Britain’s publicly funded radio should provide a network for children a new poll has revealed.

A radio network for pre-school and primary school aged children and their families has polled higher than the BBC’s five digital stations, as being important for the British public to be able to listen to.

Capibus, the Ipsos MORI face-to-face omnibus survey, showed 23% of participants thought a children’s service to be the most important ahead of 5 Live Extra [sport] at 19%; R7 [adult speech] at 17%; 6 Music [Pop music 70’s – 90s] at 16%; Radio 1Xtra [Black Music] at 9% and the Asian Network at 7%.

The research was commissioned by non-profit company, Children 2000, for leading educators who want a children’s station to succeed the Asian Network when it closes next year. The Sound Start Group, chaired by the Baroness Warnock, has proposed a service airing daily songs, stories, games, quizzes and Music & Movement, to evaluate radio’s role in children’s leisure and learning, with particular emphasis on improving their listening and language skills, which are causing concern.

Download the full computer tables (PDF)

Editors Notes
A previous MORI survey was conducted in 2001, during the public consultation on BBC Digital radio. Results showed a children’s network, at 57%, to be significantly more popular than the five proposed new public service formats but the BBC opted to schedule children’s content on adult speech network, BBC7.

The BBC Trust is conducting a series of Public Consultations on the Future of the BBC. The Consultation on BBC Radio 3, BBC Radio 4 and BBC Radio 7 closes August 26th.

The Sound Start Group’s Partnership Plan is available at


Two questions were asked on Capibus, Ipsos MORI’s weekly face to face omnibus survey, between 30th July and 5th August 2010. The Capibus sample is a nationally representative one of adults aged 15+. Interviewing is conducted face to face in home via around 170 sampling points throughout GB. Each of the two questions was asked of a separate sample of adults aged 15+ (Q1 – 997, Q2 – 1017).The data obtained was weighted slightly in order to match national proportions in terms of gender, age, region, working status and ethnicity.

Examining the responses to Q1, it appears that more people (23%) thought that it was important to provide the British public with a National Children’s Radio station than the number mentioning any of the other options. This number was statistically significantly higher among those in the higher (AB) social grades than those in the lowest social grade group (DE), among the more highly educated respondents and, for some reason, those living in suburban and rural rather than urban areas. However, there was little difference between men and women, those with or without children under 16, or the different age groups. Perhaps people were indeed thinking of the needs of the general public here rather than the needs of themselves or their families.

The station chosen by the second greatest number of respondents was Five Live Sports Plus and significantly more men than women mentioned this as being important for the British public to be able to listen to.

A National Asian network was the station mentioned by the smallest number of respondents of those listed, although unsurprisingly, it was the most popular choice among non-white respondents, 17% as against 6% of white respondents.

The results of Q2 indicate that very few respondents would find the provision of any particular radio stations sufficient to encourage them to get a digital radio. Around half the sample either said that ‘None of these’ stations would encourage them to go digital or said that they didn’t know. A further 29% already had a digital radio. So, only around a quarter of the sample actually mentioned any of the stations at this question. Of those who did, it was the sports and music stations which were mentioned most often – Five Live Sports Plus was mentioned by 9% of the sample, but by 15% of men. Radio 1XTRA was particularly mentioned by the younger respondents (12% of the 15 to 24s, as against 4% of the sample as a whole)..

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