Radio 4 Media Show podcast review


I’ve listened to a few Radio 4 media show podcasts in the past and I’ve always found them really insightful and the topics that they talk about really interesting, in the past topics they’ve covered include the Leveson inquiry into press standards, the rise of the YouTuber and the YouTube generation, and the challenges involved with making a programme on mental illness. The topics in this edition of the media show were just as ground-breaking as they covered the Oscar Pistorius trail and having cameras in court, why the circulation of Sunday tabloids is decreasing, and a review into the BBC commissioning process by the BBC Trust. Despite the heaviness of the content in the podcast it felt very inclusive as the social media details for the show and an email address for people to send their questions to were given out, which made it feel more inclusive and in the section about the BBC commissioning process viewer’s questions were put to the interviewees.

The first topic that is covered in the show is the trail of Oscar Pistorius which gives a good insight into what the listener can expect from the show and it sets the tone for the rest of the podcast, in the podcast clips from the trail itself were used and in my opinion were a good way to break up the content and showed the listener what the trail was like. The show featured an interview with the owner of a TV channel setup just to cover the trail which gave me as a listener an better insight into why the channel was setup in the first place, the lines of questioning in the interview were good and the interviewer asked whether it was all in good taste considering the tragedy at the heart of the trail.

It also highlighted to me the restrictions of live broadcasting in court, for example the owner of the TV station mentioned that the cameras didn’t have battery packs or tapes as they would need changing and disrupt the proceedings, and some of the restrictions imposed on them by a court order that allowed the station to exist in the first place. Listening to this section reminded me of a similar programme Channel 4 broadcasted last year, where they had cameras at a murder trial and it made me question whether this is a sign of things to come.

In the section about the decline of the Sunday tabloids there was a good use of stats which helped to put the situation into context for the listener, by saying that red top circulation fell 12% faster than broadsheets over the last year. The presenter in this section did well to spell out and demystify everything that the interviewee was saying to ensure that the audience knew exactly what he was saying; so that they could keep following the conversation and better connect with the content of the podcast.

In the podcast I felt that the producers did well to leave the best content till last. I found that the topic about BBC commissioning the most interesting out of the three topics that were discussed in the podcast for several reasons, the presenter did well to keep the topic interesting and engaging for the audience by using a selection of pre-recorded trailers for Dr Who and Sherlock, use of statistics which showed exactly how much BBC content is made either in house or by an external company over TV and Radio, and putting questions posed by the shows audience to the interviewees. An area I feel that the BBC has been successful in the past is its ability to be self-critical, to ensure that as license payers the listeners are getting the best content at the most reasonable price which is a topic that comes up in the interview.

My main criticism of the podcast was the way it was structured as there were two feature pieces, an interview and a final feature piece, I personally would have left the interview till the end of the podcast because it carried a different tone compared to the other pieces, and it didn’t make sense to change the tone to then revert back to what the tone was originally.

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