|Bethan Sayed AC||Cadeirydd y Pwyllgor|
|Jenny Rathbone AC|
|Mick Antoniw AC|
|Neil Hamilton AC|
|Sian Gwenllian AC|
|Suzy Davies AC|
|Betsan Powys||Golygydd BBC Radio Cymru a Cymru Fyw|
|Editor of BBC Radio Cymru and Cymru Fyw|
|Colin Paterson||Golygydd BBC Radio Wales|
|Editor of BBC Radio Wales|
|Rhys Evans||Pennaeth Strategaeth ac Addysg, BBC Cymru Wales|
|Head of Strategy and Education, BBC Cymru Wales|
|Steve Johnson||Uwch Ddarlithydd, Ysgol y Diwydiannau Creadigol a Diwylliannol Caerdydd, Prifysgol De Cymru|
|Senior Lecturer, Cardiff School of Creative & Cultural Industries, University of South Wales|
|Lowri Harries||Dirprwy Glerc|
|1. Cyflwyniad, ymddiheuriadau, dirprwyon a datgan buddiannau||1. Introductions, apologies, substitutions and declarations of interest|
|2. Radio yng Nghymru: sesiwn dystiolaeth 3: Prifysgol De Cymru||2. Radio in Wales: Evidence Session 3: University of South Wales|
|3. Radio yng Nghymru: sesiwn dystiolaeth 4: BBC||3. Radio in Wales: Evidence Session 4: BBC|
|4. Papurau i’w nodi||4. Papers to note|
|5. Cynnig o dan Reol Sefydlog 17.42 i benderfynu gwahardd y cyhoedd o'r cyfarfod||5. Motion under Standing Order 17.42 to resolve to exclude the public from the meeting|
Cofnodir y trafodion yn yr iaith y llefarwyd hwy ynddi yn y pwyllgor. Yn ogystal, cynhwysir trawsgrifiad o’r cyfieithu ar y pryd. Lle mae cyfranwyr wedi darparu cywiriadau i’w tystiolaeth, nodir y rheini yn y trawsgrifiad.
The proceedings are reported in the language in which they were spoken in the committee. In addition, a transcription of the simultaneous interpretation is included. Where contributors have supplied corrections to their evidence, these are noted in the transcript.
Dechreuodd y cyfarfod am 09:34.
The meeting began at 09:34.
Diolch a chroeso i'r Pwyllgor Diwylliant, y Gymraeg a Chyfathrebu. Eitem 1, cyflwyniad, ymddiheuriadau, dirprwyon a datgan buddiannau—a oes gan unrhyw Aelod rhywbeth i'w ddatgan yma heddiw? Nac oes. Mae ymddiheuriadau. Cafwyd ymddiheuriadau gan Rhianon Passmore; ni chafwyd unrhyw ymddiheuriadau eraill, ond rydw i ar ddeall bod Mick Antoniw yn styc mewn traffig ger Caerdydd, ond nid ydym ni'n disgwyl unrhyw ddirprwyon yn y cyfarfod heddiw.
Thank you and welcome to the Culture, Welsh Language and Communications Committee. Item 1, introductions, apologies, substitutions and declarations of interest—does any Member have any declarations of interest to make today? No. There are apologies. We've received apologies from Rhianon Passmore; no other apologies have been received, but I understand that Mick Antoniw is stuck in traffic just on the outskirts of Cardiff, but we don't expect any substitutions in the meeting today.
Rydym ni'n symud ymlaen felly at eitem 2, y sesiwn ar radio yng Nghymru, sesiwn dystiolaeth 3, gyda Phrifysgol De Cymru, a chroeso i Steve Johnson, uwch-ddarlithydd Ysgol y Diwydiannau Creadigol a Diwylliannol Caerdydd. Diolch yn fawr iawn i chi am ddod atom heddiw a diolch eto am eich tystiolaeth ysgrifenedig. Roedd hi'n ddefnyddiol iawn inni fel pwyllgor i fframio'r drafodaeth yn hynny o beth. Mae'r cwestiynau sydd gennym ni fel Aelodau ar wahanol themâu. So, os yw'n iawn gyda chi, byddwn yn gofyn cwestiynau heb eich bod yn gwneud datganiad i gychwyn. Wedyn, byddwn ni'n caniatáu ichi roi ateb, os yw hynny'n iawn.
We move on, therefore, to item 2 of this session, on radio in Wales and this is evidence session 3, with the University of South Wales, and welcome to Steve Johnson, senior lecturer at Cardiff School of Creative and Cultural Industries. Thank you very much to you for joining us today and thank you once again for your written evidence. It was very useful to us as a committee to frame the discussion in this regard. We have questions as Members on different themes, so, if it's okay with you, we will ask our questions without any preamble and we will move straight into questions and then allow you time to respond.
Y cwestiwn sydd gen i yw ar effaith refeniw isel radio masnachol lleol yng Nghymru ar gynnwys lleol yng Nghymru. Rydym ni'n gweld bod y sector yn wan yma yng Nghymru yn hynny o beth. Beth yw'ch barn chi ar hynny? Hefyd, ynglŷn â strwythurau radio masnachol, mae yna bedwar cwmni sy'n dominyddu'r sector yma yng Nghymru. Sut wyt ti'n credu bod hynny'n effeithio ar y diaspora o newyddion a'r hyn sy'n digwydd ar radio masnachol yma yng Nghymru?
The question that I have is on the impact of low revenue of local commercial radio in Wales on local content in Wales. We see that the sector is relatively weak in Wales in that regard. What's your opinion on that? Also, in terms of the structure of commercial radio, there are four dominant companies in the sector in Wales. So, how do you believe that that impacts on the diaspora of news and what happens on commercial radio here in Wales?
Okay. I preprared my presentation predominantly on community radio, because community is the thing that is really my area of expertise. I've worked in commercial radio—the BBC, et cetera—but—. One of the themes that goes through my document, I hope, is a need to enhance, improve and ameliorate the indigenous radio industry and culture within Wales. One of the worries, of course, with radio coverage—and, in particular, news—throughout Wales, with various kinds of operators dominating the scene, is the paucity, really, of locally generated news for the communities of Wales. As things go forward the indications are that that may change even further, with more news coverage operations moving even out of Wales to London and England. It's important that Wales has a voice, you know, and it is important that Welsh news is covered. Because if you're listening to local commercial radio and there isn't much being spoken about your local community, it's obviously simply a bad thing for Wales, really, and something that needs to be taken into account as the current legislative changes go through. It's important that Wales's news coverage has a clear, potent voice.
Rydw i'n cydnabod dy fod yn canolbwyntio ar radio cymunedol, ond, yn amlwg, mae sut y mae radio cymunedol yn gweithio yn cael effaith, efallai, ar sut y mae'r system fasnachol yn gweithio hefyd. Y cwestiwn sydd gen i o'r papur—. Rŷch chi'n dweud, gan nad oes yna ddatganoli pwerau o ran y sector yma yng Nghymru, ei bod hi'n anodd gweld newidiadau hyd nes bod datganoli. Sut y bydd hynny'n effeithio ar y sector yma'n benodol, pe byddai yna bwerau yma yng Nghymru?
I recognise the fact that you focus on community radio, but, clearly, the way that community radio works has an impact, perhaps, on how the commercial system works as well. The question I have from the paper—. You say that, as there is no devolution of powers with regard to this particular sector in Wales, it's difficult to see changes being made until devolution were to happen. How would that impact on this sector specifically, if these powers were to be here in Wales?
Well, again, my stance on all of this is quite philosophical, really, and I think community radio—if you go to radio events, community radio is one of the forgotten cousins of radio almost, really, and what it has to offer is often not recognised. Because what community radio does differently to commercial, and even to the BBC, is that it's ground-up—it's a ground-up communicator. It's there predominantly, really, to give these local communities a voice and to generate hyperlocal content to talk about issues that are happening and that are pertinent to them locally. I mean the BBC—of course, here in Wales, BBC Radio Wales is a very fine and impressive organisation, but, unusually, compared to the rest of the UK, we don't have local radio as such here. So, there's an impact from that. So, community radio gives you this opportunity to get the indigenous, ground-up information from the actual communities and lots of stories that will never actually get covered that are very significant locally. Community radio has an opportunity, I think, to be that funnel of information for local communities. I think there'd be a great benefit to the communities of Wales if that was to be supported.
Ocê. Diolch. Cwestiynau nawr gan Neil Hamilton.
Okay. Thank you. Questions now from Neil Hamilton.
The Ofcom Advisory Committee for Wales has argued that we need to introduce a regulatory concept of all-Wales news, and you have yourself strongly advocated—or pointed to—the lacuna in the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport proposals, where they talk about local news and UK-wide news but omit that intermediate tier of, in this particular instance, all-Wales news. Are there any practical difficulties in the way of having an all-Wales news coverage, given the geography of Wales, do you think?
Well, I mean, Wales is notoriously mountainous. Again, using the example of the BBC, they have a phenomenal amount of transmitters and there are technical ramifications in that. It is certainly challenging. It also comes back, of course, to the ever improving, luckily, provision of digital broadcasting services throughout Wales. Wales seems to be heading forward quite well in that regard. It certainly wouldn't be easy. It's not straightforward, which is another reason why I would again—[Interruption.] Not quite the same thing, but I would again argue that—. Morning.
I would again point towards the great attraction, really, of community radio as a gateway to hyperlocal news, which maybe could be fed in elsewhere as a starting point towards that. Certainly, there are quite a lot of practical difficulties and there's a long road ahead. I think Wales is probably—it's certainly not overserved, I don't think, by radio operations and news operations at the moment, apart from the BBC. There's definitely room to greatly enhance that.
The BBC is obviously super dominant, by virtue of the way in which it's funded and the length of time it's been around, and it's not subject to the same sorts of pressures that commercial organisations are.
Different pressures—exactly, quite. So, to what extent does an all-Wales news service matter, do you think—people, say, in north-east Wales being so far removed from the Cardiff Bay bubble? Are we in danger of getting things out of perspective down here? How much public interest is there, or can be generated?
I would guess, here at the Senedd, that there's quite a significant number of North Walians present. The issue in Wales, obviously, is that—
By way of a change. [Laughter.]
It's always the argument—quite genuinely, I think—that comes from the north and the less populated areas of Wales that everything seems to be very Cardiff-centric in terms of news coverage. The BBC often have those kinds of accusations pointed their way, maybe not always legitimately, but certainly there are cases where it tends to be quite Cardiff-centric. The whole of Wales is such a fascinating place. If you travel around Wales and you go to different communities, every community in Wales has a story to tell. There's a lot going on that just never gets recognised, mentioned or taken note of, really.
Indeed, and that's where community radio can help to address that balance—or imbalance, rather.
Well, I think so, enormously.
The other public policy issue that we've taken a great deal of interest in is a requirement for local production and getting away from this top-down mentality that we've had in the past where everything is concentrated in a major city like Cardiff. We need to try to spread out more and to create more local journalism. We've been looking at this, obviously, in the case of printed media, but it's also vitally important in relation to broadcast media.
