The BBC Trust’s Review of Children’s Services – 2013

The public consultation to inform this Review closed on May 31.  Views were invited on the BBC’s provision of television, radio and online services for children.

In their responses, campaigning organisations Voice of the Listener & Viewer and the Sound Start Group both condemn the marked lack of UK produced children’s television and express concern about the BBC’s policy for children’s radio provision.

Former Magpie host, Susan Stranks, who runs internet station: abracaDABra!, has also submitted views on BBC children’s radio policy. She strongly condemns the BBC’s Strategy for Children’s Audio: 2011, which dropped the mandate to provide children with radio, cut their hours and rescheduled the remains on R4extra – the adult speech network licensed as the home of horror, sci-fi and stand-up comedy. This, she claims, is exposing young listeners to potential harm and offence.

Stranks points out that R6; Asian Network; World Service and Local radio all gained partial or total reprieves but children are a softer target and lost 75% air-time and 50% budget – far exceeding general BBC savings of 16% – 20%.  All three submissions condemn placement of family content on R4Extra and propose R2 as a more family friendly network.

The Sound Start Group is Chaired by the Baroness Warnock and includes parents and leading professionals in education, childcare, broadcasting, publishing and the law. Their response calls for an in-depth evaluation of radio’s potential in children’s development combining BBC and independent resources and expertise. They point to independent research showing strong public preference for a licence-funded network dedicated to children.

Editors Note:  In 2010, when the BBC Asian Network was due to close, the Sound Start Group called for a more inclusive Service Licence to target children and families across all UK communities but the network was reprieved, with an annual budget of £9.2million.


Sound Start Group Response to the BBC Trust Review

abracaDABra! Response to the BBC Trust Review

The VLV submission can be read here

Previous EDMs – Children’s Radio.

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