|Broadcast area||United Kingdom|
|Slogan||Intelligent speech, the most insightful journalism, the wittiest comedy, the most fascinating features and the most compelling drama and readings anywhere in UK radio|
|Frequency|| FM: 92.5–96.1 MHz, 103.5–104.9 MHz|
LW: 198 kHz
MW: 603 kHz, 720 kHz, 774 kHz, 756 kHz, 1449 kHz, 1485 kHz
Freesat: 704 (FM), 710 (LW)
Freeview: 704 (FM)
Sky (UK only): 0104 (FM), 0143 (LW)
Virgin Media: 904 (FM), 911 (LW)
Virgin Media Ireland: 910 (FM)
Various frequencies on analogue cable
|First air date||30 September 1967|
|Format||News, talk, and drama|
|Former callsigns||BBC Home Service|
|Sister stations||BBC Radio 4 Extra|
|Webcast|| Web Stream |
|Website||BBC Radio 4|
BBC Radio 4, part of BBC Radio, is owned and operated by the British Broadcasting Corporation. It broadcasts a wide variety of spoken-word programmes including news, drama, comedy, science and history from the BBC's headquarters at Broadcasting House, London. It replaced the BBC Home Service in 1967.The station controller is Mohit Bakaya.
It is the second-most-popular domestic radio station in the UK,broadcast throughout the UK, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands on FM, LW and DAB, and can be received in eastern and south eastern counties of Ireland, the north of France and Northern Europe. It is also available through Freeview, Sky, Virgin Media and on the Internet. Its sister station, BBC Radio 4 Extra (formerly BBC Radio 7), complements the main channel by broadcasting repeats from the Radio 4 archive, extended versions of Radio 4 programmes and supplements to series such as The Archers and Desert Island Discs . It is notable for its news bulletins and programmes such as Today and The World at One , heralded on air by the Greenwich Time Signal "pips" or the chimes of Big Ben. Radio 4 broadcasts the Shipping Forecast, which reached 150 years old in August 2017. The pips are only accurate on FM, LW, and MW as there is a delay on DAB and digital radio of approximately 3 to 5 seconds, even longer online (up to 23 seconds).
BBC Radio 4 is the second-most-popular British domestic radio station by total hours, – and the most popular in London and the South of England.[ citation needed ] It recorded its highest audience, of 11 million listeners, in May 2011 and was "UK Radio Station of the Year" at the 2003, 2004 and 2008 Sony Radio Academy Awards. It also won a Peabody Award in 2002 for File On 4: Export Controls. Costing £71.4 million (2005/6), it is the BBC's most expensive national radio network and is considered by many to be its flagship. There is no comparable British commercial network: Channel 4 abandoned plans to launch its own speech-based digital radio station in October 2008 as part of a £100m cost cutting review.after Radio 2
In 2019, Mohit Bakaya replaced Gwyneth Williams, who had been the station controller since 2010.
Music and sport are the only fields that largely fall outside the station's remit. It broadcasts occasional concerts, and documentaries related to various forms of both popular and classical music, and the long-running music-based Desert Island Discs . Prior to the creation of BBC Radio 5 it broadcast sports-based features, notably Sport on Four , and since the creation of BBC Radio 5 Live in 1994, the station has become the home of ball-by-ball commentaries of most Test cricket matches played by England. The coverage is broadcast on long wave. Consequently, for around 70 days a year, listeners have to rely on FM broadcasts or increasingly DAB for mainstream Radio 4 broadcasts – the number relying solely on long wave is now a small minority. The cricket broadcasts take precedence over on-the-hour news bulletins, but not the Shipping Forecast, carried since its move to long wave in 1978 because that can be received clearly at sea.
The station is the UK's national broadcaster in times of national emergency such as war, due to the wide coverage of the Droitwich signal: if all other radio stations were forced to close, it would carry on broadcasting. It has been claimed that the commanders of nuclear-armed submarines believing that Britain had suffered nuclear attack were required to check if they could still receive Radio 4 on 198 long wave, and if they could not they would open sealed orders that might authorise a retaliatory strike.
As well as news and drama, the station has a strong reputation for comedy, including experimental and alternative comedy, many successful comedians and comedy shows first appearing on the station. Following the six o'clock news from Monday to Friday, the station normally broadcasts a thirty-minute comedy programme.
