RadioCentre, on behalf of Fun Kids, is urging the BBC to increase its commitment to children’s radio programming.
It wants the corporation to accept a new partnership proposal from the commercial sector to help children’s radio reach a much wider audience.
The proposal advocates the establishment of a content-sharing partnership with Fun Kids, the dedicated children’s digital radio station, enabling it to access BBC children’s content for inclusion within the Fun Kids schedule, or the BBC having a dedicated block of hours on Fun Kids to be BBC branded and produced. Neither configuration would require any new financial outlay by the BBC, nor would Fun Kids schedule any commercial messaging around BBC programming.
BBC children’s radio programming is currently broadcast for only four hours per day on digital station Radio 7, principally targeted at pre-school listeners, and awareness and reach of this content is low. The BBC Trust’s current service review of Radios 3, 4 and 7 states that BBC Management intends to target older children and reduce the volume of children’s programming overall. In addition, BBC Management has proposed re-branding Radio 7 as Radio 4 Extra – but no commitment to the continued provision of children’s radio programming has been provided. This follows a steady reduction in the volume of BBC children’s radio content provided since the BBC was founded.
Andrew Harrison, Chief Executive, RadioCentre, said: “The current scheduling of children’s content on the fringes of the Radio 7 schedule, amidst content targeted at adults, is woefully under-serving young listeners and failing to deliver public value. We believe that the BBC should give greater consideration to children’s radio in future, but also we give our full support to Fun Kids’ pioneering proposal and urge BBC Management to progress discussions without further delay.”
Gregory Watson, Managing Director of Fun Kids, said: “Fun Kids and the current CBeebies Radio content on BBC Radio 7 complement each other. Partnership would enable the BBC and Fun Kids to provide a wider choice of programming to children of all ages, across the UK, and help encourage more children to make radio part of their everyday lives.”