internet
Internet
The Internet is a global system of interconnected computer networks that use the standard Internet protocol suite to serve billions of users worldwide...

.

History



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 onwards. Radio 4 replaced the Home Service on 30 September 1967, when the BBC
BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

 renamed many of its domestic radio stations, in response to the challenge of offshore radio
Offshore radio
Offshore radio is radio broadcasting from ships or fixed maritime structures, usually in international waters. The claimed first wireless broadcast of music and speech for the purpose of entertainment was transmitted from a Royal Naval craft, the HMS Andromeda, in 1907...

. It moved to long wave in 1978, taking over the 200 kHz frequency previously held by Radio 2
BBC Radio 2
BBC Radio 2 is one of the BBC's national radio stations and the most popular station in the United Kingdom. Much of its daytime playlist-based programming is best described as Adult Contemporary or AOR, although the station is also noted for its specialist broadcasting of other musical genres...

, and later moved to 198 kHz as a result of international agreements aimed at avoiding interference.

Between 17 January 1991 and 2 March 1991, the FM broadcasts were replaced by a continuous news service devoted to the Gulf War
Gulf War
The Persian Gulf War , commonly referred to as simply the Gulf War, was a war waged by a U.N.-authorized coalition force from 34 nations led by the United States, against Iraq in response to Iraq's invasion and annexation of Kuwait.The war is also known under other names, such as the First Gulf...

, nicknamed "Scud FM".

Radio 4 is part of the Royal Navy
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

's system of Last Resort Letters
Letters of last resort
The letters of last resort are four identically-worded, hand written letters written by the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom to the four captains of the four British ballistic missile submarines...

. In the event of a suspected catastrophic attack on Great Britain, submarine
Vanguard class submarine
The Vanguard class are the Royal Navy's current nuclear ballistic missile submarines , each armed with up to 16 Trident II Submarine-launched ballistic missiles...

 commanders, in addition to carrying out other checks, would check for a broadcast signal from Radio 4 to verify annihilation of the homeland.

Daily schedule


The night-time feed from the BBC World Service
BBC World Service
The BBC World Service is the world's largest international broadcaster, broadcasting in 27 languages to many parts of the world via analogue and digital shortwave, internet streaming and podcasting, satellite, FM and MW relays...

 ends at 05:20, with a brief introduction from the early shift continuity announcer. The five-minute Radio 4 UK Theme
Radio 4 UK Theme
The BBC Radio 4 UK Theme is an orchestral arrangement of traditional British airs composed by Fritz Spiegl which was played every morning on BBC Radio 4 between 23 November 1978 and 23 April 2006....

(composed by Fritz Spiegl
Fritz Spiegl
Fritz Spiegl was born at Zurndorf, Austria, the son of an agricultural merchant and his Jewish wife. He became a musician, journalist, broadcaster, humorist and collector who lived and worked in England from 1939....

) followed this for 28 years until April 2006. It was replaced by an extension to the early news bulletin, despite some public opposition and a campaign to save it. After a continuity link and programme trail there is a shipping forecast
Shipping Forecast
The Shipping Forecast is a four-times-daily BBC Radio broadcast of weather reports and forecasts for the seas around the coasts of the British Isles. It is produced by the Met Office and broadcast by BBC Radio 4 on behalf of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency. The forecasts sent over the Navtex...

, weather reports
Weather forecasting
Weather forecasting is the application of science and technology to predict the state of the atmosphere for a given location. Human beings have attempted to predict the weather informally for millennia, and formally since the nineteenth century...

 from coastal stations for 04:00GMT and the inshore waters forecasts, followed at 05:30 by a news bulletin, a review of British and international newspapers, and a business
Business
A business is an organization engaged in the trade of goods, services, or both to consumers. Businesses are predominant in capitalist economies, where most of them are privately owned and administered to earn profit to increase the wealth of their owners. Businesses may also be not-for-profit...

 report. On weekdays, Farming Today
Farming Today
-Transmission:It is broadcast each week day between 5.45 and 6.00 a.m. and a longer programme is broadcast on Saturdays from 06.35 – 7.00 a.m. Around one million people listen to the programme...

