Steve Barnett speaks to BBC Radio 4’s Feedback about the reduction of Newsbeat

23 April 2024

In a controversial move, the BBC has significantly reduced the duration of its news bulletins on Radio 1’s Breakfast show with Greg James. Previously running for three minutes, the Newsbeat updates have been cut down to just one minute. The BBC provided no clear reasons for the change, leading to concerns about its commitment to news coverage on the station, especially given its role in reaching younger audiences.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4, about these changes, Prof Steven Barnett reminded listeners that the BBC’s Operating Licence with Ofcom obliges it to carry 280 hours of news each year on Radio 1. Barnett also noted, though, that the distribution of these hours is up to the BBC, and that it had flexibility in how those hours were distributed. Barnett said that it was not unusual for the BBC to experiment in where those hours were concentrated, but that it had to be mindful of its public service responsibilities. He also said he would be interested to see how the experiment of shortening the 3-minute morning news bulletins plays out over the coming weeks and how this affects listenership.


Listen to the full interview on BBC Sounds (from 19:20).



Photo by Jonathan Velasquez on Unsplash

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