BBC World Service’s radio output overnight is familiar to night owls inside the UK who listen on Radio 4 and on DAB, but for the audiences around the world’s time zones, the programmes that run between 03:00 and 08:30 WAT serve some very disparate groups of people.
Started Monday 23 July with some big changes to the programmes in this timeslot.
Until now, at these times you would have heard The World Today, and those listening in Africa would hear Network Africa at half-past the hour. Now however, both these programmes are being replaced by the new Newsday programme from World Service Radio, a single global daily news programme with a particular interest in its audiences in Africa.
So why the change? The current listening experience in Africa is far from ideal – two separate programmes with very different editorial takes on the day’s news, in separate halves of the hour. We want to offer African audiences a single programme that has international news at its heart, but brings the biggest African stories to the world, and covers the biggest international stories with a particular eye on relevance for African audiences.
We’re trying the same thing on BBC World News’ new Focus on Africa bulletin which goes out on the channel at 18:30 each day, and on terrestrial partner stations across the continent.
To do this the BBC brought together the teams from the BBC African Service, and their colleagues in World Service English, along with a presenting team drawn from some of our biggest existing names, and some exciting new talent.
Every day the programme will be co-presented between London and Johannesburg. Lerato Mbele. Formerly of CNBC and SABC, she’s one of southern Africa’s best-known broadcasters. Hearing her live from South Africa every morning will help shape a great new sound for the programme, and engage new audiences for the BBC inside Africa on our FM relay stations and our 48 FM partners across the continent.
Listeners around the world can feel confident they’ll continue to get the range of news and context around the day’s events that they’ve come to expect. Of course, for the first three weeks of the programme’s life, the biggest story is likely to be in London, as the world’s attention turns to the Olympics.
So join the BBC. With the team out on location each day, it’s the perfect launch pad for the new show. And if things sound a little different to what you’ve come to expect, I hope you’ll feel free to let us know what you think.
Listen to the NewsDay audio promo below.