I work for the University of South Wales, but Cardiff University have done some extraordinary work in that territory with their Centre for Community Journalism and their focus on citizen journalism and, again, ground-up newsgathering, which is a really exciting form of news, I think, and citizen participation, which is a huge part of what community radio has to offer.
Can I just ask a question on that? You pointed to the fact that we've already looked at this in print media, which is absolutely right, and one of the questions we looked at then was this distinction between social-media voices, if you like, and professional community journalism. We're struggling to find it a little bit at community level. So, it's going to impact on community radio just as much as it would on a community piece of printed media as well. Do you think there's—? Is there enough of a pool of good-quality community journalists out there, just at the moment? I'm not saying it can't get bigger.
Probably not. Probably not, no, at the moment. But I think there's an obvious link between citizen journalism and citizen participation and community radio, which is, as yet, those two things don't coincide. I think if there was sustainability, of course, which continues to be a big issue for community operations—
Sorry, the reason I ask that is: would we need that growth in the pool before the idea of an all-Wales news service, outside the BBC, would be feasible or valuable?
If I can borrow Neil's line and play devil's advocate, I'd possibly come at it the other way. Maybe it's kind of chicken and egg. I think there's a great need to develop it. With nurturing and support, maybe we can move in that direction and improve the situation. It's not there now, I don't think, but I think it's something that is certainly worth pursing and supporting.
Symudwn ymlaen, os nad yw Neil am ddod yn ôl, at fwy o gwestiynau nawr yng nghyd-destun radio cymunedol yn benodol, ac mae Mick Antoniw yn arwain.
Moving on now, if Neil doesn't have any supplementaries, to further questions in the context of community radio specifically, and Mick Antoniw is leading on this.
Thank you for that. Of course, I was listening to my local community radio, GTFM, as I was coming in, telling me that there was an accident and the traffic was backed up. So, apologies for being a little bit late. But what is the general state of community radio, really, in Wales? There have been changes to funding—the community fund is no longer available, and so on—and it seems to me that it's struggling.
I have a close affinity with GTFM. I actually helped to launch them, with the university, 16 years ago. I know, without going into detail, they’re having a tough time at the moment. They, of course, were the first community radio station in Wales—part of the initial tranche of developing community radio throughout the UK. There were 15 throughout the UK. They were there because of where they're sited and because of the history and social deprivation stakes, et cetera. But they're certainly suffering. They're a good example, actually. GTFM are suffering, and most other stations are.
They've all got their own individual issues and needs. One thing that was very useful was when there was a localised community radio fund for stations in Wales. My connections with the community radio network say that that is greatly missed. I know we live in austere times and things are tough, but if there was any way of reinitiating something like that or reintroducing some sort of fund that gave them some sort of comfort zone, I think, again, it would be money well spent. But they're in a parlous state really throughout Wales.
Of course, there were the issues with Point up in Rhyl, and other stations. The Radio Beca story that I tell here, which would have been this fantastic operation serving Welsh-speaking communities throughout the heartland of Wales, which didn't work out, is indicative of the kind of difficulties that the sector encounters. There are a whole number of economic challenges that they face in the north, of course, with 'local' radio stations such as Heart, et cetera, and the ability to sell advertising.
Some of the legislation has been softened recently, and that's a step in the right direction, but they're really struggling to stay afloat. I think the way forward is for them, as I try to argue here, to articulate with each other and integrate with each other and help and support each other, but hopefully with the support of yourselves, wherever possible, to help them, because it's of great benefit to us in Wales that it survives and eventually prospers.
There are a couple of questions that follow on from that. Firstly, just for the record as much as anything, how do you summarise that actual value added of community radio? What does it bring that we don't get from everything else?
Well, by its very nature, it's community led. It's community radio. My argument is that there's a community of communities. These stations are disparate, they're varied, they represent different communities, they have different music policies, they have different approaches to Welsh language—for example, Môn FM in Anglesey—they do things in different ways, but what they are trying to be is a gateway and a voice for the local communities.
Also, on top of that as well, I have accredited radio training courses that I can no longer deliver— again, subject to funding changes—but the idea behind that was ground-up progression routes for people from local communities who would never have considered university. The chip was there on the shoulder—grampy didn't do it, my father didn't do it, et cetera—in these Valleys communities. It was about opening up their mindsets and transferable skills and ground-up, progressive opportunities for people.
The media, particularly community radio, radio as such, is so cheap, it's so cheerful, it's so immediate, it's so easy to get involved in—you can sit in front of the microphone and you're on air. If I walk into a community radio station, such as Radio Cardiff, which is about 500m from here, I could end up on air. If I go to the BBC, that's certainly not going to happen. In commercial radio, it's never going to happen. So, it's an absolute avenue of opportunity and progression for people in Wales.
Can I follow on, then, on the funding point you make? Because you make a very good point about the community radio fund, the impact that has had in not having that cushion, and that's set out in the papers. Chair, I understand there is a paper from Terry Threadgold from GTFM that deals with some of that, which I thought was a good summary. But one point that's made is, certainly, in my experience of community radio, it is very localised. You can hear it in Pontypridd market, people have it on in the shops and things like that. It is very localised. There's a lot of Welsh Government campaigning, but one of the funding aspects is, of course, very few of those campaigns actually seem to then be booking space on community radio. Is that an experience—is that common? Is that a problem?
Totally. Totally common. Like I said earlier, community radio, it's almost forgotten. People don't notice radio. Radio's something that, when you drive in your car, goes in one ear and comes out the other; you're doing your ironing, it's just on in the background. But community radio is even further down that route. GTFM—I think it was 2002 that it launched, if I remember—there are still people who've never even heard of GTFM, even in their own community. So, it's a case of getting the message out, but I don't know how you break that down in terms of advertisers. They're not going to be appropriate to the big brands, Coca-Cola, et cetera, but, local companies, if they wanted to actually communicate with local people in their near vicinity and get a message into the right ear locally, then community radio is the perfect vehicle for that.
Do you think it would help if there was a specific approach from, I suppose, Government when it is engaging in, for example, its public health promotions on radios and so on that there was an obligation to engage with community radio? It seems to me that it gets into homes that some radio doesn't, but equally it is another way of actually ensuring that a certain amount of funding goes in through advertising.
I think that would be fantastic and beneficial to both parties, really. I don't know how you go about enforcing that, I suppose, but it would certainly be a big step in the right direction. That kind of communication, public interest information and campaigns, et cetera, is certainly a good way forward for community radio.
Well, one of the issues that arises in the papers—and I've been told this many times as well—is of course that, in order to promote advertising, as well as more general private advertising, you've got to be able to carry out some sort of work in terms of audience figures and so on. You've got to be able to tell what it is you're actually giving to advertisers. Bearing in mind that community radio can only raise a certain amount of money on that, what sort of obstacle does that create and what could we do about it? Is it really coming down to the fact that some sort of support is needed in supporting community radio to be able to obtain these figures or to carry out this sort of research and to put it on a level playing field with some of the other radio producers?
Obviously, RAJAR is just too expensive for community radio operators to deal with. They just literally can't afford it. But I think the way forward for that, in a number of ways—and it's starting to happen now a bit more than it has in the past—is, again, through just coming together and sharing and syndication and networking and collaboration. Because then, if I was running a station like Point in Rhyl—and they have a 5 km radio station, so they haven't got a massive output—if I say, I've got x amount of listeners that I'm trying to sell to you as an advertiser, you may or may not be interested, but if I said, 'Look, I've got this advertising house representing the community radio stations around Wales covering the whole community radio sector', then I think that becomes of more interest.
I think the way forward, again, for stations is further articulation and coming together and collaboration. There is a Wales community radio network that I set up with Hywel William. I'm sure you are familiar with Hywel William. We've been running a number of initiatives on that, but the problem that we have with the network is—I think of the people who run the community radio stations like hamsters in a wheel. They get in in the morning, spin around and around, they go home again. To actually get out of that and stop and have time to develop, it is not often there, and they also don't have the resources and they don't have the finances. So, I think some more networking, more shared collaborative activity, which brings them together, where they help each other, is definitely the way forward. But also, that safety blanket of some sort of funding from Wales to the community radio sector would really be fantastic.
A couple of very short questions, then. Firstly, is community radio worth saving, and, secondly, do you think the problem is that it's gone off the Government's radar to some extent?
Two interesting questions. Well, I'm a passionate supporter of community radio. I've worked in commercial radio and BBC radio. I'm a senior lecturer in media. Community radio is, without any shadow of doubt, the most fascinating form of broadcasting—well, certainly, operating within Wales. I mean, for me, there are different stories that these operations have to tell. But, again, going back to the opportunities that prevail there to develop this ground-up opportunity for people to immerse themselves locally within media and use that as an educational tool to progress, advance, widen their horizons, develop transferable skills, maybe consider taking it further and doing some more formalised education along the way, towards further education and higher education et cetera, is a fantastic thing. It generally gives communities a voice, which, again, is an amazing thing. I think, on the aspect of training, if there was a way to break that vicious circle and make that affordable, that might be something that, again, may be for the universities. We also need to collaborate and find a way of being able to deliver training, which used to happen before, which was at the point of demand. So, they'd go into their local station, in the local area, with people that they knew, and they were receiving accredited training with bursaries. So, that model was fantastic, but it's currently not achievable, but it's one that would be a very good thing to do because, again, that would really solidify the educational outcomes from it.
And your second question was—
Do you get the feeling that community radio has slipped off the radar?
To some extent I think it has, yes. In a way, it's kind of understandable, with all the issues that have been going on with other parts of the radio industry and the media industry. I think community radio do their thing, and because they're not overt enough and there's not enough recognition and awareness of them, they're just quietly doing their thing. That's all fine, from the perspective of, maybe, Government, but I think it needs to be recognised that they have something to offer that is quite unique and special.
Diolch. Roedd y rheini'n atebion cynhwysfawr iawn, a diddorol hefyd. Mae gan Siân Gwenllian gwestiwn atodol ar hwn.
Thank you. They were very comprehensive and interesting answers. Siân Gwenllian has a supplementary on this.
Roeddwn i jyst eisiau dilyn un trywydd yr oeddech chi wedi'i godi yn y fan honno, sef hyfforddiant, ac yn meddwl yn uchel, a dweud y gwir, onid oes yna dipyn mwy y gall y ganolfan astudiaethau newyddiadurol, er enghraifft, a chyrsiau eraill ar draws Cymru ar gyfer darpar newyddiadurwyr—? Onid oes yna lawer mwy y gall y sector fod yn ei wneud o ran rhoi profiad gwaith a chefnogi radio cymunedol?
Yes, I just wanted to ask, following the point that you made there about training, and thinking aloud, to tell you the truth: isn't there quite a lot more that the centre for journalism studies and other courses for prospective journalists—? Isn't there a lot more that that sector could be doing in terms of providing work experience and supporting community radio?
