With listener figures down from last year, is BBC Radio 4s Today programme out of date?
Sven Hughes, chief executive and founder of Verbalisation, says YES.
The BBC sits in its own bubble at Broadcasting House – and it still doesnt even realise it, a year after the Brexit vote.
For the revered Today programme, selected interviewees and guests now have such media training that even the most calculated questions are likely to be avoided or hijacked.
The extent to which strategic communications companies now influence our understanding of the entire political landscape means that, even when a story is covered with seeming independence, it is likely that a spin has already been applied, and that genuine editorial interrogation of the issue is virtually impossible.
Sadly, the Today programme, like so much else of the BBCs output, has become a mouthpiece for carefully crafted elite interests and the maintenance of an engineered status quo. It has lost touch with real listeners.
It doesnt surprise me at all to see the emergence of significant alternative commercial news providers, especially online, over recent years.
Alastair Benn, news editor of Reaction, says NO.
Theres an obvious explanation for the Today programmes drop in listening figures.
Last year, over the equivalent period, we had the small matters of a General Election, terror attacks in Manchester and London, and the Grenfell Tower disaster.
This year? Erm, the World Cup, Boris Johnson, and the heatwave.
Bashing the BBC and its presenters is in vogue, and its true that the BBC sometimes gets it wrong.
But thats hardly surprising. Its a national broadcaster operating at a time when the British body politic has never been so fractured over long-term fundamental questions of identity: Britains place in Europe, the troubled future of devolution on the UKs Celtic fringes, and whether the old parties of the left and right can shape and reflect that reality.
In a public square that is crowded with so much noise, the fact that the BBC gets it right – most of the time – is testament both to its democratic ethos and to its gentle, humane outlook.