, which deals with news of relevance to the agricultural sector, is followed by the Today programme
Today programme
Today is BBC Radio 4's long-running early morning news and current affairs programme, now broadcast from 6.00 am to 9.00 am Monday to Friday, and 7.00 am to 9.00 am on Saturdays. It is also the most popular programme on Radio 4 and one of the BBC's most popular programmes across its radio networks...

 from 06:00 to 09:00.

After the Today programme, the schedule is then determined by the day of the week, though on every weekday there are 'fixtures': Woman's Hour
Woman's Hour
Woman's Hour is a radio magazine programme broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in the United Kingdom.-History:Created by Norman Collins and originally presented by Alan Ivimey the programme was first broadcast on 7 October 1946 on the BBC's Light Programme . It was transferred to its current home in 1973...

at 10:00, You and Yours
You and Yours
You and Yours is a British radio consumer affairs programme, broadcast on BBC Radio 4.-History:It began broadcasting in October 1970, its first presenter was Joan York. In the great rescheduling of April 1998 it was increased from a 25 minute programme to 55 minutes. In the 1980s it briefly ran...

at 12:00, The World at One
The World At One
The World at One, or WATO for short, is BBC Radio 4's long-running lunchtime news and current affairs programme, which is broadcast from 1pm to 1:30pm from Monday to Friday. The programme describes itself as "Britain's leading political programme. With a reputation for rigorous and original...

and a repeat of the previous day's The Archers
The Archers
The Archers is a long-running British soap opera broadcast on the BBC's main spoken-word channel, Radio 4. It was originally billed as "an everyday story of country folk", but is now described on its Radio 4 web site as "contemporary drama in a rural setting"...

at 2:00 pm, followed by the Afternoon Play
Afternoon Play
The Afternoon Play is a long-running drama programming strand, broadcast every weekday at 2.15pm on BBC Radio 4. Each play lasts for 45 minutes, and roughly 190 new Afternoon Plays are broadcast each year....

 at 2.15 pm. At 5:00 pm another current affairs programme, PM, is broadcast. At 6:30 pm there is a regular comedy 'slot', followed by The Archers. At weekends the schedule is different, but also has its 'fixtures' at various times.

On or after the hour, a news bulletin is broadcast—this is sometimes a two-minute summary, a longer piece as part of a current affairs programme, or a 30-minute broadcast on weekdays at 18:00 and midnight. At 12:00, FM has a four-minute bulletin while long wave
Longwave
In radio, longwave refers to parts of radio spectrum with relatively long wavelengths. The term is a historic one dating from the early 20th century, when the radio spectrum was considered to consist of long, medium and short wavelengths...

 has the headline
Headline
The headline is the text at the top of a newspaper article, indicating the nature of the article below it.It is sometimes termed a news hed, a deliberate misspelling that dates from production flow during hot type days, to notify the composing room that a written note from an editor concerned a...

s and then the Shipping Forecast
Shipping Forecast
The Shipping Forecast is a four-times-daily BBC Radio broadcast of weather reports and forecasts for the seas around the coasts of the British Isles. It is produced by the Met Office and broadcast by BBC Radio 4 on behalf of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency. The forecasts sent over the Navtex...

; for the same reason, long wave leaves PM on weekdays at 17:54.

There is a news programme or bulletin (depending on the day) at 22:00. The midnight news is followed on weekdays by a repeat of Book of the Week
Book of the Week
Book of the Week is a BBC Radio 4 series broadcast daily on week days. Each week the selected book, always a non-fiction work, is read in five episodes; each fifteen-minute episode is broadcast in the morning and repeated overnight . The Act of Worship replaces the morning broadcast on...

. The tune Sailing By
Sailing By
Sailing By is a short piece of light music composed by Ronald Binge in 1963, which is used before the late Shipping Forecast on BBC Radio 4...

is played until 00:48, when the late shipping forecast is broadcast. Timing is said to be difficult as the Sailing By theme must be started at a set time and faded in as the last programme ends. Radio 4 finishes with the national anthem, God Save the Queen
God Save the Queen
"God Save the Queen" is an anthem used in a number of Commonwealth realms and British Crown Dependencies. The words of the song, like its title, are adapted to the gender of the current monarch, with "King" replacing "Queen", "he" replacing "she", and so forth, when a king reigns...

, and the World Service takes over from 01:00 until 05:20.

