BBC Radio flagship station seeks a younger audience: Toddlers!

 “But is this the right platform for our youngest listeners?,

asks children’s radio champion”, Susan Stranks.

BBC clips of 2 yr old Daisy singing along to the ‘Mayo, Mayo’ theme on Simon Mayo’s Drivetime have prompted R4’s launch of ‘My Baby Loves PM’ to build a toddler fan-base for Eddie Mair and the show when he returns next week.

Starting Tuesday this week [24/06/14],  a ‘Pips for Toddlers’ jingle, provided by a listener, was shoehorned between news headlines and a 2012 clip  of Charlie Brookes complaining of the aggressive police-raid which searched his baby daughter’s cot for illicit ‘phone tapes. Listeners are invited to try out the Pips on their toddlers.

On Wednesday [25/06/14], PM majored on the many victims of paedophile Jimmy Savile. Pips for Toddlers, which resemble a humorous mobile ‘ringle’,  followed a sad and harrowing interview with the wife of a disabled man seeking the right to end his own life. Eager listeners tweeted to say their small charges were dancing along.  No surprise there, as American child psychologist, Linda Blair, had advised PM that young children delight and benefit from sharing repeats of fun-sounds and songs with their parents and carers.

The respected MAYO clinic – not related to Simon – also highlights the importance  of children learning to listen in order to understand, behave and cooperate.

Children’s radio advocate and former Magpie host, Susan Stranks says, “Daily radio can enhance leisure and learning from our earliest years but placing content for children and toddlers in an adult news context potentially breaches Guidelines and also fails to attract young listeners in the long term“.

In 2011 The BBC Strategy for Children’s Audio wrote off a mandate to provide children’s content and listening for under-sevens was relegated to internet-only downloads, drawing complaints from frustrated parents that these needed extra supervision, kit and knowhow, compared to a pre-set push-button radio that a toddler could tune to.

 “A two minute slot on ‘PM’ isn’t the best platform for BBC children’s radio content“, says Stranks, who has long argued for a public radio network for young children and their families.

Mayo clinic:

Susan Stranks

Coodinator, Sound-Start Group


T: +44[01273 777489.

Speak Your Mind

Tell us what you're thinking...

Slider by webdesign