The station is available on FM in most of Great Britain, parts of Ireland and the north of France; LW throughout the UK and in parts of Northern Europe, and the Atlantic north of the Azores to about 20 degrees west; MW in some areas; DAB; Digital TV including Freeview, Freesat, Sky and Virgin Media, and on the Internet. Freesat, Sky and Virgin have a separate channel which broadcasts the Radio 4 LW output in mono, in addition to the FM output.
The longwave signal is part of the Royal Navy's system of Last Resort Letters. In the event of a suspected catastrophic attack on Britain, submarine captains, in addition to other checks, check for a broadcast signal from Radio 4 on 198 long wave to verify the annihilation of organised society in Great Britain.
The BBC Home Service was the predecessor of Radio 4 and broadcast between 1939 and 1967. It had regional variations and was broadcast on medium wave with a network of VHF FM transmitters being added from 1955. Radio 4 replaced it on 30 September 1967, when the BBC renamed many of its domestic radio stations, kHz frequency (1500 metres) previously held by Radio 2 - later moved to 198 kHz as a result of international agreements aimed at avoiding interference (all UK MW/LW frequencies are divisible by 9). At this point, Radio 4 became available across all of the UK for the first time and the station officially became known as Radio 4 UK, a title that remained until September 1984.in response to the challenge of offshore radio. It moved to long wave in November 1978, taking over the 200
For a time during the 1970s Radio 4 carried regional news bulletins Monday to Saturday. These were broadcast twice at breakfast, at lunchtime and at 5.55p.m. There were also programme variations for the parts of England not served by BBC Local Radio stations. These included Roundabout East Anglia , a VHF opt-out of the Today programme broadcast from BBC East's studios in Norwich each weekday from 6.45 a.m. to 8.45 a.m. Roundabout East Anglia came to an end in mid-1980 ahead of the launch of BBC Radio Norfolk.
All regional news bulletins broadcast from BBC regional news bases around England ended in August 1980, apart from in the south west as until January 1983 there was no BBC Local Radio in the south west so these news bulletins and its weekday morning regional programme, Morning Sou'West , continued to be broadcast from the BBC studios in Plymouth on VHF and on the Radio 4 medium wave Plymouth relay until 31 December 1982.
The launch of Radio 5 on 27 August 1990 saw the removal of Open University, schools programming, children's programmes and the Study on 4/Options adult education slot from Radio 4's FM frequencies. Consequently, the full Radio 4 schedule became available on FM for the first time. However, adult educational and Open University programming returned to Radio 4 in 1994 when Radio 5 was closed to make way for the launch of BBC Radio 5 Live and were broadcast on Sunday evenings on longwave only.
Between 17 January 1991 and 2 March 1991 FM broadcasts were replaced by a continuous news service devoted to the Gulf War, Radio 4 News FM, with the main Radio 4 service being exclusively on longwave.
In September 1991 it was decided that the main Radio 4 service would be on FM as FM coverage had now extended to cover almost all of the UK - Radio 4 didn't become available on FM in much of Scotland and Wales until the early 1990s. Opt-outs were transferred to longwave: currently Test Match Special , extra shipping forecasts, The Daily Service and Yesterday in Parliament . Longwave very occasionally opts out at other times, such as to broadcast special services, the most recent being when Pope Benedict XVI visited Britain in 2010.
An online schedule page lists the running order of programmes.
Many programmes are pre-recorded. Programmes transmitted live include Today, magazine programme Woman's Hour, consumer affairs programme You and Yours , and (often) the music, film, books, arts and culture programme Front Row . Continuity is managed from Broadcasting House with news bulletins, including the hourly summaries and longer programmes such as the Six O'Clock News and Midnight News, and news programmes such as Today, The World at One and PM, which by early 2013 had returned to Broadcasting House after 15 years at BBC Television Centre in White City.The news returning to Broadcasting House has also meant that newsreaders can provide cover for continuity, which regularly occurs at 23:00 each night and 16:00 on a Sunday. This has reduced the total number of continuity announcers required each day down from four to three.