Well—thinking how to word with this now—I used to be the award leader for a BA radio course, and the BA radio course is no more. There was a television course that is no more. It all comes down to numbers and it comes down to viability. Students—the numbers have to be right, et cetera. Of course, Cardiff University are doing some excellent things, as I say, with some journalism projects. My personal belief is that there's very much a need for—and I think that the University of South Wales would be an obvious candidate to lead such an initiative—and there's very much an argument for exactly what you've said, Siân, which is to encourage links, again, and more articulation between the academic institutions in Wales, the kind of pan-academic activity, working with local communities, again, to support from the ground and bring those people through. It's something that I'm personally looking at, but of course, eventually, I'd need the support from the university. In my case, I'm thinking there's very much a need for at least an undergraduate, if not MA, in community media, with a big strand of radio running through it. And, obviously then, when you think about the word 'community,' of course the word 'community' is quite contentious itself as there are different interpretations of it.
But in terms of the people who I work with at the university, there are people who are artists, photographers, they work in tv, they create film, they create animation, I do radio, we've got the journalists. It should be an indigenous melting pot of creative content that feeds that need within Wales. I totally agree with you.
But it's not just Cardiff, of course, as there are colleges all over.
No, of course not. I have links with Glyndŵr, Trinity and other universities, and where there have been community radio stations, then those partnerships have evolved. But certainly, universities, we can't be an island in the storm either; we have to work together. I just wanted to mention this, actually, from Bob Shennan's speech to the Radiodays Europe conference just a few days ago, and he wasn't talking about community radio at all, but he's talking about technological advancements. He's talking about when he gets together with other agencies at conferences:
'For many years, they gathered as allies and rivals—public radio versus commercial, and commercial versus commercial, et cetera, but it's now time to come together as one united radio industry to secure our future.'
And that kind of ethos again runs through it. It is about building these new links and new relationships, and working with others. It's not the time to be closing the door and saying, 'This is me, this is what I do,' and so on. We have to come together.
Just before Suzy moves on to DAB, can I just ask a question based on your answer to Mick Antoniw in terms of the syndicate that exists? I was wondering, in relation to the radio situation, whether you could come together to ask them if they would provide a low-cost service to community radio stations for audience measurement, but come together as a syndicate, as opposed to individual community radio stations applying, because then you would be able to pool that resource for certain purposes. That was a recommendation made by Marc Webber, and I just wondered, instead of Welsh Government funding that, whether a syndicate could do that.
I would totally support that, and what we've done at the university a number of times is that we've had various symposia and seminars, occasionally, in a room not quite as grand as this, but we've managed to get community radio stations into the same room to discuss and talk with each other and share their experiences, and that's fantastically useful.
The problem that we have is—going back to the hamsters-in-the-wheel thing—they're all so busy and they have so little money, they have so little time, they have such limited resources, they're literally chasing their tail from one second to the next. But to get people together and discuss would be very valuable, and that's certainly something that has been put to them before, in fact. I know there's interest in it, and I would like to try and set up another event to try and get them together. Last time, Môn FM were communicating with us via Skype, which is fab. At least we're communicating with each other.
I don't know what the protocol is for this, but I would say openly here that I would love it if I could get a representative from this committee to come to such an event, if possible, and maybe be part of that process of communicating with the community radio stations, trying to get them to engage with each other and see what value it could be for Wales, really.
We'll see. I'd be happy to come, and I'm sure other AMs would be too.
It's an informal comment, but I would love that, if it was possible.
Ocê. Diolch yn fawr iawn. Suzy Davies.
Okay. Thank you very much. Suzy Davies.
I'll just come onto DAB in a second. I just want to explore that a little bit further because collaboration has always got value to it. Do you see the possibility, then, if the community radio combined voice is strong enough, that that might actually push some leverage into producing an all-Wales news service? I appreciate that relates to commercial radio as well, but one of the things I notice with my local community radio is, during the talk sessions, in between the music, the news is very strong and it's very local. And then, on the hour, we get a drop-out to some random wire buy-in bulletin that doesn't even get a Welsh voice on it sometimes. Can you give me just a sense of where those wire—? Where are they buying their on-the-hour news from?
I'd say probably Sky News, maybe.
Which is your community radio?
Okay. I know Tircoed. So, they're probably—
Okay. Most community radio stations, and most commercial stations, traditionally, have used a syndicated news service. It used to be IRN and then it became Sky, and, obviously, it's for the UK, so there's very little Welsh content. Unless it's a major story, they don't tend to mention Wales too much, but another encouraging thing that's been going on recently—. My impression is that community radio stations are starting to partner up a bit more with commercial stations, actually, and there is a recognition that they can work together to a certain extent. Certainly, that is where community radio can feed stories in and work with better resourced commercial partners to improve, I think, the provision of Welsh-based stories in Wales.
I'm pleased to hear that because, obviously, commercial radio itself is sort of under scrutiny a little at the moment about how local that is as well, so if there's any chance of mutual exchange of relatively local information, that's got to be good.
I know that, locally, I think Radio Cardiff have had conversations at least with Nation. I'm not going into the ins and outs of this conversation, but there's a conversation that is starting to take place, and certainly that would be a good output from that.
Well, the BBC's been helping in Cardiff as well, hasn't it, in terms of mentoring? Can you tell us a little bit about that experience and whether you think that's worth rolling out, particularly as the BBC is going to be planting local journalists all over the press in Wales at some point?
I've got a number of opinions on that. The link between the BBC and community radio over the years—I would sort of describe it as kind of a—
This is just specific to this mentoring scheme. I think Jenny's got some other questions about the BBC for you.
I think I would describe it in some ways as a kind of avuncular kind of relationship, like a great uncle, if you like, and the BBC is such a slow-moving vehicle; it's a juggernaut. It doesn't move very quickly, and community radio need things to happen quite quickly. For reasons of its size, apart from anything else, the BBC is quite a difficult vehicle to move and this articulation needs to move quite quickly, really.
Oh, it's absolutely to be encouraged, yes, and more of it. Going back to the point that was made by Neil earlier, it's also about outside of Cardiff and other parts of Wales. You know, it's time to get that story out.
Okay, so it could be people other than the BBC doing the mentoring there.
Well, it could be, yes. It could be commercial radio operators. There are those in Wales who have quite decent news provision and may well be prepared to help each other, yes, I hope, in terms of, at least, story sharing et cetera, and also in terms of mentoring and a certain amount of sharing skills. Commercial radio won't want community radio to get too good at it, I wouldn't think, but there may be mutual meeting points.
Yes, places where they can meet.
Perhaps if I can ask you about DAB, then. There were some concerns on this committee that the switchover to DAB is—there's a possibility now that the thresholds have been met across the UK but Wales is behind the curve considerably and even asking our major radio stations to just go to DAB is a bit of a question mark, for me anyway. There have got to be some advantages, presumably, to community radio going on to DAB as soon as possible, then. Is that realistic?
Well, obviously, the turn-off has been recently kind of put back. We don't know when that will happen now. I would come back to the 50 per cent mark and the car industry and the automotive industry, et cetera. I don't know with DAB. On DAB for community radio, again, it comes back to costs, which are extremely expensive, so the low-power DAB initiatives, which took place elsewhere in the UK where they were part of projects—there weren't any in Wales—were highly successful. On the trials, they did a report in 2016. They co-ordinated this series of DAB small-scale, more affordable trials, and basically they concluded that they were highly successful and achieved their objectives, showing that a small-scale approach to DAB transmission is technically sound. It helped Ofcom, the trialists and wider industry to understand the practical requirements for successfully sustaining DAB radio transmissions using the small-scale approach. That's the way forward, I think, for smaller stations, because DAB is so prohibitively expensive.
I was just going to say—because local DAB has got to reach 90 per cent coverage before we consider switchover. I think that's like a fantasy for Wales.
Yes. I don't know how it works in Wales with this, but these trials were very successful elsewhere in the UK. There are no plans to run such trials in Wales, but the model has been proven to work quite well and is significantly more affordable.
Right. Thank you. Just very briefly, I appreciate that you say that, if broadcasting were devolved, that would make life a lot easier for ensuring that there's more Welsh-language coverage—on all radio platforms, for that matter. But, bearing in mind that it's not devolved and that community radio is a very specific sector, if you like, could you just help me to understand how much discretion local community radio has about how much Welsh it broadcasts and how much discretion Ofcom has got to perhaps impose conditions?
Well, I don't honestly know an answer to the second part of that question. I don't know how that works, but the community radio stations themselves, in terms of their licensing commitments and promises of performance et cetera—they can negotiate those with Ofcom as part of their licence commitments. For example, Môn FM, obviously, is pretty much 100 per cent Welsh.FootnoteLink There are other stations in Wales that have some Welsh language provision. Even GTFM, which is very much an English-speaking community, really—they quite intelligently and strategically pepper their music policy with Welsh-language pop music, which is quite a nice touch. Again, they've always had a good relationship, going back to the BBC thing, where they have shared appointments with news et cetera. So, they're doing some interesting things. I think the 3 o'clock news goes out from the BBC on GTFM—I think I'm right in saying that.
Rydym yn symud ymlaen nawr at gwestiynau am y BBC, ac mae Jenny Rathbone yn arwain.
We're moving on now to questions about the BBC, and Jenny Rathbone has those.
You earlier described the BBC as avuncular and slow. Should we expect something better of them in terms of nurturing community radio?
I wasn't being overly critical there. I have worked for the BBC. They're a big, huge organisation, so it's difficult for them to move quickly. I think that's the way it is. I think there are certainly advantages, and I think the BBC is starting to—well, they have recognised it for a while, actually. There are advantages in them having more working links with community radio operations, I think, and more outposts emerging as a result. These hyperlocal stories can come through and, in return, the community radio stations benefit from the expertise and skills of people within the BBC. There have been links over the years, and I think it's something to be encouraged—
Well, it's certainly a win-win for both parties, but you're saying that it's—well, it's not happened for a variety of reasons. If we had opt-out news on Radio 1 and Radio 2, that might obviously generate more local news on the BBC, listened to by more Welsh people, because, at the moment, they're getting all the news from London, in the main. So, do you think that's one of the triggers that might actually sort of regenerate that sort of collaboration?
I actually wasn't aware of that initiative, but it sounds like a really interesting idea—
Well, Tony Hall talked about it when he came to talk to us about having news opt-outs, just like they do on television.
It was a committee recommendation in our previous report as well, suggesting that, because of the propensity of people who listen to especially Radio 2 in Wales, there could be an opt-out for news for Wales. Sorry, Jenny.
I don't know how—. I don't know whether anyone else here knows that, actually. I wonder how that would be welcomed by the listenership. I don't know.
I wonder how the listenership would respond that and how—
No, but it's a really interesting idea though, isn't it?
