Edwin Phillips overhears a discussion in a BBC corridor between the Editors of Radio Wales (RW), Colin Paterson (CP) and Radio Cymru, Betsan Powys (BP), after revelations on The Eye of huge staff discontent that listening figures are now so low, a light Saturday show on RW hosted by a comedian gets better numbers than the morning talk programme.
CP: (Coughing nervously) er, this is actually a great triumph.
BP: (Sternly) what is, your latest RAJAR figures?
CP: Um, yes.
The fact that Owen Money’s programme on Saturdays gets the highest figures is good news.
BP: (Sighs) indeed – more than Good Morning Wales apparently.
I probably shouldn’t ask this, but how do you work out that it’s good news?
CP: Well, er, it means my strategy is, er, working, and I, er, shouldn’t be sacked like everyone says.
Big names like Janice Long and, er, Owen Money, now get the biggest listening figures.
They will attract a more youthful audience too, because, er, Janice is only, er, 63 and Owen is just, er, 70.
BP stares at ceiling.
And, er, (apparently warming to theme) we’re getting an audience ‘reach’ of 335,000 now.
(Coughing again) the fact it is a decrease of 26,000 listeners compared with the previous quarter and a fall of 40,000 year-on-year should be ignored.
BP: (Sighing again) I suppose you think THAT is a triumph too.
CP: (Gleefully and not noticing sarcasm) well of course I do!
It shows real leadership to be Editor of a radio station which has the second lowest reach since the second quarter of 2016, and a ‘share’ of listening at 5.4 per cent, which is of course similar to the previous quarter and down almost a whole point (0.8 per cent) on the same time a year ago.
BP stares at ceiling once more.
CP: We need to shout out our success from the rooftops!
BP: (Glumly) oh yes, we did a fine job of stone walling them at the assembly’s Culture, Welsh Language and Communications Committee, when we said everything in the garden was wonderful.
CP: (Not picking up on the heavy irony) THAT’S RIGHT, and we were quite correct to disregard those jeremiahs who watched it and told that surrilous website The Eye: “The whole meeting was waffle”.
BP: (Staring at ceiling again) I guess you’ll be saying next that we need more staff.
Anyway, I am in a better situation than you.
After all our boss (Rhodri Talfan Davies BBC Wales Director) said: “I don’t accept Welsh is a dying language”.
(More optimistically) and we’ll soon be in that new building (in Cardiff’s Central Square) and Mr Davies has told me a report says it will create 1,900 jobs.
CP: (Once again not picking up on the irony of the point about more staff) umm, we’ve already made strides in the direction of new jobs by advertising for a Deputy Editor!
After all as our advert so rightly said, we want someone to share in the “success story of BBC Radio Wales”.
(CP to self because BP has now disappeared) er, we can’t have too many staff to share in our success can we?
Tomorrow the problems for a paramilitary organisation supporter in setting up a new Welsh independence party.