Sunday Half Hour axed by BBC

A shocking announcement a few minutes ago by the BBC.

BBC Radio 2’s Sunday Half Hour, which has been broadcast weekly for over seventy years, is to be axed.

The ‘replacement’ will go out at 6am under a new name.

This is bad news for all the London churches which feature and those who listen every Sunday evening as part of their weekend routine.

Recently BBC Radio 3 was forced by public opinion to restore the Wednesday choral evensong.

I shall be complaining to the BBC. It is no use in remaining silent about the continued sidelining of religion.

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19 Responses to Sunday Half Hour axed by BBC

  1. David Welch says:

    I hope organists` associations can be mobilised about this.

    I have sent an email already to the Sunday Half-hour web address.

    Remarkably we now have Choral Evensong twice a week, and cathedral attendances are going up to hear good choirs and choral music.

  2. CN says:

    We’re very reliably informed that the only reason there’s going to be a ‘replacement’ programme for SHH at 6 am on Sundays is because Clare Balding, who is replacing Aled Jones on ‘Good Morning Sunday’, has refused to present the show from 6 am.

    As Balding is known to have no interest in either religion or music, we can probably expect a very different GMS too.

    • GS says:

      CN who is your reliable source about Clare? I very, very much doubt this scheduling decision was anything to do with Clare but more about the fact Radio 2 want to give Michael Ball at 2 hour Sunday evening slot.

      Not acceptable however to drop a programme that has been running for 70 years and gives pleasure to so many.

      • CN says:

        It’s complicated and has its roots in 100churches’ initial comment about the deliberate sidelining of religion. For years the bbc top brass have wanted to covertly get rid of everything but tokenistic, shallow and sensationalist religious content.

        This is not an attack on CB, who is a great presenter. She just happens to be a hot property who has expressed a wish to get into radio. When offered the GMS programme, she just called the shots regarding what hours she was prepared to work. MB has also been able to benefit from the sidelining of another religious show – SHH – but no one’s blaming him either.
        It’s all about the top brass getting what they want on Sundays.

        6-7 am – A programme which will not be SHH, but they can pretend that they making more religious content because it’s an hour long show, hoping no one will notice that it actually represents the loss of an hour of an existing show. Despite DLJ’s popularity, this early show is on at a time when many people will not be listening, so it may get low audience figures which will justify axing it at some future date.

        7-9am – A shorter GMS presented by a hot property who will inevitably water down the religious content. But the show is just a stepping stone for CB, and by the time she moves on it will have lost its religious audience, so can be axed as a religious slot.

        7-9pm – MB’s probably excellent but not religious easy listening show.

        Dumb down or dilute religious content and God bothering old fogeys will switch off in droves, leaving only secular shows. Mission accomplished.

  3. Tony Carter says:

    I cannot believe that Radio 2 think that a move to 6am Sunday morning is acceptable.They then tell you that you will be able to listen later in the day/week on BBC I Player . I wonder how many of the older generation have access to I Player and would indeed bother to explore the possiblities of I Player.
    I would be extremely interested to know the listening figures at present and who within the organisation has decided to move this iconic programme.

  4. Paul Newman says:

    I’d like to hear a full justification for this. What/who is on the Religious Broadcasting Advisory Panel now? Whataudience research has been undertaken?.
    I’m afraid we are up against the pressures to minimise any apparent privileging
    of Christian majoritarianism

  5. Jo Siedlecka says:

    It would be a great pity to see this programme end. I can’t find any official statement about this – apart from the mention on the programme. One wonders whether they are planning to say anything or try to fade it away and then say nobody complained. We need to make sure people do let the BBC know how they feel.