Well, it's one of the things that could happen, because obviously one of the biggest problems for us and for the Welsh Government is that the political discourse is weak because most people are listening to radio produced outside Wales and reading newspapers produced outside Wales. So, obviously, you make a good case for the role that community radio can play in terms of community cohesion, but they can't do it on their own. And we all pay the licence fee—
Oh no, definitely, they can't do it on their own, no.
We all pay the licence fee, so when community radio goes to the BBC to ask for either technical training or indeed sharing airwaves, even, what is the response? Have they even asked?
I'm not aware of that. One crazy idea I had a few years ago—I'll mention it now, since I've started, but it is a mad idea, really. I did investigate this a little bit. I put it together again as a kind of philosophical proposition, really. But I wonder how people would respond throughout Wales—and throughout the UK in fact—if a tiny percentage of the licence fee was more overtly directed towards community media. I wonder how they'd feel about that. I think it's an interesting one—if it was a tiny percentage. And then there's an overt outcome that is visible/audible and they're giving something back to their communities and giving their communities a voice. It's a totally hypothetical idea, but I just wonder—it's probably a non-starter at the moment, but I just generally wonder how people would react to that idea.
Yes, it could be in kind.
Because the most expensive part of the whole operation is news gathering, so if community radio is to move beyond just transmitting one person's opinion, it needs support.
So, have the community radio people you meet with talked about this as a way of enhancing their offer?
Well, they haven't really talked about much, because they don't really talk to each other. When I did my research, when I travelled around north Wales—. I'm Cardiff born and bred, this is my home city, but I've been to north Wales, and north Wales is a big place once you start travelling around it. Even people at Calon FM in Wrexham didn't really know the people at Tudno FM in Llandudno, and then you had Point FM over in Rhyl and of course Môn FM in Anglesey—they're far enough away even there that they don't, in their little spinning wheels, even communicate with each other. But it's certainly a fantastic example of the useful dialogue that they could have if they can be encouraged and supported to work together.
Before you move on, Jenny, is it okay if I ask a question based on that? Because when I've gone on community radio shows, they've lauded the fact that they can be more free with how they do their programming and what questions they ask. If you had a slice or a part of a fund from the BBC, do you think that would confine community radio to rules—? Actually, it's quite liberating to go onto community radio and hear some of the things they discuss, as opposed to, sometimes—it can be quite stiff and bureaucratic if you're discussing things on the BBC. Not wanting to disparage the BBC overtly. Mick.
I wanted to just follow on from that. Here is the crux of the problem: there is a tremendous potential for community radio, but it's struggling to keep its head above water. It's not a question of not wanting or being able to communicate around with the others on a common interest; it's that they all seem to be struggling, basically, just to keep going. There isn't the time or the resource to actually move to that next level, and that's what our interest might be—how do we actually support them to move to a level where they can really maximise their impact?
There's a bit of an ethical quandary, isn't there, really, in terms of—ultimately, community radio stations need to be independently viable and sustainable, but at the moment, they're in such a parlous place, it's how to get them to a sustainable position, I suppose. There have been, obviously, limitations on advertising, as we know. That's been softened a little bit. They're never going to be, I don't think, particularly competition to their commercial partners in the way that sometimes it's perceived. Again, I'd go back to—. And it does self-defeat what I've just said, to an extent, because it is a quandary, but I think it would be—. I think at the moment they've never needed any community radio funding more than they do now, maybe to help them to build those links and move to the next level and a more sustainable position.
To answer Bethan's question, I don't know whether that's more of a—maybe they have a slightly idealistic interpretation there, because they're still limited, to a large extent, by Ofcom dos and don'ts and their promises of performance, et cetera. They probably are more informal. They are probably less finitely journalistically sound, compared to BBC competitors and commercial competitors, because they haven't had that kind of professional training, to some extent. But they are slightly different animals. Again, citizen journalism is an interesting one, in that the argument comes about—. If I'm doing a music show and I'm not a very good presenter and I'm making a few mistakes and I'm a bit all over the place—putting the records on at the wrong speed, whatever it might be; say the wrong thing—that's kind of okay. But, when it comes into news it becomes more of an issue. I think that, again, it comes back to training and support—maybe not professionalism, but certainly training. I think there are kind of bespoke identities that community radio has, and that's represented in the way that it presents itself, and the way the presenters present themselves in the programming. They are not the BBC. They are not commercial stations. They are not there to be slick and professional. It's nice if they are professional, which they are in lots of ways, but I think a little bit of a rough edge is okay. But, of course, in news, it becomes more problematic.
Well, I mean, if they are not insurgents, then what's their role? Commercial radio will go for the lowest common denominator audience because they want to make money out of it—
So, I suppose the conundrum is how we support insurgency without it losing its sharp edge.
What role do you think Ofcom could play in its new role as an external regulator of the BBC to ensure that some of the riches that we all pay for through the BBC are shared a little bit more widely? I'm not talking about the money. I'm just thinking about the training opportunities and, indeed, the transmission lines. Is there no way that the BBC could—? One of the biggest issues you have highlighted is the huge cost of transmission, particularly if you are trying to transmit over a sparsely populated area.
Are you talking about sharing content, as such?
Well, I'm talking about sharing transmissions, because the BBC shares with S4C. So, why not?
Yes, I mean, it's all quite new, isn't it? These breakthroughs are just coming through, and we don't know how it's going to shape up. Again, moving forward, I would greatly encourage that kind of synergy. We're kind of at an experimental stage with it, I suppose, really—it's very embryonic, isn't it? But, it would be worthwhile, yes.
Okay. I'm not a techie, but we're told by the BBC that they expect to get a 50 per cent DAB audience in this quarter, and therefore that starts to trigger a move towards switchover. Does that present opportunity or a threat for community radio?
That’s a really interesting question. I suppose, potentially, it has to be seen as an opportunity, because you can't turn back the tide. Technological advancements are happening every minute of every day, so you have got to move with the times. I think the small-scale DAB option is going to be the way forward for community radio. The thing with DAB is—. It's a bit difficult to explain, I suppose. I can’t quite get my head around how community radio stations—and maybe, Mick, with your example of GTFM—. You know, there they are in Rhydyfelin and the immediate vicinity. They are what they are. They are part of the community, and they have that FM frequency. But the DAB thing is more of a detached—. You said about a diaspora earlier, and it's kind of detached, in a way, from the community. I don't know if I'm explaining myself very well. I personally struggle to see/hear community radio on the same chunk of DAB stuff as everyone else. There's some sort of separation between the two.
Well, look at it the other way around then. The BBC makes lots of good noises about how most of the population is not going to be disenfranchised by a switchover. But, if that turns out to be not the case, is that an opportunity then for community radio to move into a space where people are no longer going to be served?
There are mixed feelings on that because the idea was that, at one stage, when the digital switchover was looking more likely to happen, or more imminent at least, I think it was discussed that the community radio stations would have their top tier section of FM, which is fine because then they'd have their place, but they've become detached and, arguably, ghettoised, I suppose, from the mainstream, then. They're at that cut-off point. So, it's quite difficult to do it. It's nice to identify them as a sector, but if they are then remote and detached, it becomes more problematic.
I guess it would be Ofcom, I would have thought, predominantly.
I've just got a tiny point myself on what you mentioned with DAB. I'm not sure I understood your point in relation to being detached from the community—
Yes, it's a really difficult one to explain; I don't know if I can explain it myself—
I was just going to say that I've got an 18-year-old sister who is in that GTFM area in school, and as we've heard from evidence, lots of young people are listening more to Spotify, YouTube and DAB. If they were on that, would it be more likely that younger people in that area would listen to GTFM than they are currently, and, therefore, you've got a new audience that is not currently tuning into GTFM? So, that's what I was trying to—
Okay. I would hope I would be wrong, but my gut feeling is that, probably, young people wouldn't listen to GTFM—
GTFM's core demographic are 50-plus, and then if you suddenly move to DAB—. They might still be struggling to work out how to use the microwave. [Laughter.]
Okay, fine. You're not targeting the 18-year-olds—that's fine. Siân Gwenllian.
Rydym wedi cyffwrdd ar hyn rhyw ychydig yn barod, sef seilwaith darlledu radio yng Nghymru, ac rydym ni wedi sôn am DAB, ond, yn gyffredinol, pa mor addas ydy'r seilwaith a beth ydy'r heriau wrth symud ymlaen?
We've touched on this a bit already, namely the infrastructure for radio broadcasting in Wales, and we've mentioned DAB, but, generally, how suitable is the infrastructure and what are the challenges moving forward?
Do you mean in terms of terrain or transmission, or—?
Yes, generally in terms of the infrastructure. How big a challenge is it in Wales, moving on?
In some ways, Wales is doing quite well in terms of moves towards fourth generation and 5G-type capacity and it's exploring that territory quite well. The geography of Wales doesn't change, of course. Maybe DAB could solve some of those issues, actually, if you look at the FM/AM issues. The homogenisation of radio affects Wales just as much as anywhere else, where the big global corporations have ownership and continue to eat each other. I don't think that's particularly healthy. There's certainly room for more indigenous localised ownership of media and radio in Wales. Over the years, Wales has had its own stories to tell. I suppose maybe it comes back to the idea of autonomy for ownership of devolution of the right to investigate and pull it forward as a Welsh political community, I suppose.
Do you think enough work has been done around investigating the merits of devolving radio in particular? There's a lot of talk about S4C and television, but have we talked enough about devolving responsibilities for radio?
I don't think so. I'm not seeing or hearing that. You may be talking a lot about it here, I don't know. It's not something I'm seeing or hearing a lot of. It's a very important conversation to have, I think.
Yes, as you might expect.
In terms of—?
In terms of devolving responsibilities for radio. I know what the advantages are.
I know that there are colleagues of mine who argue the reverse, but I just generally feel that nobody's going to do Wales any favours, and why would they be helping us to tell our story? So, therefore, we should put ourselves in the strongest position to tell our story for ourselves.
I do too.
Ocê, a oes cwestiynau eraill gan Aelodau? Os nad oes, diolch yn fawr iawn am roi tystiolaeth ddiddorol iawn, mae'n rhaid dweud. Byddwn ni'n parhau gyda chymryd tystiolaeth. Rwy'n siŵr y byddwn ni'n trafod ymhellach gyda chi—efallai ymweliad o ran trio cael y radios cymunedol at ei gilydd fel ein bod ni'n gallu siarad â nhw mewn un lle, efallai. Byddwn ni'n gallu trafod hynny ymhellach, ond diolch yn fawr iawn i chi am ddod yma heddiw.
Are there any further questions from Members? If not, thank you very much for giving us some very interesting evidence. We will continue with our evidence gathering. And I'm sure we'll be discussing these issues further—possibly a visit as regards trying to get community radio stations together so that we can speak to them all in one place, perhaps. We will be able to discuss that further with you, but thank you very much for attending today.
Thank you very much. Diolch yn fawr iawn.
Diolch. Byddwn ni'n cymryd seibiant o ddwy funud, plis. Diolch.
We will take a two minute break now. Thank you very much.
