Monday, August 01, 2011
Short stories on Radio 4
Gwyneth Williams, controller of Radio 4 faced listeners on Friday's Feedback about her decision to cut short stories, still available on BBC iplayer. Maybe I was too busy decorating and then driving, but I listened twice and simply couldn't follow her argument that cutting stories from three to one a week meant cutting from 144 to 104. The new addition of stories on digital Radio 4 Extra might explain the figures, but didn't seem to be part of the equation in her statement, and in any case the stress there seemed to be on archive material. She insisted that she would be commissioning more writers than previously, but the statement was vague (she did not specify short story writers) and I wasn't convinced. Maybe it was simply unfortunate, but Williams' chipper manner and her initial insistence that talking to listeners in the slot was a 'treat' for her, and in the end that she'd 'really enjoyed it' didn't reassure that she was taking seriously the forthright complaints of those listeners ringing in and the groundswell of protest.