10th Children’s Media Conference [CMC] explores children’s radio concerns …

At the 10th Children’s Media Conference [CMC] in Sheffield, last week, children’s broadcaster, Susan Stranks, slammed the BBC’s withdrawal from children’s radio. Ms Stranks, who coordinates the Sound Start Group, which campaigns for children’s radio, said “Children need the full range of cultural experience. A dedicated radio network can enhance their lives, nurture home grown talent and seed other media, such as film, TV and publishing. The BBC argues children may no longer be able to listen without visual stimulation but this is damaging nonsense!”

Gregory Watson, Director of commercial digital station, FUN Kids, and Stranks, who runs non-profit internet children’s radio service, abracaDABra!, confirmed children tune in and enjoy the daily music, stories and games radio can provide.

Early years expert, Wendy Scott, told delegates of concerns about increased language deficit and attention disorders. She stressed the importance of listening to stimulate speech, language, concentration and comprehension. Radio, she said, could be a valuable resource for families, schools and childcare centres.

This week, an Early Day Motion [EDM] has called for a national non-commercial radio network for children. Tabled by John Leech MP, Liberal Democrat Member for Manchester Withington, the Motion reflects public concern about changes introduced by the BBC’s Strategy for Children’s Audio, which the BBC Trust is assessing as part of its Review of Children’s Services, due to report in the Autumn.

Editor’s Notes:

  • The last Trust Review of BBC Children’s Services was in 2009
  • When the BBC Asian Network was due to close in 2010, the Sound Start Group called for a revised Service Licence to target children and families inclusively, across all UK communities. but the Asian Network was reprieved, with an annual budget of £9.2million.


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