Timing is considered sacrosanct on the channel. Running over the hour except in special circumstances or occasional scheduled instance is unheard of, and even interrupting the Greenwich Time Signal on the hour (known as 'crashing the pips') is frowned upon.

An online schedule page lists the running order of programmes.

Production


Many Radio 4 programmes are pre-recorded. Programmes transmitted live include daily programmes such as Today
Today programme
Today is BBC Radio 4's long-running early morning news and current affairs programme, now broadcast from 6.00 am to 9.00 am Monday to Friday, and 7.00 am to 9.00 am on Saturdays. It is also the most popular programme on Radio 4 and one of the BBC's most popular programmes across its radio networks...

, magazine programme Woman's Hour
Woman's Hour
Woman's Hour is a radio magazine programme broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in the United Kingdom.-History:Created by Norman Collins and originally presented by Alan Ivimey the programme was first broadcast on 7 October 1946 on the BBC's Light Programme . It was transferred to its current home in 1973...

, consumer affairs programme You and Yours
You and Yours
You and Yours is a British radio consumer affairs programme, broadcast on BBC Radio 4.-History:It began broadcasting in October 1970, its first presenter was Joan York. In the great rescheduling of April 1998 it was increased from a 25 minute programme to 55 minutes. In the 1980s it briefly ran...

, and (often) the music, film, books, arts and culture programme Front Row
Front Row (radio)
Front Row is a radio programme broadcast on BBC Radio 4. The BBC describes the programme as a "live magazine programme on the world of arts, literature, film, media and music." It is broadcast each week day between 7.15 and 7.45 and has a of highlights available for download. Shows usually include...

. Continuity
Continuity (broadcasting)
'Continuity' or 'presentation' is a term used in broadcasting, especially in the United Kingdom , to refer to announcements, messages and graphics played by the broadcaster between specific programmes...

 is generally managed from BBC Broadcasting House whilst news bulletins, including the hourly summaries and longer programmes such as the Six O'Clock News and Midnight News, and news programmes such as Today, The World at One and PM come from the BBC Television Centre
BBC Television Centre
BBC Television Centre at White City in West London is the headquarters of BBC Television. Officially opened on 29 June 1960, it remains one of the largest to this day; having featured over the years as backdrop to many BBC programmes, it is one of the most readily recognisable such facilities...

 in White City
White City, London
White City is a district in the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, to the north of Shepherd's Bush. Today, White City is home to the BBC Television Centre and BBC White City, and Loftus Road stadium, the home of football club Queens Park Rangers FC....

. They were moved there in 1998 when the News Centre was opened to house both radio and TV news. News returned to Broadcasting House in 2008.

The Time Signal
Greenwich Time Signal
The Greenwich Time Signal , popularly known as the pips, is a series of six short tones broadcast at one-second intervals by many BBC Radio stations to mark the precise start of each hour...

, known as 'the pips', is broadcast every hour to herald the news bulletin, except at midnight and 6 pm, where the chimes of Big Ben are played instead.

Programmes


Radio 4 is distinguished by its long-running programmes, many of which have been broadcast for over 40 years.

Most programmes are available for a week after broadcast as streaming audio from Radio 4's listen again page and via BBC iPlayer
BBC iPlayer
BBC iPlayer, commonly shortened to iPlayer, is an internet television and radio service, developed by the BBC to extend its former RealPlayer-based and other streamed video clip content to include whole TV shows....

. A selection of programmes is also available as podcasts or downloadable audio files. Many comedy and drama programmes from the Radio 4 archives are rebroadcast on BBC Radio 4 Extra (formerly BBC Radio 7).

Continuity announcers and newsreaders


Announcers link programmes and read trails for programmes and for the Shipping Forecast. Newsreaders read hourly summaries and longer bulletins.

Senior Announcers



  • Harriet Cass
    Harriet Cass
    Harriet Cass is one of two BBC Radio 4 senior announcers with responsibility for newsreaders and continuity. She was educated at Queen's College, Harley Street, London, an independent day school for girls in London....


Newsreaders/Continuity Announcers


  • Alice Arnold
    Alice Arnold
    Alice Arnold is a British newsreader and continuity announcer on BBC Radio 4.After gaining a degree in politics at the University of Sussex, she trained as an actress and was a magistrate for ten years....

