Weekend changes at Radio Newcastle

BBC Radio Newcastle is introducing a new news and current affairs magazine programme as the station’s weekend schedule is overhauled for the first time in more than a decade, writes Wale Azeez.

In addition, some reporters will be given opportunities to become presenters. Managing editor Sarah Drummond, left, said the shake-up was part of the Radio Newcastle’s response to a declining weekend audience over the past 12 months.

From Easter, weekend programmes will also begin half an hour earlier, at 6am.

The new, three-hour programme, Sunday Mid-Morning, will begin at 9am and will be presented by guest broadcasters and interspersed with music and sport. It will replace the two-hour phone-in programme Call Tony Cartledge, after the freelance’s departure last month.

“A lot of our weekend programmes have been broadcast for a decade or more and we have strong indications that audiences have moved on and we have not, Drummond said. “I want to make sure that we appeal to as many people as possible in the North East.

“What we do know is that we’ve got to modernise that area of the radio station in terms of the sound, otherwise we’re in danger of not staying up with what’s in fashion in radio.” The weekday schedule was changed about two-and-ahalf years ago.

“We’re also giving the opportunity to some of our longer-standing radio reporters who have broadcasting potential, to present,” Drummond added. “For example, Saturday Breakfast is being presented by Simon Holborn, the early reporter on our weekday breakfast show.”

“Another presenter we’re introducing on Saturdays is Jason Clark, a local guy we’ve been gently developing, who will co-present a Saturday lunchtime show as well as a Thursday night show.

This will be an opportunity for us and with the listeners’ feedback, to the find the next person who’s going to be ideal for the North East audience on a Sunday morning.”

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