Radio 4’s Today programme to reach out to the young

The flagship morning news programme and voice of the establishment wants to be more in step with younger listeners says its editor Jamie Angus

imagenotavailable1

If you thought Radio 4’s Today programme was a bit like a fusty establishment club and had little to say to politically disengaged younger listeners then it seems you are in luck.

Advertisement

Jamie Angus, who has been in charge of the flagship morning news show for a year, has revealed that the programme which prides itself on being listened to by the people who run Britain will be reaching out to a more youthful following.

“The older audience is steady, we need to think about the younger audience,” he said at a Broadcasting Press Guild lunch on Thursday.

Angus said he was looking at ways of reaching the “replenishment” listenership of 35 to 54 year-olds who are tuning in less frequently than before, and said the programme needed to tailor some content to them.

He admitted that the programme’s veteran presenter John Humphrys has already done his bit for the drive to get the youth audience by recently hosting a rap edition of Mastermind for radio station 1Xtra during which he adopted the name “Humpho Johnny” (see picture).

Angus also said that the ethnic make up of the programme’s 35-strong production team needed to be examined and said it was a problem that it did not contain one black person among its number.

He also pointed to occasions when presenters had been out of step with the audience, such as its coverage of the launch of the iPhone 6 which he said portrayed “a bit of a sense that it was confusing. I don’t think the programme should sound like that”.

However he insisted that he was “not going to sacrifice the interests of the core older audience”.

At the lunch, Angus revealed that Dame Elizabeth Butler Sloss, the former high court judge who stepped down as head of the government’s child abuse inquiry in July, will be one of Today’s guest editors at Christmas.

Advertisement

The BBC will announce the other four guest editors in November.