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Anger at Half-Hour shift

11 January 2013

by a staff reporter


ONE of the longest-running Christian music programmes on radio has been moved by the BBC from its Sunday-evening slot on Radio 2 to 6 a.m., despite protests from listeners, writes a staff reporter.

Sunday Half-Hour has been running since 1940, and features choral music, hymns, and prayers. Its presenter is Diane Louise Jordan (above).

The BBC argues that the new slot will enable the show to expand to 60 minutes, and will precede the only other Christian music programme on Radio 2, Good Morning Sunday.

A spokesperson said on Tuesday: "We understand how well-loved Sunday Half-Hour is for many regular Radio 2 listeners; so the decision to move the programme has not been taken lightly.

"Over the past decade, the number of people listening to the programme, and, on Sunday nights generally, has declined significantly, and early Sunday mornings actually reach a much wider audience than Sunday evenings." The change would mean that it would be broadcast "at a time when there are both more people listening and an expectation to hear faith-related output".

The audience for Sunday Half- Hour is 246,000 - half what it was a decade ago.

Leigh Hatts, the author of London's 100 Best Churches, said that it was another example of the BBC's sidelining of religion, and urged listeners to protest. He cited the successful campaign to reinstate Choral Evensong, after the BBC tried to move it from Wednesdays to Sundays on Radio 3. Protesters are using online social media to mobilise organists and choirs in their campaign.

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