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
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