In relation to religion, however, there are some intriguing statements:
Other types of content also feature in the Radio 3 schedule alongside the mainstay of classical music. These include arts programming (5 per cent of output), jazz (4 per cent), world music (3 per cent), religion (1 per cent), drama (1 per cent) and news (1 per cent).
On Radio 4 we read:
Radio 4’s commitment to a broad multi-genre proposition is reflected in its budgetary allocation. In 2009-10 Radio 4 spent £5.1million on entertainment and comedy; £3.4million on arts; and £2.6million on religion. Radio 4 is also allocated £2.6million of the BBC sports rights cost. These levels of spend have been broadly stable over recent years.
Excellent. But the report also concludes from audience responses:
Our research found that audiences were generally pleased with Radio 4’s religious output. … there are positive performance gaps for the statements relating to religion and beliefs, suggesting that Radio 4 is more than meeting audience expectations. We recognise, however, that this can be a very subjective issue for licence fee payers.
Well, that’s great news and demonstrates intelligence and maturity on the part of the audience. But, why is religion singled out as ‘a very subjective issue for licence fee payers’? Isn’t every judgement by licence fee payers subjective? Sport isn’t to everyone’s taste – nor is comedy. Or news and documentaries. Or short stories. I might be in a minority of one, but I can’t bear ‘The Archers’ and try to turn the radio off after the news and before that wretched music starts.
Ironically, the statement about subjectivity is a very subjective one and doesn’t belong in this report. If anything, it gives the ‘assumptions’ game away rather embarrassingly.