The BBC’s temporary digital station to cover the Olympics has launched this morning across the UK.
BBC Radio 5 live olympics extra is using capacity on the BBC’s national multiplex, made available by reducing the quality of sister stations including BBC Radio 2 and BBC Radio 4.
The station is on-air till August 13th from the Olympic Park, with live coverage and highlights. It’s in addition to BBC Radio 5 live sports extra, which is concentrating on cricket coverage. Ian Payne and Anna Foster will host the action which will supplement the coverage on Radio 5 live.
In agreeing to the station, the BBC Trust said “Radio Five Live will continue to offer a mix of news and sport (including the Olympics). Five Live Sports Extra will broadcast live coverage of the Olympics, except when test match cricket takes place – two matches are expected during this time. The temporary station is projected to have a service licence budget of around £200,000.
“The BBC will schedule Olympics coverage on the temporary radio service in preference to Five Live Sports Extra as it will be dedicated to this event and not be used for any other events during this period. Taking Five Live’s regular audience share of just under 5% and Five Live Sports Extra’s share of around 0.2% into account, we would expect the temporary service to attract well under 1% of listening, even at peak times. We would expect it to attract listeners primarily from Five Live and Five Live Sports Extra, rather than taking listening share from any BBC or commercial services which do not cover sports.”
5 live has an impressive line-up for the duration of the games, with content being used across the services. Pundits will include Olympic medallists James Cracknell (rowing), Darren Campbell (4x 100m relay), Pippa Wilson (sailing), Steve Backley (javelin), Katharine Merry (400m) and Kriss Akabusi (400m relay and hurdles) alongside familiar 5 live voices like Nicky Campbell, Peter Allen and Colin Murray.
Mark Pougatch, who has broadcast at four summer Olympics, leads the 5 live coverage from London during the Games.
Regular 5 live presenters Nicky Campbell, Rachel Burden, Victoria Derbyshire, Mark Chapman, Peter Allen, Colin Murray and Tony Livesey will all feature prominently in the schedule alongside a team of top commentators led by Mike Costello for athletics and John Murray for the opening and closing ceremonies. Jonathan Agnew will swap cricket for archery on home territory as he commentates from Lord’s.
Adrian Van Klaveren, Controller, BBC Radio 5 live, said: “Our coverage of London 2012 will capture all the excitement of this historic sporting occasion. We will be there 24 hours a day for our listeners with news of every medal as well as all the sporting drama as it unfolds. Wherever you are, there’s no better way to hear what’s happening in the company of some of the world’s greatest sports broadcasters.”