Gohiriwyd y cyfarfod rhwng 10:30 a 10:38.
The meeting adjourned between 10:30 and 10:38.
Diolch, a chroeso i'r pwyllgor—eitem 3, radio yng Nghymru, sesiwn dystiolaeth 4, gyda'r BBC. Croeso i'r tystion: Betsan Powys, golygydd BBC Radio Cymru a Cymru Fyw; Colin Paterson, golygydd BBC Radio Wales; a hefyd i Rhys Evans, pennaeth strategaeth ac addysg. Rydym ni wedi cael nifer o sesiynau yn barod ar radio yng Nghymru, sydd wedi bod yn ddiddorol iawn. Rydym ni'n mynd i ofyn cwestiynau ar themâu amrywiol, os yw hynny'n iawn, a wedyn bydd Aelodau'n arwain ar y themâu hynny.
Rydw i'n mynd i gychwyn trwy ofyn: beth yw eich barn chi ynglŷn â beth fydd yr effaith y bydd dadreoleiddio yn y sector masnachol yn ei chael ar y BBC? A ydych chi'n credu y byddech chi'n gallu elwa rhywfaint, oherwydd os ydy'r sector masnachol yn lleihau'r allbwn o newyddion am Gymru neu newyddion lleol, byddech chi efallai yn gallu gwneud mwy? Neu a fyddech chi'n gallu cael mwy o wrandawyr yn dod atoch yn sgil y ffaith y byddai yna lastwreiddio o'r hyn sydd yn cael ei roi ar radio masnachol? Felly, beth yw eich barn chi yn hynny o beth?
Thank you, and welcome to committee item 3, radio in Wales, fourth evidence session, with the BBC. I welcome the witnesses: Betsan Powys, editor of BBC Radio Cymru and Cymru Fyw; Colin Paterson, editor of BBC Radio Wales; and Rhys Evans, head of strategy and education. We've had a number of sessions already on radio in Wales, which have been very interesting. We're going to ask questions on different themes, if that's okay, and then Members will lead on those themes.
I'm going to start by asking: what is your opinion about the possible impact on the BBC of deregulation in the commercial radio sector? What impact will it have on the BBC? Do you think that you would be able to benefit somewhat, because if the commercial sector does reduce the output of news about Wales or local news, you may be able to do more? Or maybe you would be able to have more listeners turning to you in the wake of the fact there will be a dilution of what is put out on commercial radio. So, what's your opinion on that?
Wel, i ateb y cwestiwn yna, rydw i'n meddwl ei bod hi'n bwysig iawn bod gan y BBC synnwyr clir iawn o beth yw ei phwrpas hi. Rŷm ni'n cael ein cyllido mewn ffordd arbennig. Mae hwn yn gyfnod siartr newydd. A gaf i ddweud ar y dechrau'n deg fan hyn ein bod ni'n falch iawn i allu bod fan hyn i'ch cynorthwyo chi gyda'ch ymchwiliad i mewn i ddyfodol cyfrwng sydd yn aruthrol o bwysig? Fel rydym ni'n dweud yn ein tystiolaeth, weithiau rydw i'n meddwl nad yw radio, mewn cymhariaeth â theledu, efallai, mewn cymhariaeth â chynnwys digidol, yn cael yr haeddiant y mae e'n ei haeddu.
O ran y berthynas rhwng y BBC a'r sector fasnachol, nid wyf i'n meddwl y dylem ni weld y cwestiwn hwn fel cwestiwn lle mae un sector yn drech na'r llall—rhyw fath o zero-sum game. Yn draddodiadol, yn hanesyddol, pan fo'r BBC yn gryf a phan fo'r sector fasnachol yn gryf, yna mae hynny wedyn yn cynnig dewis i wrandawyr. Hefyd, mae e'n golygu bod y sector gymaint â hynny'n gryfach a bod yna syniadau newydd yn dod drwyddo.
O ran ateb y pwynt penodol ynglŷn â newyddion, yn sicr, ni fyddai'r BBC yn gweld unrhyw grebachu o fewn y sector fasnachol o ran darpariaeth newyddion fel cyfle. I'r gwrthwyneb; mae plurality neu luosogrwydd newyddion yn rhywbeth sydd yn aruthrol o bwysig i'r BBC.
Ac yn olaf, o edrych ar y cwestiwn hwn heddiw, sef dyfodol radio, mae radio yn wynebu cyfnod ar y naill law o her, a hefyd mae yna gyfleoedd mawr, oherwydd, fel rŷch chi wedi ei weld yn ein tystiolaeth ni, fel rŷch chi wedi clywed gan dystion eraill, mae radio a defnydd o radio yn newid yn gyflym iawn, iawn. Rydw i'n meddwl taw'r hyn sy'n bwysig nawr yw bod y BBC a hefyd y sector fasnachol yn gweithio gyda'i gilydd er mwyn sicrhau bod y syniadau, bod y rhaglenni a bod y fformatau gorau yno ar gyfer gwrandawyr presennol a hefyd gwrandawyr y dyfodol.
Well, to answer that question, I think it's very important that the BBC has a clear sense of what its purpose is. We're funded in a specific way, and this is a period of a new charter. I should state at the very beginning that we're very pleased to be here today to help you with your inquiry into the future of a medium that is vitally important. As we state in our evidence, sometimes I think that radio, as compared to television, perhaps, and as compared to digital provision, doesn't receive its dues.
In terms of the relationship between the BBC and the commercial sector, I don't think we should see this question as a question where one sector takes precedence over another—some sort of zero-sum game. Traditionally, historically, when the BBC is stronger and when the commercial sector is also strong, that offers a choice to listeners. It also means that the sector is that much stronger and that there are new ideas coming through.
In terms of answering the specific question with regard to news, then certainly the BBC wouldn't see any decline in the commercial sector in terms of news provision as an opportunity. To the contrary, the plurality or multiplicity of sources of news is very important to the BBC.
Finally, looking at this question of the future of radio, radio does face a period, on the one hand, of challenge, but also, on the other, of major opportunities, because, as you've seen from our evidence and as you've heard from others, radio and the use of radio is changing very rapidly. What's important now is that the BBC and also the commercial sector work together to ensure that the ideas, that the programmes and that the best formats are there for current and future listeners.
A oes unrhyw sylwadau pellach ar y cwestiwn hwnnw yn benodol? Nid oes angen cyffwrdd â'r meic.
Any further comments on that question? You don't have to touch the mike.
Yr unig bwynt yr oeddwn i'n mynd i'w wneud oedd tanlinellu pwynt Rhys, sef pwynt a wnaethpwyd i fi pan oeddwn i'n newydd i'r swydd—ac rŷch chi'n warchodol iawn o'ch gwasanaethau chi, rydych chi'n dymuno eu bod nhw'n gwneud y gorau posibl. O weld bod yna ddatblygu o bob math ym myd sain, felly, boed e'n radio neu du hwnt i hynny, mae'r hyn rydw i wedi ei ddysgu a dod i'w gredu'n gryf yw'r mwyaf y daw pobl i'r arfer o wrando o gwbl ar radio, ac yn sicr o ran gwrando yn Gymraeg, yna'r gorau posib yw hynny i ni. Achos os yw pobl yn dod i'r arfer hwnnw, yna mae gyda chi fwy o obaith i'w darbwyllo nhw i wrando ar eich gwasanaeth chi. Wedyn, byddwn i'n sicr yn ei weld e fel cyfle ac yn gyfle inni bwysleisio pa mor unigryw, wrth gwrs, yw ein gwasanaethau ni yn y tirlun fyddai yna o orsafoedd ac o gyfleon.
The only point I was going to make was to underline Rhys's point, namely a point that was made to me when I was new to the job—and you're very protective of your services and you want them to do the best that they can. From seeing that there are all kinds of developments in terms of sound, whether it's radio or beyond that, what I have learnt and come to believe strongly is that the more that people come to listen to radio, and come into the habit of it, and certainly listen to it in Welsh, then the better that will be for us. Because if people do come into that habit, then you have more of a chance of convincing them to listen to your service. So, certainly, I would see that as an opportunity and an opportunity for us to show how unique our services are in that landscape of stations and opportunities.
Os nad ydych chi'n gweld cyfle i ychwanegu at eich capasiti chi o ran newyddion gyda'r potensial mewn cwymp o ran newyddion o Gymru yn sgil dadreoleiddio, a ydych chi'n poeni am y ffaith efallai y bydd yna ddirywiad, potensial o ddirywiad yn sgil dadreoleiddio? Hefyd, jest sylwad ynglŷn â'r ffaith mai pedwar cwmni sydd yn dominyddu yma yng Nghymru, ac felly nid yw e'n rhoi'r bliwraliaeth rydych chi'n ei disgrifio fel ateb inni.
If you don't see any opportunities to add to your capacity in terms of news with the potential decline in news provision from Wales as a result of deregulation of commercial radio, are you concerned that there might be potential for a decline in news provision as a result of deregulation? And could you make a comment on the fact that there are four dominant companies in Wales, and so it doesn't give the plurality that you describe as a response?
Wel, nid wyf i'n meddwl ei bod hi'n briodol i'r BBC gynnig barn ar y nifer delfrydol o gwmnioedd radio masnachol, ond mae'n mynd nôl i'r egwyddor honno o ran darpariaeth newyddion, boed hynny o fewn teledu, boed hynny o ran print neu ddigidol neu radio: cael y dewis yna o leisiau, yn enwedig mewn gwlad fach fel Cymru, lle, mewn cymhariaeth â gwledydd fel, dywedwch, yr Alban, yna mae newyddiaduraeth gymaint â hynny yn wannach. Felly, po fwyaf o leisiau amgen sydd yna, po fwyaf o bersbectifau eraill sydd yna, yna gorau i gyd yw hynny o ran y craffu ar sefydliadau tebyg i hwn, ar gynghorau ar hyd a lled Cymru, ar fywyd cyhoeddus yng Nghymru, a hefyd mae e'n dda i'r BBC. Mae e'n dda i'r BBC bod y math yna o gystadleuaeth ar gael.
Well, I don't think it's appropriate for the BBC to offer an opinion on the ideal number of companies in the commercial radio sector, but it goes back to that principle in terms of news provision, whether that's in tv or in terms of print or digital or radio: it's about having that choice of voices, particularly in a small nation like Wales, where, in comparison with countries like Scotland and so forth, then journalism is much weaker. So, however more plurality or more perspectives, other perspectives, that you have, then the better that is in terms of scrutiny of organisations or institutions such as this, councils across Wales and public life in Wales and also it's good for the BBC. It's good for the BBC that there is that kind of competition available.
Ond os ydyn nhw'n lleihau'r hyn sydd yn cael ei roi allan gan gwmniau masnachol yn sgil dadreoleiddio, a fydd yna vacuum? Dim ond y BBC fydd ar gael wedyn. Nid yw hynny'n ddelfrydol chwaith.
