A BBC Trust review has concluded that U.K. national AC network Radio 2 needs to be more distinctive and should offer more content for the over-65s.
The review found that the station was highly regarded by audiences but should use its scale to be more distinctive. Radio 2 is the U.K.’s most popular station according to audience research body RAJAR, with a weekly reach of 13.5 million listeners.
The review found that digital-only modern rock network BBC 6 Music was distinctive and well-liked by its listeners, but needed to reach a bigger audience.
There has been a campaign to save 6 Music from the threat of closure, although the BBC’s separate review of digital services will likely have more bearing on that than this review.
“Radio 2 has a large audience who clearly love its output, but the review showed it must break out of the routine with its programming, in particular to be more distinctive during peak time. In contrast, 6 Music has a distinctive approach, but the review concluded that it needed to grow its audience base without losing its USP,” said BBC Trustee David Liddiment, who led the review, in a statement.
“We’re aware of concerns about Radio 2 targeting a younger audience. The current average audience age of 50 is well within the station’s target audience, but the Trust is clear that this must not fall any further, and we would like to see Radio 2 work on its appeal to over 65 year olds.”
In a statement in response, BBC management said it will be revamping and refreshing Radio 2’s arts coverage, aiming to thread arts, documentaries and comedy into the peak time schedule and continuing to target audiences over the age of 35.
The management statement added: “6 Music celebrates the alternative spirit in popular music from the 1960s to the present day and it is encouraging to see that 91% of respondents think that 6 Music introduces them to music that is new to them, indicative of the passion with which its audience listens to the network. However, we note the Trust’s observation that the station needs to reach more listeners.”