26 May 1997
Farming Today off the hook
THE BBCs ever-popular radio programme Farming Today has been given a last-minute reprieve by the BBC board of governors and will remain on Radio 4.
Instead of axing the early-morning broadcast, the board of governors decided to move it from 6.10am to 5.50am on weekday mornings. The length of the programme has been cut from 15 to 10 minutes.
The 40-minute Saturday-morning Farming Today has been scrapped and replaced with Farm and Countryside, a magazine programme designed to appeal to town-based listeners with an interest in country issues. The On Your Farm programme which airs on Sunday mornings will keep its slot.
The decision to retain Farming Today has been welcomed by the farming community and the National Farmers Union.
NFU president Sir David Naish said the union had written to both Radio 4 controller James Boyle and the BBC governors expressing its deep concern over reports that the programme could be scrapped.
Speaking after the announcement, Sir David stressed the importance of maintaining a dedicated rural voice on national radio. He described the decision to cut back Farming Todays airtime as regrettable, but he hoped the new formula would encourage more listeners from the non-farming audience to tune in.