But if they decrease the output in terms of commercial radio as a result of deregulation, will there be a vacuum? It'll only be the BBC that is available then, and that's not ideal, either.
Wrth gwrs, wrth reswm, nid yw hynny'n ddelfrydol. Rydw i'n meddwl ei bod hi hefyd yn bwysig, o ran deall y cyd-destun o ran ceisio gosod rhyw fath o orwel dwy neu dair blynedd allan, i fi esbonio ichi beth mae'r BBC yn ei wneud o ran—
Of course, naturally, that's not ideal. I think it's also important, in terms of understanding the context in terms of trying to understand some kind of two or three-year horizon, for me to explain what the BBC is doing—
Down ni ymlaen at hynny. Rydym ni jest ishe canolbwyntio mwy ar y dadreoleiddio, ond rwy'n credu eich bod chi wedi ateb hynny, felly gwnawn ni symud ymlaen ac wedyn bydd cwestiynau am y BBC yn dod yn y man. Jenny Rathbone.
We'll come on to that. I just wanted to focus on the deregulation, but I think you have answered that point, so we'll move on, and there'll be opportunities to talk about the BBC coming forward later. Jenny Rathbone.
Thank you. I want to explore what role, if any, you see for the BBC in nurturing community radio in Wales, because, obviously, they have a slightly different role, but complementary.
I could probably pick up on that. Yes, I think that we're very supportive of community radio. In the past, we've had formal memorandums of understanding and informal ones. Currently, there's no formal agreement, but in 2011 we did have one, and that was a mix of content sharing, both their ability to use our content, which we'd still be happy to look at, but also using the community radio stations and community reporters to feed into Radio Wales content. So, that's happened in the past.
Now we have informal relationships. So, I'm involved with Radio Cardiff in Butetown; there's an element of mentoring and training as part of that. Calon FM in Wrexham is based in the same building at the university. So, we're based in the same building as them. We support them in terms of training. Some of their volunteers are actually involved in some of our outputs. Janice Long's programme on Radio Wales comes from Wrexham in the evening. Some of the volunteers there help us with live bands and sessions, and elements like that.
So, there's no formal agreement at the moment. We're keen to work with community radio and support them; it's very much an open door. I think we're also cautious, though, that we don't want to force ourselves on them. They are independent organisations. Sometimes, as I say, we see a very mutually beneficial relationship with working with Radio Cardiff, for example, and Calon FM in Wrexham, but as editor of Radio Wales, I don't really want to go round the country forcing myself on radio stations that don't want it, but very much an open door and willing to work with anybody who wants our support.
Well, that's good to hear, and perhaps it'd be interesting for us to see the memo—the formal memorandum you had in 2011.
We just heard from Steve Johnson of the University of South Wales earlier this morning. He says one of the issues for community radio is that they're like hamsters on a wheel—they're really struggling to keep their head above water, and that's possibly why—. You've obviously established good relations with some who may be, geographically, in the right place, but others haven't even thought of asking you for a bit of support with some training or sharing news. So, I just wondered what you think could be done if we could try and get them all in a room together to talk to you; perhaps that would be a way forward.
Buaswn i’n cyfeirio at sgwrs fuodd rhai blynyddoedd yn ôl gyda Radio Beca, er enghraifft, yn sir Benfro, pan oedd yna drafodaethau ynglŷn â datblygu Radio Beca. Cawsom sgwrs hynod o agored. Mae’r ffin denau yna roedd Colin yn cyfeirio ati, o beidio â bod eisiau cymryd drosodd na gwneud dim byd sydd ddim yn dod yn naturiol i’r radio honno, ond i ddweud bod yna ddrws agored. Fe drafodon ni bethau fel y byddai yna gyflwynwyr sy’n gweithio i Radio Cymru o’r ardal a fyddai’n enwau lleol, a fyddai â diddordeb, fyddai’n barod i gynnig help llaw bob hyn a hyn, bod eu rhaglenni nhw ar gael o ran cynnwys, os oedd yna rifynnau o Beti a’i Phobol, dywedwch, neu raglenni celfyddydol oedd yn canolbwyntio ar yr ardal honno, y byddai perffaith fodd inni drafod rhoi’r rhaglenni hynny i’r gorsafoedd pe bai yna ddiddordeb. Fel rŷch chi’n ei ddweud, mae’n rhoi cyfle iddyn nhw anadlu, ar yr olwyn yna sy’n troi mor gyson, er mwyn gallu cynnig cynnwys gwahanol.
Mae'n dod nôl at y pwynt canolog yna roeddwn i’n ei wneud gynnau fach, sef y byddai iechyd gorsafoedd cymunedol yn golygu, yn y pen draw, o bosib, gwell iechyd i radio genedlaethol, oherwydd rŷm ni’n chwilio am leisiau drwy’r amser, lleisiau newydd, lleisiau sydd wedi cael profiad o ddarlledu—yn Gymraeg yn fy achos i, yn arbennig. Wel, os oes yna iechyd yn y gorsafoedd cymunedol rheini, a rhyw fath o berthynas adnabyddiaeth, dim ond peth da byddwn i’n dweud fyddai hynny—ond bod un yn ymwybodol na fyddem ni’n dymuno dod i mewn a chymryd drosodd o gwbl.
I would refer to a conversation that happened some years ago with Radio Beca, for example, in Pembrokeshire, when there were discussions about developing Radio Beca. We had a very open conversation about the very fine line that Colin referred to, about not trying to take over or doing anything that doesn’t come naturally to that radio, but to say that there is an open door. We discussed things like the fact that there would be presenters working for Radio Cymru from the area who would be local names and would be interested in offering some assistance at times, and that their programmes would be available in terms of content. If there were editions of Beti a’i Phobol or arts programmes that focus on that area, it would be possible for us to discuss putting those programmes on the air for those stations, if there was an interest. As you say, it gives them breathing space from that wheel that is constantly turning in order to offer different kinds of content.
It comes back to the central point that I made previously, namely that the health of community stations would mean, ultimately, possibly, better health for national radio, because we are constantly looking for voices, new voices, voices that have had experience of Welsh language broadcasting—in my case in particular. If the community radio stations are in good health, and there is some kind of relationship, well, that can only be a good thing, I think—only if we remain aware of the fact that we wouldn’t wish to come in and take over.
Okay. One of the biggest issues that Steve Johnson highlights is the cost of transmission lines, particularly in sparsely populated areas. That was faced by Radio Beca—huge transmission costs for a very small population. So, is that something that the BBC might be able to assist people on? I'm not a techie, but is it possible to share some lines that you're not using?
It's quite a linear process for the broadcaster. The line goes to their specific transmitter. We're not sharing transmitters. There is X community radio station, a Radio Wales transmitter, a Radio Cymru transmitter. They're not necessarily located in the same place, so the line goes from the studio to their broadcast transmitter. The capacity for us to share—the only way of doing that would be to take output off the BBC and broadcast the community station, or vice versa. So I think that's a slightly separate issue that Ofcom and the community stations and others would have to look at. I'm not sure of the potential for support there.
Can I make a practical suggestion in addition to what Betsan and Colin have outlined, which is the local democracy reporting service? That's something I know you, Bethan, are very interested in. So, the local democracy reporting service—these are the 150 or so licence-fee-funded journalists who'll be working across the UK. The first 50 across the UK have been appointed. Around five are already appointed in Wales. When the project in the next couple of months reaches its maturity, there will be 11 journalists covering Wales, one for every two local authority areas. Already that's content from Ynys Môn council to Monmouthshire council—it's feeding its way through to those partners who have applied to receive the content.
So, to go back to your hypothetical meeting with the community radio stations, I make this offer here now: if they are interested, that content is there, assuming they meet the eligibility criteria, and I can't see any reason why not. That content, including news copy and also clips, is there available to them. So, that would, I suggest, be very helpful in helping them better reflect the communities that they serve.
Jest yn glou, mae cwestiwn gyda Suzy Davies.
Briefly, Suzy Davies has a question.
Ie, jest ar yr un pwnc.
Yes, just on that subject.
It will do nothing for plurality, but why, at the moment, aren't community radios coming to you for their top-of-the-hour bulletins, instead of going to Sky or other newswire services?
[Inaudible.]—the other thing to remember is that each of those stations is regulated independently in the same way that we are. So it's not just a case of they have the ability to take our content all of the time. I'm sure there are specific provisions in each of their licences about the news that they produce and originate. So, anything they do would have to be in line with that. But I think, to follow on from Rhys's point, if there was interest in that, and they wanted to look at our news content, in Welsh or in English, we'd certainly be happy to have that conversation.
It could be. It could also be that they want a point of difference. If you're in Wrexham, why would you want Radio Wales news broadcast on Calon FM and Radio Wales? So, I'm judging what they're thinking, but they may see it as a point of difference to have it from another service. But it's certainly a conversation we'd be open to.
Okay. So there's no reason why they can't, unless it's regulatory. Okay, that's all I wanted. Thank you.
Roedd Jenny wedi gofyn am y memorandwm cyd-ddealltwriaeth sydd gennych chi. Byddwn ni eisiau cael hynny, ond rydw i jest eisiau esboniad ar y record pam nad oes yna un nawr. Achos byddwn i'n meddwl y byddai gweithio gyda nhw mewn ffordd ffurfiol yn gryfach na gweithio gyda nhw mewn ffordd ad hoc. Achos mae'n swnio fel eich bod chi wedi dewis y gair 'gorfodi' o ran nad ydych chi eisiau gorfodi eich hun ar y sector, ond pa analysis ydych chi wedi'i wneud bod hynny'n rhywbeth y byddech chi'n ei wneud? Ar ôl i ni gael tystiolaeth y bore yma gan Steve Johnson, roedd yn amlwg, rydw i'n credu, y byddan nhw'n croesawu unrhyw beth fyddai'n gallu eu helpu nhw i esblygu yn y maes. Felly, jest nodyn o geisio deall pam nad yw'r memorandwm hwnnw yn weithredol ar hyn o bryd.
Jenny has asked about the memorandum of understanding that you had. We'd like to see that, but I just want an explanation on the record of why there isn't one now. Because I think that operating them in a formal way would be stronger than working with them in an ad hoc way. Because it sounds like you have chosen the word 'force'—you don't want to force yourself on the sector—but what analysis have you done that it would be something that you would do? We had evidence this morning from Steve Johnson, and it was evident, I think, that they would welcome anything that could help them to evolve in this area. So, just a note of trying to understand why that memorandum isn't operational at present.
It's very straightforward: we're more than happy to have the conversation about how we work together informally and formally, but at the end of the previous project in 2011, there wasn't the appetite from everyone to continue, and so—
It varied; the output on the radio station—. So, if you have something like Radio Cardiff, it's incredibly rich. I think they've got over 50 different programmes and over 100 presenters and so they are really looking for us to work with them in terms of mentoring and development and just to help them manage and develop the range and numbers of people they have. But there are other smaller set-ups that perhaps don't have the same range and so the relationship with the BBC just wasn't as relevant. So, each individual station—10 in Wales—has a different outlook on their programming and has a different outlook on how they want to engage with different organisations. So, the door is absolutely open for us.