The Time Signal, known as 'the pips', is broadcast every hour to herald the news bulletin, except at midnight and 18:00, where the chimes of Big Ben are played. There is no Greenwich Time Signal during the Saturday Afternoon Drama at 15:00 on Radio 4 on Saturdays either. Only pips broadcast on FM/MW/LW are accurate. On all digital platforms they are in delay by between 3 and 5 seconds and even longer online (up to 23 seconds).
Radio 4 programmes cover a wide variety of genre including news and current affairs, history, culture, science, religion, arts, drama and light entertainment. A number of the programmes on Radio 4 take the form of a "magazine" show, featuring numerous small contributions over the course of the programme— Woman's Hour , From Our Own Correspondent , You and Yours . The rise of these magazine shows is primarily due to the work of Tony Whitby, controller of Radio 4 from 1970 to 1975.
The station hosts a number of long-running programmes, many of which have been broadcast for over 40 years.
Most programmes are available for four weeks after broadcast as streaming audio from Radio 4's listen again pageand via BBC iPlayer. A selection of programmes is also available as podcasts or downloadable audio files. Many comedy and drama programmes from the Radio 4 archives are rebroadcast on BBC Radio 4 Extra (formerly BBC Radio 7).
Due to the capacity limitations of DAB and increasing sport broadcasts on BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra, BBC Radio 4 DAB has to reduce its bit rate most evenings, such that after 7p.m. its DAB output is usually in mono, even though many of its programmes are made in stereo (including its flagship drama "The Archers"), these can be heard in stereo only on FM, Digital TV on Freeview & Freesat (Ch. 704), Sky, Virgin and on line via BBC iPlayer radio. BBC World Service, which uses BBC Radio 4 FM & DAB frequencies between 01:00 and 05:20, is in stereo, but only on Radio 4 FM & DAB and not on its own dedicated DAB channel. BBC Radio 4 Extra broadcasts in mono on DAB, but has always been in stereo on Digital TV (Freeview / Freesat Ch 708), Sky, Virgin and online.
Announcers carry out the following duties from Broadcasting House:
Newsreaders read hourly summaries and longer bulletins from New Broadcasting House.In 2012 the BBC announced that it would be reducing its main presentation team from 12 to ten.
Radio 4 is broadcast on:
There have been criticisms voiced by centre-right newspapers in recent years over a perceived left political bias across a range of issues, such as the EU and the Iraq War,as well as sycophancy in interviews, particularly on the popular morning news magazine Today as part of a reported perception of a general "malaise" at the BBC. Conversely, the journalist Mehdi Hasan has criticised the station for an overtly "socially and culturally conservative" approach.
There has been frequent criticism of Radio 4—and Today in particular—for a lack of female broadcasters.In September 1972, Radio 4 employed the first female continuity announcers—Hylda Bamber and Barbara Edwards (an event which caused the Daily Mail to proclaim that Radio 4 had "fallen" to women's liberation). For quite some time, the introduction of female newsreaders led to complaints from listeners; women discussing topics of feminist interest led to similar complaints.
Radio 4 has also been frequently criticised for being too middle class and being of little interest to non-white listeners.
The BBC World Service is an international broadcaster, owned and operated by the BBC. It is the world's largest of any kind. It broadcasts radio news, speech and discussions in more than 40 languages to many parts of the world on analogue and digital shortwave platforms, internet streaming, podcasting, satellite, DAB, FM and MW relays. In 2015, The World Service reached an average of 210 million people a week. In November 2016, the BBC announced that it would start broadcasting in additional languages including Amharic and Igbo, in its biggest expansion since the 1940s.
BBC Radio is an operational business division and service of the British Broadcasting Corporation. The service provides national radio stations covering the majority of musical genres, as well as local radio stations covering local news, affairs and interests. It also oversees online audio content.
In radio, longwave, long wave or long-wave, and commonly abbreviated LW, refers to parts of the radio spectrum with wavelengths longer than what was originally called the medium-wave broadcasting band. The term is historic, dating from the early 20th century, when the radio spectrum was considered to consist of longwave (LW), medium-wave (MW), and short-wave (SW) radio bands. Most modern radio systems and devices use wavelengths which would then have been considered 'ultra-short'.
