BBC radio station faces 'ageism' charge

26 August 2009

LONDON: RadioCentre, the UK's industry body for commercial radio, has accused the BBC, the nation's publicly-funded broadcaster, of failing to serve its older listeners and "prioritising popularity over public purpose."

Its research suggests that while the average listener of the BBC's Radio 2 station is getting younger, the number of listeners over the age of 65 has declined.

In the past decade, the biggest increase in the station's audience has been a 62% rise in 15 to 34-year-old listeners, who are outside the station's 35-plus target audience. 

RadioCentre claims that programmes appealing to older listeners are being marginalised, while younger music and presenters are often prioritised.
Matt Payton, head of policy at Radiocentre, said that recent data showed an “obsession with younger listeners” at the BBC, despite the fact that “it is in Radio 2's service licence remit that it should serve everyone over 35".

A spokesman for Radio 2 said that the corporation was awaiting the findings of an internal review into the station.

Data sourced from Media Week; additional content by WARC staff