  • Carolyn Brown
    Carolyn Brown (newsreader)
    Carolyn Brown is a BBC Radio 4 newsreader and continuity announcer.Brown started her career as a reporter at a local newspaper, The Crewe Chronicle, and joined Radio City, an independent local radio station in Liverpool, England, in 1981. After two years, she moved to BBC Radio Leeds where she...

  • Kathy Clugston
    Kathy Clugston
    Kathy Clugston is a newsreader and continuity announcer on BBC Radio 4 and the BBC World Service. She is known to BBC Radio 1 listeners as "The Posh Radio Four Lady" or PR4L for short....

  • Charles Carroll
  • Corrie Corfield
    Corrie Corfield
    Coriona Corfield is a BBC Radio 4 continuity announcer and newsreader.-Early life:She grew up near Stratford-upon-Avon. She attended Stratford-upon-Avon Grammar School for Girls, where she became Head Girl...


  • Annie McKie
  • Rory Morrison
  • Susan Rae
    Susan Rae
    Susan Rae is a Scottish newsreader and continuity announcer on BBC Radio 4. She was born in Dundee, and now lives in Suffolk and works in London. She began work with D. C. Thomson newspapers in Dundee, Scotland before taking up work on BBC Radio Aberdeen. After three years there, she left to work...

  • Neil Sleat
    Neil Sleat
    Neil Sleat is a newsreader and continuity announcer on BBC Radio 4. After joining the BBC as a trainee engineer, working as a studio manager and then an announcer/newsreader on the BBC World Service, he joined Radio 4 as an announcer/newsreader in 1998. He has also produced many BBC Radio 4 trailers...

  • Zebedee 'Zeb' Soanes
    Zebedee Soanes
    Zebedee Soanes , or Zeb as he is more commonly known, is a presentation announcer and newsreader on BBC Radio 4.-Education:...


Newsreaders (non-Today programme)/Continuity Announcers


  • David Miles
    David Miles (Radio)
    David Miles is a British continuity announcer and newsreader on BBC Radio 4.- Biography :Born in 1954, David Miles joined the BBC in 1975 as a studio manager. Initially working at Bush House, he then transferred to Broadcasting House. Between 1981 and 1987, and again between 1988 and 1995, he...

  • Caroline Nicholls
  • Vaughan Savidge
    Vaughan Savidge
    Vaughan Savidge is a British freelance newsreader and continuity announcer on BBC Radio 3, also working on the World Service and on BBC Radio 4 performing spoof news items on Armando Iannucci's Charm Offensive....


  • Alan Smith
    Alan Smith (radio)
    Alan Smith is a presenter and newsreader on BBC Radio 4, who also appears on sister stations Radio 2 and Radio 7. Born in Scotland, his family moved to Cumbria at an early age. He joined Radio 4 in 2002 after presenting on regional radio & TV. In addition to his BBC work, he hosts an in-flight...

  • Diana Speed

Newsreaders (non-Today programme)


  • Peter Donaldson
    Peter Donaldson
    Peter Ian Donaldson is a main newsreader on BBC Radio 4.He was born in Cairo, Egypt and moved to Cyprus in 1952 at the time of the overthrow of King Farouk. He was a frequent listener to the BBC World Service and the BFBS....


Continuity Announcers



  • Arlene Fleming
  • Jim Lee
    Jim Lee (Radio)
    Jim Lee is a freelance continuity announcer on BBC Radio 4, a newsreader and announcer at the BBC World Service and also provides links for BBC Radio 7. He often reads the Shipping Forecast.-Early life:...

  • Neil Nunes
    Neil Nunes
    Neil Nunes is a British Jamaican continuity announcer on BBC Radio 4 in the United Kingdom and on the BBC World Service. He began working on Radio 4 in a freelance capacity in 2006...


  • Howard Philpott
  • Luke Tuddenham

Former staff


  • David Anderson (left to senior management, but covered during the May 2005 strike)
  • Bill Bingham (1980–1982)
  • Louise Botting
    Louise Botting
    Elizabeth Louise Botting CBE was presenter of BBC Radio 4’s Money Box programme between 1977 and 1992. After her broadcasting career, she became one of the first female directors of a FTSE-100 company, through her appointment to the board of CGNU...