Personally, if we were to consider more a more formal arrangement, again, in terms of how we would work with them, we'd be more than happy to look at that, but it was just to flag that there is an inconsistency in terms of that each station is independent, they make their own decisions, and there wasn't the appetite from everyone involved to continue.
Ocê. Diolch am yr esboniad hwnnw. Mick Antoniw.
Okay. Thank you for that explanation. Mick Antoniw.
Thank you. I'd like to ask just a couple of questions about the state of Welsh news within this changing world, which, technologically, I find as complicated as when Facebook and Twitter first appeared and trying to understand what they actually meant and what actually happens. Every time it's explained to me, I understand it for five minutes and then it's gone again. Perhaps we should start by summarising, because, within your paper, you say that Radio Wales plays a crucial role in informing the Welsh audience with high-quality news and sports programming, but the state of Welsh news, global Welsh news, within this changing environment, almost in competition to the globalisation of UK news and world news—how do you see the challenges and your responsibilities in terms of how you deal with that?
Rydw i'n hapus i ddechrau a dweud fel hyn: mae un arf sydd wedi bod yn ddiddorol ac yn werthfawr i fi, mae'n rhaid i mi ddweud, o fynd o weithio yn y maes newyddiaduraeth i fod tu ôl i'r ddesg, felly, yw, wrth i ni ddatblygu Cymru Fyw fel gwasanaeth newyddion ar-lein, eich bod chi'n gallu gweld lle mae diddordeb y gynulleidfa. Hynny yw, mae modd i bobl ddweud wrthych chi ar lafar beth yw'r pethau pwysig a ddylai fod yno, ond rŷm ni'n gweld y defnydd—hynny yw, pan ŷch chi'n deffro yn y bore, beth yw'r straeon sy'n apelio. Ac mae straeon Cymreig a Chymraeg yn apelio. Hynny yw, maen nhw o ddiddordeb i'n cynulleidfa ni ac, felly, mae gwasanaethu’r gynulleidfa honno, gan wybod mai dyna lle mae'r ddiddordeb, yn hollbwysig.
Nid yw hynny i ddweud—nid yw byth i ddweud—nad ydy lle Cymru'n rhyngwladol o ddiddordeb, ond, fel rŷch chi'n ei awgrymu, Mick, mae yna ffynonhellau niferus ar gyfer straeon felly, felly mae'n rhaid bod y perspectif Cymreig yn glir iawn yn y straeon. Rŷm ni, rydw i'n teimlo fel ymateb uniongyrchol iawn i'r cwestiwn yr ŷch chi yn ei godi, wedi'r Pasg nawr, fel mae'n digwydd—mae'n flwyddyn newydd o ran comisiynu—yn mynd i roi rhaglen newydd yn amserlen Radio Cymru o'r enw Benbaladr, rhaglen fydd—allwn ni ddim â honni y bydd hi fel From Our Own Correspondent, achos nid oes gyda ni correspondents o gwmpas y byd, ond mae gyda ni Gymry Cymraeg sydd â phrofiad helaeth o fyw tramor, sy'n gweld y byd o bersbectif tra gwahanol efallai i'r rheini yr ŷm ni'n eu cael wrth godi yn y bore, darllen ein papurau ac yn y blaen, ac rydw i'n browd iawn o hynny, mae'n rhaid i mi ddweud. Bydd hi'n rhaglen gyson, lle byddwn ni'n clywed efallai adolygiadau papur, sut mae Cymru yn cael ei gweld o gwmpas y byd, sut y mae Prydain, sut y mae trafodaethau o gwmpas Brexit—dewiswch chi, felly—ond yn trio mynd i lygad y ffynnon achos ein bod ni'n ymwybodol o bwysigrwydd hynny ar hyn o bryd. Ar ben yr oriau, mae'r gwasanaeth newyddion o dragwyddol bwys i Radio Cymru ac i wrandawyr Radio Cymru. Rŷm ni'n gweld hynny yn y ffigurau, ac felly mae ei warchod e a'i ehangu fe yn y ffurf fedrwn ni—. Mae Cymru Fyw efallai wedi dangos y ffordd i ni fanna, sef i gynnig cynnwys unigryw y gall ein cynulleidfa ni ei gael o'n gwasanaethau ni.
I'm happy to start and state that one tool that has been very useful and interesting for me, I have to say, from going from working in the journalism field to being behind the desk, as it were, is that, as we've developed Cymru Fyw as an online news service, you can see where the audience's interests lie. People can tell you orally what the important things are that should be there but we also see the use—when you wake up in the morning, what are the stories that appeal. And Welsh stories do appeal. They are of interest to our audience and, therefore, servicing that audience and knowing that that's where their interests lie is very important.
That's not to say—we would never say—that Wales's role internationally and Wales's place internationally isn't interesting, but, as you say, Mick, there are numerous sources for those kinds of stories, so, the Welsh perspective should be very clear in the stories that we put forward. As a direct response to the question that you've asked, I think, after Easter, as it happens—it is a new year in terms of commissioning—we're going to start a new programme, called Benbaladr. We can't claim that it will be like From Our Own Correspondent, because we don't have correspondents around the world, but we do have Welsh-speaking Welsh people who have experience of living abroad, who see the world from a slightly different perspective perhaps from those that we see from getting up in the morning, reading our papers and so on, and I'm very proud of that, I have to say. We will be hearing, in that regular programme, newspaper reviews, perhaps, how Wales is being seen world wide, how the UK is being seen, how the discussions around Brexit are going ahead, but we will be trying to go to the heart of the matter because we know about the importance of that at present. On top of the hours, the news service is eternally important to Radio Cymru and its listeners. We see that in the figures, so safeguarding that and expanding that service in the way that we can—. Cymru Fyw has shown, perhaps, the way for us to do that, which is to offer unique content that our audience can receive from our services.
Can I just add to what Betsan's saying there, Mick? This is, as I said at the outset, a new charter period for the BBC. So, between 2017-18 and 2019-20, we will be investing in English-language television, as you well know, but also in our provision of news: news for Wales, and news for Wales that is available across the UK. So, already, we're seeing the fruits of that investment on both Radio Cymru and also on Radio Wales.
So, for example, this morning you would have heard our Brexit correspondent, James Williams, giving a Welsh perspective on the Brexit discussions from Brussels. There's also a social affairs correspondent. There'll be additional correspondents appointed to some of those key portfolios that cover public policy issues across the next year. So, that's a very important and significant investment in trying to address some of those issues you're talking about there. There's also an additional point, which I think I need to emphasise, in respect of Radio Wales. It's all well and good having the correspondent there, having the content available, but, unless you can reach your intended audience, you are fighting that battle with one hand tied behind your back. So, the Radio Wales FM boost will, come the autumn—by the time it's implemented—bring Radio Wales on FM to an additional 350,000 people. So, in my book, that's a hugely important development and a real game changer for the service.
Rydym ni'n mynd i ddod at seilwaith, os yw hynny'n iawn. Sori.
We're going to come to infrastructure, if that's okay.
Well, just a follow on from that, then. Of course, the actual source of what people listen to is obviously major, and we know that, in terms of printed newspapers and everything else, where the source is—so, no matter how good and how diverse and the quality, it's the access to it. Now, one of the things that has been suggested—I think Lord Hall suggested it—is that there would be opt-outs on Radio 1 and Radio 2, that it was definitely on the agenda, and that would dramatically change the actual role of Welsh-orientated news in terms of the concept of global Welsh news as opposed to externally sourced news. Is that going to happen? If so, when is it going to happen, how is it going to happen, and how will you evaluate it?
Okay. So, the position in respect of Radio 1 and Radio 2 news opts, basically you would get a tailored Welsh bulletin on Radio 1 or Radio 2. The position hasn't changed since the BBC director general was sat in that chair the last time around. We have applied our best technical minds to this question. I've worked with them for many, many months to try to get a solution to this question. The problem, put very simply, is FM. So, on digital audio broadcasting, you can't opt out. It's one single frequency network across the UK on the Radio 1 and Radio 2 BBC multiplex. On FM, in order to have opt-out news bulletins for Radio 1 and Radio 2, you would have to use the Wenvoe transmitter. Now, the Wenvoe FM transmitter is a fantastically efficient transmitter. It's a big stick on the top of a hill. It blasts an FM signal out across the whole of south Wales and the former coalfield, as well as the south-west of England.
You may say so, but I think the good people of Bath, Bristol, the west country, Weston-super-Mare and so on would probably take a different view to that. Currently, it's not possible to opt out within FM because there is very little FM frequency available. That said, the concept is still a valid one, and it's still a concept that, in the fullness of time, when technologies change—particularly 5G technologies, I think there will be an opportunity to revisit that.
Just on the point of—
Could I stop you there? We've heard that you like the concept and are looking at revisiting and so on. All that implies to me is that there are quite a few obstacles there and difficulties to overcome, and it may or may not happen at some stage in the future but, basically, the sort of—suggestions have been made that it's definitely on the agenda, it's on the radar and so on, but the actual ability to commit to it is rather limited.
Well, there are two parts to answer on this question. So, there's the editorial question: is it feasible, editorially, to blend Welsh, UK and international news? Well, Radio Wales, Radio Cymru, they do that on an hour-by-hour basis. That is absolutely feasible. But in order to do that on a technically robust basis that would be acceptable to audiences in both south Wales and the south-west of England, currently it is impossible because of the FM issue. However, 5G technologies—and it's an area I urge you to take a long and hard look at—do offer, for not just network services but for the whole of the BBC radio portfolio, new options in terms of not having to be reliant on some of those quite knotty distribution technologies.
It's my fault; I'm getting a little bit lost. I'll try again. So, if you were back here in a year's time—if we were to jump ahead now to 12 months' time and ask you the same questions—what might be different in 12 months' time to where we are now?
Well, I think there's a process in terms of the 5G issue, the 5G auction, which is being overseen by Ofcom. That started this week. So, there will be a lag in terms of the availability of 5G, but this isn't a case of jam tomorrow. By 2020-21, 5G signals will be the industry standard in terms of mobile delivery, and that will have a massive impact on the way people consume radio and audio.
So, that is being seen as the mechanism for actually implementing the changes and the commitments that are really being made with regard to more access to a global Welsh news element.
Potentially, it's one of the means, yes.
I would say that, as the editor of Radio Wales, the other way of bringing Welsh news to more people is to strengthen the national services here, and I think that while Rhys and his colleagues will continue to look at options for Radio 1 and 2, what I'm certainly determined to do is to increase the audience of Radio Wales and to bring that. Good Morning Wales is still the biggest programme on Radio Wales. We're currently bolstering the programme with dedicated management and looking at ways that we can look at the mix.
