Radio 4's Today host sends warning to BBC over cuts to flagship shows

Josh Peachey's picture

Justin Webb, the host of BBC Radio 4's Today programme, has warned the Corporation against destroying flagship radio shows.

The BBC announced a major restructure of its news output across TV and radio recently that will see up to 450 jobs cut as part of cost reduction plans. Today is one of many news programmes that will be affected by the cuts.

Another main focus for the company is to target younger listeners - something Webb is concerned will affect certain programmes. 

Webb hopes Today does not lose its “distinct entity… character and presence”.

Fran Unsworth, Director of News and Current Affairs, recently said that BBC News must be “reshaped… in a way which saves substantial amounts of money”.

“We are spending too much of our resources on traditional linear broadcasting and not enough on digital,” she said.

Webb wrote in Radio Times magazine: “Perhaps the young will get old. It has happened before. Perhaps radio will outlive this panic, as it has outlived all others and potentially those to come.

“But it will only outlive the panic if well-meaning bosses resist the temptation to destroy the wireless in order to save it.”

He said there will be a “temptation… to reduce the funding of the core programmes and chop up its output into the bite-sized chunks those in charge think ‘yoof’ might consume”.

He also argued that BBC Radio 4's Today programme "is at close to record levels, listened to by more than 7m people in the average week.”