     (presenter of Money Box, 1977–1992)
  • Louise Bruce
  • Piers Burton-Page (1975–1977)
  • Pauline Bushnell
  • Edward Cole
  • Andrew Crawford (can still be heard announcing I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue)
  • Matthew Exell
  • John Hedges
  • Anna Hill (left ~2000 – now presents Farming Today)
  • Peter Jefferson
    Peter Jefferson (Radio)
    Peter Jefferson is a BBC Radio 4 continuity announcer. He was educated at the independent Halliford School in Shepperton, Middlesex. He joined the BBC in 1964 and became a Studio Manager in 1968. Jefferson was the station's senior announcer until his retirement in 2001, though he continued to...

     (left 2009)
  • Astley Jones
    Astley Jones
    Astley Jones is a newsreader and continuity announcer on BBC Radio 4. After beginning his career as a PE teacher, he took up work as a BBC Sports correspondent. He has followed a freelance career since 1975, working on Radios 2, 3, 4 and World Service as well as a stint in television...

     (left 2006)

  • Jonathan Lampon
  • Jenny Lane
  • Pennie Latin (left 2004)
  • Laurie Macmillan
    Laurie Macmillan
    Laurie Macmillan was a BBC Radio 4 newsreader and continuity announcer born in Aberdeen on the east coast of Scotland....

     (died 2001)
  • Bryan Martin (died 2009)
  • Patrick Muirhead (left 2004)
  • Jamie Owen
    Jamie Owen
    Jamie Owen is a Welsh radio and television presenter best known for presenting Wales Today.-Background:Owen was born in Withybush Hospital Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire. His father was a Pembroke Dock Solicitor, James Meyrick Owen and his mother was a health visitor and midwife. Jamie also had two...

  • Brian Perkins
    Brian Perkins
    Brian Perkins is a senior newsreader on BBC Radio 4.All of Perkins' relatives are New Zealanders, although they refer to England as home...

  • Alison Rooper (left 2005, joined Radio 3)
  • Clive Roslin (left ~1990)
  • Andy Rushton (Test Match Special
    Test Match Special
    Test Match Special is a British radio programme covering professional cricket, broadcast on BBC Radio 4 , Five Live Sports Extra and the internet to the United Kingdom and the rest of the world...

    announcer 1998 – June 2007)
  • Jane Steele
  • Moira Stuart
    Moira Stuart
    Moira Clare Ruby Stuart OBE is a British journalist who was the first African-Caribbean female newsreader on British television...

     (left 1981 to TV; now on BBC Radio 2
    BBC Radio 2
    BBC Radio 2 is one of the BBC's national radio stations and the most popular station in the United Kingdom. Much of its daytime playlist-based programming is best described as Adult Contemporary or AOR, although the station is also noted for its specialist broadcasting of other musical genres...

    )
  • Catriona Young (now with Radio 3)

Frequencies and other means of reception


Radio 4 is broadcast on:
  • 92–95 MHz FM in England, and from some transmitters in Wales
    • 95.8 MHz in central Scotland
    • 96 MHz in Greater Belfast
      Greater Belfast
      Greater Belfast is an area surrounding and including Belfast in Northern Ireland.It includes Belfast and parts of the North Down, Lisburn, Castlereagh and Newtownabbey district council areas. Greater Belfast is the largest urban area in Northern Ireland, and second largest in Ireland...

    • 103-104.5 from other transmitters in Wales and generally in Scotland and Northern Ireland
  • 198 kHz longwave
    Longwave
    In radio, longwave refers to parts of radio spectrum with relatively long wavelengths. The term is a historic one dating from the early 20th century, when the radio spectrum was considered to consist of long, medium and short wavelengths...

  • Medium wave in some areas:
    • 720 kHz in London and Northern Ireland
      Northern Ireland
      Northern Ireland is one of the four countries of the United Kingdom. Situated in the north-east of the island of Ireland, it shares a border with the Republic of Ireland to the south and west...

    • 1449 kHz in Aberdeen
      Aberdeen
      Aberdeen is Scotland's third most populous city, one of Scotland's 32 local government council areas and the United Kingdom's 25th most populous city, with an official population estimate of ....

       and North East Scotland
  • DAB
    Digital audio broadcasting
    Digital Audio Broadcasting is a digital radio technology for broadcasting radio stations, used in several countries, particularly in Europe. As of 2006, approximately 1,000 stations worldwide broadcast in the DAB format....

