BBC Radio Cymru 2 to Increase Hours

The director of BBC Wales Rhuanedd Richards announced the increase in transmission hours for BBC Radio Cymru earlier today - from 15 hours/week to 60 hours/week.

"A Welsh language music-based schedule is something that’s missing from the kit of parts for Welsh speakers – I’m really excited about bringing that to listeners in the autumn." 
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Finally some competition for Capital Cymru which shoehorns Welsh music alongside English Top 40 pop.
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To bring this story right up to date, OFCOM has begun a consultation on extending Radio Cymru 2's hours. 

Last October, Radio Cymru 2's hours were extended with a two-hour morning show on weekdays and extra sports commentaries (usually in midweek and on Saturdays - something very welcome considering the lack of opt-outs compared to Radio Wales)

Personally (as a Welsh learner), while I support the plans in theory, listening to their expanded morning output leaves something to be desired (a tight, Capital-esque format - quick links etc.)

Their playlist is already about 50/50 in terms of English / Welsh language music (there was a marked change when the initial extension was introduced last October) - and the presence of English-language music tends to be a sour point among the more vocal sections of Radio Cymru's listenership.

In the context of Wales in isolation it's absolutely the sort of thing BBC Cymru Wales should be doing, but in the context of what has happened across England it's difficult to justify - although actually perhaps it's the model all areas need with an additional younger appealing station.
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For added context, the proposals - according to the BBC’s own Public Interest Test - boil down mainly to doing an extra three hours of programming between 11am and 2pm on Monday - Thursdays and an extra hour on Fridays.

Non-stop music (or playlists) is proposed for the Drivetime block from 5-7 (which is mainly a speech block on Radio Cymru) along with Saturday afternoons and all day Sundays. 

I’d have thought it would be better to do a full presented show at Drive, to be honest, while retaining the sport opt outs.

OFCOM has approved proposals for BBC Radio Cymru 2 - both in terms of hours and becoming a fully-fledged PSB.

There are one or two licensing conditions - one is news, but they're allowed to simulcast Radio Cymru's bulletins. 

On a separate note, Radio Cymru's bulletins outside their news programming strike me as very old-fashioned and dull.

Caught a bulletin at 11am - five-minute dry read with no clips / actuality and no bed - stretched onto the weather and travel (which used to be done separately)

There can't be a lot of actuality in Welsh other than for local stories?

(18-01-2024, 11:16 PM)Steve in Pudsey Wrote:  There can't be a lot of actuality in Welsh other than for local stories?

True...though Radio Wales seems to get by that no problem by often using source material from their breakfast show.

Surely wouldn't take much for Radio Cymru to use the odd relevant clip or soundbite from their news output in turn.

In terms of UK and international news, Radio Cymru has been known to play English language soundbites within their news programmes though these are often kept to a minimum.

Today's RAJAR figures saw the total listeners of Radio Cymru (combined with Radio Cymru 2) fall below 100 000 for the first time on record. Quite concerning. 

Not surprising - I’ve been predicting this would happen under the current editor.

They didn’t handle the departure of their late show presenter terribly well in 2022 - which had a lot of parallels with some of the departures from BBC Local in England. A lot of listeners have not let that lie at all.

The striking thing is Dafydd Meredydd hasn’t shaken up the schedules in a major way (compared to Radio Wales, whose figures are more stable after a daytime revamp last summer) yet he’s still inflicted quite a bit of damage on the brand.

The last time these figures were in such a bad state was when Betsan Powys was in charge (following her stint as BBC Wales political editor) - she initiated Radio Cymru 2 but also ran a ‘Sgwrs’ survey taking in the whole station which in the long term achieved very little. Suffice to say it was her only role in radio management to date.

There was quite a bit of coverage today on both Radio Cymru and Newyddion - infact, I’d ought to state an interest and say I was interviewed by one of S4C’s in-house journos for the Newyddion website in my capacity as an industry commentator (running the Wales account for Radio Today)
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