  6. David Welch says:

    My reply from Radio 2:

    “”I understand how well loved ‘Sunday Half Hour’ is for many regular BBC Radio 2 listeners. For that reason the decision to move the programme from its place at 8.30pm in the Sunday evening schedule has not been taken lightly. Over the past decade the number of people listening to the programme and on Sunday nights generally has declined significantly, and so we feel it is time to refresh our Sunday evening music offer and that this is also a good time to move ‘Sunday Half Hour’ alongside our other weekly faith programme ‘Good Morning Sunday’. The move will enable us to expand the airtime to an hour and broadcast it at a time when there are both more people listening and an expectation to hear faith-related output.””

    Well! I can hardly believe that more people listen at 6 – 7 am than 8.30 – 9 pm.

    If so, they are a different type of people.

    Many of us listening to SHH are couples or families, and would not obtain the same satisfaction from iPlayer viewing which is nearly always for a single person at a computer screen.

  7. Janet Fearns says:

    Why doesn’t someone not start a page where people who disagree with the BBC decision go and vote? They did that to Piers Morgan in the states, and they got a huge number expressing themselves. Trouble is that many of SHH listeners – like my Mum, for instance – are also computer illiterate and wouldn’t know how to use iPlayer even if she had a computer, which she hasn’t.

  8. David Welch says:

    I have now had a more-detailed reply from Radio 2, which I paste below:

    “”We believe that The Sunday Hour will reach a greater number of listeners in its new – and longer – slot. 521,000 listeners currently tune in to Radio 2 every week, between 6-7am. Sunday Half Hour, on the other hand, reaches only 246,000 listeners in its 8.30pm slot – half the number that were tuning in ten years ago.””

    Am I being tricked with these figures? Is the 6-7am audience on Radio 2 on a Sunday 521,000 listeners, or is that an average for 6-7am for the whole week?

  9. Jane McCrum says:

    This is typical of the BBC they have a Muslim head of religious broadcasting, who represents 3% of the population and yet he is allowed to axe a programme that has been running for over 70 years. I wonder what the number of listeners were when Roger Royle presented the programme or Brian d,arcy. I think we have to protest very loudly about his.

  10. Really sorry to find I can no longer listen to Sunday half-hour at 8.30 p.m. For many years I’ve enjoyed listening to the programme after travelling home by car after the evening service at our church. We really need to mobilise pressure to have it re-instated at its former time!

  11. Linden Edwards says:

    For many years Sunday evening was very relaxing Sunday 1/2Hr followed by The World Hundred Best Tunes.
    What a nice way to finish Sunday and prepare for the week ahead.
    Obviously I’m not the only one unhappy about the changes.
    I’m often up by just after 7 on a Sundaybut I’m not getting up at 6 am to listen to the new Prog.
    Finding it on I player isn’t easy either

  12. John Clarke says:

    After Roger and Brian left the show,it went downhill.Use to look forward on Sunday evening here in Canada to the show.I t went from Anglican hymns to this new type music
    which I didn’t really have an interest in,too bad.

  13. K. Ward says:

    Awake thou that sleepest and arise from the dead and Christ shall give the light.

  14. S Jackson says:

    We were shocked to hear that Sunday half hour is being axed. Are the BBC becoming an atheist organisation? Great Britain is a Christian country – it is part of our roots and therefore it is important to have these programs being aired. Many old people are unable to go to church and enjoy listening. I player is alien to them. Please think again!

  15. Alistair Wills says:

    Very much miss Sunday Half Hour and also Your Hundred Best Tunes!

    You should think about restoring these 2 programmes. Many old folk can not get out to church and SHH was a lifeline for them.

  16. Simon Holloway says:

    Sought to find Sunday Half Hour yesterday only to find it was axed in2013, yet I do not remember much publicity about this in the Christian press at the time. I wonder if Premier Radio has taken over this slot as it is a more contemporary vehicle for such content. However, the original vision of the BBC was to embrace the scripture engraved over the front doorway of Broadcasting House from Philippians 4v8 ‘Whatever is True, noble, right, pure, Lovely, admirable – excellent, worthy of praise – think about (and listen to) such things.’ Where is the BBC now in line with this vision by its founder?

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