The Policy of Radio 2 in 2008

- supported by R2OK ! , the Radio 2 Preservation Society

Note: R2OK ! is a listeners' group which has no official connection with the Radio 2 station or the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC).

BBC Radio 2 is available on 88–91 FM, DAB digital radio, digital satellite (channel 1002), digital cable, Freeview and online at

This is a summary of the current Statement of Programme Policy (SOPP), published by the BBC in 2008, relating to BBC Radio 2:

BBC RADIO 2 Service Remit was stated then as:

The remit of Radio 2 is to be a distinctive, mixed music and speech service, targeted at a broad audience, appealing to all age groups over 35.

It should offer entertaining popular music programmes and speech-based content including news, current affairs, documentaries, religion, arts, comedy, readings and social action output.

Delivering the BBC's purposes in 2008/2009:
Radio 2 will continue to contribute towards the delivery of the BBC's public purposes in the range of ways set out in its service licence. Key developments in the way in which the service will contribute to each purpose are outlined below. These are designed to address the priorities identified by the BBC Trust, future-proof the delivery of the purposes, and address perceived gaps in delivery in line with strategies in the BBC's purpose plans.

Key developments:

1. Stimulating creativity and cultural excellence

  • Priority: The Radio 2 Music Club will present a landmark collection of newly commissioned recordings to celebrate the work of British songwriters. The project will evolve from an opening weekly feature in daytime programming into a weekly celebration, with special programmes on some bank holidays. The project will ambitiously feature significant artists from the UK and the world, performing classic British standards and describing their affinity with the music.
  • Priority: We will continue to make a major commitment to UK comedy talent, both new and established. The Out to Lunch strand will be recommissioned and will seek out a new generation of performers, while by contrast we will develop new formats with important artists such as Vic Reeves, Miranda Hart and Alan Carr.
  • In the promotion of live UK music we will provide a platform for both established performers and newcomers. We will work with major recording stars to provide unique concert experiences, including one by Radiohead.

2. Sustaining citizenship and civil society

  • We will explore ways in which the Jeremy Vine programme can be developed to provide greater understanding of political and consumer issues through an enhanced interactive offering that complements the broadcast material.

3. Promoting education and learning

  • 1968 was a watershed in the history of the civil rights movement, the impact of which extended into the social, political and cultural life of the United States and the wider world. Let Freedom Ring is timed to coincide with the 40th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King and the programme aims to explore the complexities of the event through the enduring effect on music.
  • We will provide an insight into the craft of songwriting by recommissioning On Songwriting. The series and its interactive content will bring together three very different types of songwriter to explore their inspiration and to offer advice to those beginning their songwriting careers.

4. Representing the UK, its nations, regions and communities

  • We will explore a British cultural phenomenon, the brass band. The series will reflect the diversity of its presence from the Pennine Hills to the Welsh valleys, Cornish copper towns and Scottish glens. Brass Britain will celebrate this popular though under-represented art form, whose distinctive music dramatises the history of many of our communities.
  • Radio 2 will be presenting a short season of special programming to coincide with Liverpool's role as European Capital of Culture. In Bring on the Dancing Horses we will celebrate the iconic Liverpool club Eric's, which re-established the city as the UK's musical capital at the end of the 1970s, while Out of Liverpool will set out to discover why British arts and entertainment have been so significantly shaped by this great city. Actress Sue Johnston examines You'll Never Walk Alone, a Broadway show tune that has become a powerful international anthem with personal impact and layers of meaning. Finally, in a two-part series, Don't Start Me Talking About..., the story of The Beatles is told entirely through the voices of their fans to create a unique mixture of narrative social history.

5. Bringing the UK to the world and the world to the UK

  • Priority: We will commission one or more special programmes that link British forces serving overseas with their families in the UK.
  • In documentary programming, we will offer an understanding of the significance of Harlem, which has given birth to ideas in music, politics and social development that have had global impact. We will explain how the small New York district has spawned cultural awareness amongst African Americans and celebrate the results.

6. Delivering the benefit of emerging communications technologies

  • The station will promote in particular the digital station BBC 6 Music, including through shared programming that demonstrates 6 Music's musical focus in offering additional material on air and interactively.
  • We will relaunch the Radio 2 interactive proposition, including a redesigned website and an emphasis on delivering content to mobile platforms.

Conditions: BBC purposes and Radio 2 commitments:
Unless otherwise stated, all commitments are minimum hours or percentages and include originations, repeats and acquisitions. All conditions are annual unless otherwise stated.

Stimulating creativity and cultural excellence:

  • 40% of music in daytime from UK acts (Daytime is defined as 06.00–19.00 hours Monday–Friday and 08.00–14.00 hours Saturday–Sunday.)
  • 20% of music in daytime to be new (either unreleased or less than one month since release – physical release, not download release)
  • 260 hours of live music
  • >1,100 hours of specialist music programmes
  • >100 hours of arts programming
  • Contribute to BBC Radio's commitment to commission at least 10% of eligible hours of output from independent producers

Sustaining citizenship and civil society: 16 hours a week of news and current affairs programming, including regular news bulletins (with flexibility for holiday periods and occasional special schedule changes)

Promoting education and learning: 40 new documentaries

Representing the UK, its nations, regions and communities: 170 hours of religious output covering a broad range of faiths

the BBC website has a page with fuller details at SOPP2008/2009

the previous policy statement was summarised at SOPP2007


this page first published 1 November 2007
last updated 3 May 2008

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