Monica Sims (1925-2018)

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RobinCarmody
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Monica Sims (1925-2018)

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Brock
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Re: Monica Sims (1925-2018)

Post by Brock »

Thanks for that. I remember her tenure as Controller of Radio 4 but hadn't appreciated the following:
Made controller of Radio 4 in 1978, she worked to ensure the network’s survival amid wavelength changes, the expansion of commercial radio and swingeing budget cuts. Her passionate commitment to traditional public service broadcasting was increasingly at odds with a creeping obsession with news, sometimes to almost comical effect: when, in a journalistic coup in 1982, the BBC was appraised early that the Falklands war had ended, Sims refused (despite pressure from the director of programmes) to interrupt the afternoon play to announce the fact. The campaign to launch a news network (which later became Radio 5 Live) has been dated to that refusal.

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stearn
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Re: Monica Sims (1925-2018)

Post by stearn »

Except Radio 5 was along the lines of Radio 4 originally when launched in 1990. It was the Gulf War in 1990/1 and Radio 4 moving to rolling news - affectionately dubbed Scud FM - that the need for rolling news was considered desirable. Even then it took until March 1994 before the original Radio 5 was replaced with Radio 5 Live.

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Re: Monica Sims (1925-2018)

Post by Brock »

stearn wrote:Except Radio 5 was along the lines of Radio 4 originally when launched in 1990.
The Guardian article doesn't mention the old Radio 5, which was originally conceived as a "dustbin" network made up of all the bits that didn't fit properly in the other networks - sport, children's programmes, schools programmes, adult education, Open University - plus selected programmes from the World Service. After a while it started to develop more original programming.
It was the Gulf War in 1990/1 and Radio 4 moving to rolling news - affectionately dubbed Scud FM - that the need for rolling news was considered desirable.
I think the idea of a rolling news network had been considered some time before that, but rejected. "Scud FM" (or Radio 4 News FM to give its proper name) was seen as an opportunity to test the idea. It wouldn't surprise me if the idea had been originally mooted during the Falklands war.
Even then it took until March 1994 before the original Radio 5 was replaced with Radio 5 Live.
The original plan was to put rolling news on Radio 4 long wave, but that was scuppered by protests from Radio 4 listeners in continental Europe who couldn't receive FM. When that was rejected, the decision was taken to combine the existing sports coverage on Radio 5 with rolling news to create Radio 5 Live. Schools programmes went to Radio 3, Open University to Radio 4 long wave. Most of the other content was dropped although children got a token half-hour on Radio 4 on Sunday evenings (and readings on long wave during the school holidays).

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stearn
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Re: Monica Sims (1925-2018)

Post by stearn »

What I meant was, if there was such a demand within management or the audience for rolling news, you would have thought that as soon as another service was viable it would be have been designed for news. Radio 5 wasn't and that was some 8 year after the Falklands war. It took another conflict, and Birts tenure as DG, before being seriously considered, and then implemented a couple of years down the line.

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