BBC Radio 5 Live is the BBC's national radio service that broadcasts mainly news, sport, discussion, interviews and phone-ins. It is the principal radio station covering sport in the United Kingdom, broadcasting virtually all major sports events staged in the UK or involving British competitors.
BBC Northern Ireland is a division of the BBC and the main public broadcaster in Northern Ireland.
Digital Radio Mondiale is a set of digital audio broadcasting technologies designed to work over the bands currently used for analogue radio broadcasting including AM broadcasting, particularly shortwave, and FM broadcasting. DRM is more spectrally efficient than AM and FM, allowing more stations, at higher quality, into a given amount of bandwidth, using various MPEG-4 audio coding formats.
The British Forces Broadcasting Service (BFBS) provides radio and television programmes for Her Majesty's Armed Forces, and their dependents worldwide. Editorial control is independent of the Ministry of Defence and the armed forces themselves.
RTÉ Radio 1 is the principal radio channel of Irish public-service broadcaster Raidió Teilifís Éireann and is the direct descendant of Dublin radio station 2RN, which began broadcasting on a regular basis on 1 January 1926. The station is a rare modern example of a mixed radio channel, offering a wide spectrum of programming which is mainly speech-based but also includes a fair amount of music.
BBC Radio Nottingham is a BBC Local Radio station serving the English county of Nottinghamshire. It broadcasts on FM, DAB radio and Freeview from studios located on London Road in Nottingham city centre.
BBC Radio Gloucestershire is the BBC Local Radio service for the English county of Gloucestershire, which started on 3 October 1988. It broadcasts from its studios at Portland Court in London Road, Gloucester on DAB, 95 FM (Stroud), 95.8 FM (Cirencester), 104.7 FM, 1413 MW in the Cotswolds & Forest of Dean.
BBC Radio Foyle is a BBC Northern Ireland local radio station, serving County Londonderry in Northern Ireland. It is named after the River Foyle which flows through Derry, the city where the station is based. The station broadcasts from BBC's Northland Road studios on 93.1 FM and 792 MW in Derry, County Londonderry. There is also a small television studio based there used for interviews with the interviewee sitting in front of a CSO screen which normally has a live view of Derry. Since it broadcasts from a point close to the County Donegal and County Londonderry border it includes some coverage of the former county.
BBC Radio Wales is BBC Cymru Wales's national English language radio station. It began broadcasting on 13 November 1978, following the demise of the 'Radio 4 Wales' service and BBC Radio 4's transformation into a national network, moving from medium wave to long wave.
Polskie Radio Spółka Akcyjna is Poland's state-owned national public-service radio broadcasting organization.
Deutschlandfunk, abbreviated DLF, is a public-broadcasting radio station in Germany, concentrating on news and current affairs. It is one of the four national radio channels produced by Deutschlandradio.
There are four major forms of digital television (DTV) broadcast in the United Kingdom: a direct-to-home satellite service from the Astra 28.2°E satellites provided by Sky UK, a cable television service provided by Virgin Media ; a free-to-air satellite service called Freesat; and a free-to-air digital terrestrial service called Freeview. In addition, an IPTV system known as BT Vision is provided by BT. Individual access methods vary throughout the country. 77% of the United Kingdom has access to HDTV via terrestrial digital television. Satellite is the only source of HDTV broadcast available for the remaining 23%.
In the United Kingdom, the roll-out of digital radio is proceeding since engineering test transmissions were started by the BBC in 1990 followed by a public launch in September 1995. The UK currently has the world's biggest digital radio network, with 103 transmitters, three national DAB ensembles and 48 local and regional DAB ensembles broadcasting over 250 commercial and 34 BBC radio stations across the UK. In the capital, London there are already more than 64 different digital stations available. In addition to DAB and DAB+, radio stations are also broadcast on digital television platform as well as internet radio in the UK. Digital radio ensemble operators and stations need a broadcasting licence from the UK's media regulator Ofcom to broadcast.
RTÉ Radio 1 Extra is one of five digital radio channels produced by the Irish public-service broadcasting service Raidió Teilifís Éireann (RTÉ).
High-definition television in the United Kingdom is available via cable, IPTV, satellite and terrestrial television. The first high-definition broadcasts began in 2006 and since then the number of channels available to view has grown to a maximum of 87 that can be viewed on pay-TV service, Sky.