    • Standard FM content
    • Subsidiary LW content, where applicable
  • Freeview channel 704 (FM only)
  • The Internet
    Internet
    The Internet is a global system of interconnected computer networks that use the standard Internet protocol suite to serve billions of users worldwide...

  • Digital satellite
    Direct broadcast satellite
    Direct broadcast satellite is a term used to refer to satellite television broadcasts intended for home reception.A designation broader than DBS would be direct-to-home signals, or DTH. This has initially distinguished the transmissions directly intended for home viewers from cable television...

    :
    • Radio 4 FM:
      • Freesat
        Freesat
        Freesat is a free-to-air digital satellite television joint venture between the BBC and ITV plc, serving the United Kingdom. The service was formed as a memorandum in 2007 and has been marketed since 6 May 2008...

         channel 704
      • Sky channel 0104
    • Radio 4 LW:
      • Freesat
        Freesat
        Freesat is a free-to-air digital satellite television joint venture between the BBC and ITV plc, serving the United Kingdom. The service was formed as a memorandum in 2007 and has been marketed since 6 May 2008...

         channel 710
      • Sky channel 0143
  • Virgin Media
    Virgin Media
    Virgin Media Inc. is a company which provides fixed and mobile telephone, television and broadband internet services to businesses and consumers in the United Kingdom...

     channel 904 (FM), channel 911 (LW)
  • Selected other cable television
    Cable television
    Cable television is a system of providing television programs to consumers via radio frequency signals transmitted to televisions through coaxial cables or digital light pulses through fixed optical fibers located on the subscriber's property, much like the over-the-air method used in traditional...

     providers (Also on various frequencies on analogue cable networks)
    • UPC Ireland
      UPC Ireland
      UPC Ireland is Liberty Global Europe's telecommunications operation in Ireland. UPC Ireland is the largest digital cable television provider within the Republic of Ireland. As of September 2010 the company offers broadband internet, digital television and digital telephony to over 531,000 customers...

       channel 910 in Ireland
      Republic of Ireland
      Ireland , described as the Republic of Ireland , is a sovereign state in Europe occupying approximately five-sixths of the island of the same name. Its capital is Dublin. Ireland, which had a population of 4.58 million in 2011, is a constitutional republic governed as a parliamentary democracy,...

  • TalkTalk TV channel 604

Criticisms


There have been criticisms voiced by newspapers in recent years over a perceived "liberal"
Liberalism
Liberalism is the belief in the importance of liberty and equal rights. Liberals espouse a wide array of views depending on their understanding of these principles, but generally, liberals support ideas such as constitutionalism, liberal democracy, free and fair elections, human rights,...

 bias at Radio 4 across a range of issues such as the EU and the Iraq War, as well as sycophancy in interviews, particularly on the popular morning news magazine "Today" as part of a reported perception of a general "malaise" at the BBC. Conversely, the station has sometimes also been criticised for an overtly socially
Social conservatism
Social Conservatism is primarily a political, and usually morally influenced, ideology that focuses on the preservation of what are seen as traditional values. Social conservatism is a form of authoritarianism often associated with the position that the federal government should have a greater role...

 and culturally
Cultural conservatism
Cultural conservatism is described as the preservation of the heritage of one nation, or of a shared culture that is not defined by national boundaries. Other variants of cultural conservatism are concerned with culture attached to a given language such as Arabic.The shared culture may be as...

 conservative approach.

See also

  • Radio 4 UK Theme
    Radio 4 UK Theme
    The BBC Radio 4 UK Theme is an orchestral arrangement of traditional British airs composed by Fritz Spiegl which was played every morning on BBC Radio 4 between 23 November 1978 and 23 April 2006....

  • ABC Radio National
  • National Public Radio
  • Radio New Zealand National
  • CBC Radio One
    CBC Radio One
    CBC Radio One is the English language news and information radio network of the publicly-owned Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. It is commercial free and offers both local and national programming...

  • RTÉ Radio 1
    RTÉ Radio 1
    RTÉ Radio 1 is the principal radio channel of Irish public-service broadcaster Raidió Teilifís Éireann and is the direct descendant of Dublin radio station 2RN, which began broadcasting on a regular basis on 1 January 1926...


External links