I think your point about global news and a mix of national news is an important one. If we are repeating what our colleagues are doing on Radio 4 and Radio 5 Live, then that's not going to work. So, we're looking at the mix, we're looking at the identity of the programme, we're looking at the resources. So, from my point of view in Radio Wales, the absolute priority is increasing our audience there and taking our content to a wider audience, and that includes the boosting of the FM transmitter as well.
And how successful are you? What are your projections in terms of your strategy, and what has been the outcome over the past five years? Has there been much shift, or—? Have your listening figures been increasing or decreasing, your share increasing?
I started as editor a year ago. I was involved in the station a few years ago, but I started last year. We have had audience challenges in recent years. There's no doubt about that, so that's why there's a renewed focus, particularly in terms of Good Morning Wales, on making sure it has the support it needs, as well as making sure it's got the right editorial mix. So, I think we're at the start of a process on that, and we absolutely are focused on a strategy of increasing the audience.
Jest un cwestiwn clou cyn symud ymlaen. Jest o ran y newyddion ar y rhwydwaith, efallai taw’r ateb ar eu cyfer yw, yn lle cael opt-out ar Radio 1 a Radio 2, ehangu ar y cyfrwng o straeon sydd ar y gorsafoedd radio hynny, achos, yn amlwg, nid yw pawb yn mynd i switsio i Radio Wales neu Radio Cymru—efallai’r teip o bobl, neu’r oedran, byddan nhw eisiau i ddal i wrando ar Radio 1 a Radio 2. Felly, a oes yna sgôp i ddatblygu newyddion Cymreig ar y rhwydwaith radio?
Just one quick question before moving on. In terms of network news, maybe the answer, instead of having an opt-out on Radio 1 and 2, is to expand the range of stories that are available on those radio stations, because, evidently, not everyone is going to switch to Radio Wales or Radio Cymru—maybe the type of people, or the age of the people, who will still want to listen to Radio 1 and Radio 2. So, is there scope to develop Welsh news on the network?
Wel, mae'r agenda yna yn agenda aruthrol o bwysig, ac mae yna ddwy ffordd o ateb y cwestiwn. Yn gyntaf, cywirdeb, i sicrhau bod newyddion y rhwydwaith—pan yw’n sôn am ddatganoli, pan yw’n sôn am weithdrefnau’r Deyrnas Gyfunol—yn hollol gywir. Rydw i’n meddwl bod yna welliant aruthrol wedi bod. Nid yw’n gywir drwy’r amser, fel ŷch chi’n gwybod—
Well, that agenda is a vitally important one, and there are two ways of answering the question. First of all, accuracy, to ensure that the network news—when it talks about devolution, when it talks about UK procedures—should be entirely accurate. I think there has been a huge improvement. It is not correct all the time, as you'll know—
—ac rydw i’n meddwl ei bod yn hollol deg bod y BBC yn cael, fel corfforaeth, ei dwyn i gyfrif am unrhyw ffaeleddau yn y maes yna, oherwydd mae gwybodaeth sydd yn gywir yn allweddol o ran ein gallu ni fel dinasyddion i ddeall y ffordd y mae penderfyniadau yn cael eu gwneud yn ein henw ni.
Yr ail ffordd yw buddsoddiad yng Nghymru—efallai buddsoddiadau’r siartr y gwnes i sôn amdani, y gohebwyr ychwanegol, y capasiti ychwanegol yna. Mae hynny yn berthnasol i Gymru, ond hefyd mae yn berthnasol i allu Cymru i gael straeon drwodd i’r rhwydwaith. Petasech chi’n edrych ar siampl o ddeufis o nifer y straeon Cymreig â gogwydd Cymreig sydd wedi cael eu clywed ar Radio 5, Radio 4 ac yn blaen, mae yna nifer sylweddol ohonynt.
Ac yn olaf wedyn, mae’r berthynas ddydd i ddydd yna. Mae fy nghefndir i, fel cefndir Betsan, yn ddwfn mewn newyddion, a gallaf eich sicrhau chi bod y berthynas rhwng yr ystafell newyddion yng Nghaerdydd a’r ystafell newyddion yn Llundain, o ran radio ac o ran y llwyfannau eraill, bellach yn fwy agos nag y mae erioed wedi bod o ran sicrhau bod straeon Cymreig yn cael yr haeddiant sydd yn ddyladwy, sy’n golygu bod pennaeth newyddion BBC Cymru yn rhan o'r deialog boreol o’r dechrau’n deg, ac mae’r broses honno’n digwydd trwy’r dydd i sicrhau nad oes yna unrhyw straeon arwyddocaol, gobeithio, yn cael eu colli.
—and I think it's perfectly fair that the BBC, as a corporation, is held to account for any failings in that area, because information that is accurate is crucial to our ability as citizens to understand the way in which decisions are made in our name.
The second way is through investment in Wales—so, the charter investments that I talked about, the additional correspondents, that additional capacity. That's relevant to Wales, but it's also relevant to Wales's ability to get stories through to the network. If you were to look at a sample of two months of the number of Welsh stories with a Welsh slant that have been heard on Radio 5, Radio 4 and so on, there are a significant number of those stories.
And, finally, there's that day-to-day relationship. My background, like Betsan's, is very deeply rooted in news, and I can assure you that the relationship between the newsroom in Cardiff and the newsroom in London, in terms of radio and in terms of the other platforms, is closer than ever in terms of ensuring that Welsh stories do receive the attention that they deserve, which means that the head of news in BBC Wales is part of that daily discussion from the very beginning, and that process happens throughout the day to ensure that, hopefully, no significant stories are missed.
Ocê, diolch yn fawr iawn. Siân Gwenllian.
Okay, thank you very much. Siân Gwenllian.
A gaf i jest ofyn cwpwl o gwestiynau am y dechnoleg cyn symud ymlaen at Radio Cymru? Rydych chi’n sôn am FM yn gallu defnyddio Gwenfô i gael yr opt-out yma, ond rydw i’n cymryd na fuasai hynny’n cyrraedd gogledd Cymru.
Could I just ask a couple of questions about the technology before moving on to Radio Cymru? You mention FM being able to use Wenvoe to have this opt-out, but I take it that that wouldn't reach north Wales.
Mae’r sefyllfa yn y gogledd fymryn yn haws, ond mae yna dal rai problemau gyda’r trosglwyddyddion ffiniol hynny, fel Llangollen, sydd yn diwallu, yn amlwg, y gogledd-ddwyrain, ond hefyd yn diwallu rhannau eithaf sylweddol o benrhyn Cilgwri a hefyd swydd Gaer. Felly, mae fersiwn o broblem Bryste, Caerfaddon a Weston-super-Mare hefyd yn digwydd yn y gogledd-ddwyrain, ond nid i’r un graddau.
The situation in north Wales is slightly easier, but there are still some problems with regard to those border transmitters, such as Llangollen, which serves the north-east, but also serves significant parts of the Wirral peninsular and Cheshire. So, there's a version of the Bristol, Bath and Weston-super-Mare problem happening in the north-east as well, but not to the same extent.
Ond a ydy Llangollen yn cyrraedd sir Fôn?
But does Llangollen reach Anglesey?
Na. Nid yw Llangollen yn cyrraedd sir Fôn. Mae yna drosglwyddydd ar wahân, Llanddona, ar gyfer sir Fôn.
No. Llangollen doesn't reach Anglesey. There is a separate transmitter, Llanddona, for Anglesey.
Felly, mi fuasai trosglwyddydd Llanddona, er enghraifft, yn gallu gwneud opt-outs fel peilot, dywedwch, ar gyfer ardal sydd dim ond yn cyrraedd cynulleidfa o fewn Cymru.
So, the Llanddona transmitter, for instance, could do an opt-out as a pilot, perhaps, for an area that only reaches an audience that's within Wales.
Wel, mae hynny'n dechnegol bosibl, ond wedyn mae’n rhaid ichi wrthbwyso’r gallu technegol yna gyda’r gost olygyddol o greu bwletinau Radio 1 a Radio 2 a fyddai dim ond yn cyrraedd sir Fôn, neu'r rhan honno sy'n cael ei diwallu gan sir Fôn.
Well, that's technically possible, but then you have to weigh that against the potential and the editorial cost, then, of creating bulletins on Radio 1 and Radio 2 that would only reach Anglesey, or that part that is served by Anglesey.
Ie, ond ar ryw fath o beilot roeddwn i'n awgrymu, felly, achos os ydym ni'n mynd i fod yn chwilio—. Ond wedyn rydych chi'n awgrymu nad yn fanna mae'r ateb yn y pen draw; rydych chi'n sôn, wedyn, mai'r ateb yn y pen draw ydy 5G.
Yes, but I was suggesting some kind of pilot, because if we're going to be—. Well, you're suggesting that that's not the solution, ultimately; you're talking about the ultimate solution being 5G.
Yn reddfol, rydw i yn teimlo’n gryf iawn mai yn fanna mae'r ateb. Nid—
Instinctively, I do feel very strongly that that's where the answer lies. It's not—
Sydd hefyd yn codi problem, wrth gwrs, yn yr ardaloedd gwledig, achos prin yw'r 4G yn rhai rhannau o'm hetholaeth i, er enghraifft. Felly, mae o’n mynd i olygu bod yna rai rhannau o’r wlad sy’n mynd i gael eu cadw ar ôl am gyfnod, beth bynnag, tra bod hynny i gyd yn digwydd. Mae’n bwysig bod yna gyfartaledd yn digwydd, onid ydy?
Which also raises a problem in rural areas, because we don't have 4G in some parts of my constituency, for example. So, it's going to mean that some parts of the country are going to be left behind for a period, while all of this happens. It's important that there is equality, isn't it?
Yn bendant, ac mae’r BBC ar hyn o bryd newydd ddechrau gweithio ar beilot yn yr ynysoedd Orkney i weld sut mae modd defnyddio signal 5G ar gyfer dibenion radio, ond hefyd gweithio gyda phartneriaid eraill yn yr Alban i weld sut mae modd darparu ystod o wasanaethau eraill o ran llywodraeth leol, o ran iechyd, o ran addysg. Felly, mae’r cyfleoedd yn llawer, llawer mwy na dim ond radio.
Certainly, and the BBC, at present, has just started working on a pilot in the Orkney isles to see how we can use a 5G signal for radio purposes, but also working with other partners in Scotland to see how we can provide a range of other services in terms of local government, in terms of health, in terms of education. So, the opportunities are much greater than just radio.
A'r pwynt canolog fanna yw, o allu cael partneriaid eraill i'w ddefnyddio, fod y gost yn gwneud synnwyr wedyn, felly i'r ardaloedd hynny lle bydd hynny'n mynd i godi, mi fyddai'r ffaith bod gyda chi ffordd o ddefnyddio'r gofod ar gyfer nifer fawr o bethau yn help aruthrol.
And the central point there is, from being able to have other partners to use that, that the cost makes sense then, so for those areas where that is going to rise, the fact that you have a way of using that space for a great number of things would be a great help.
Mae hyn i gyd yn her anferth wrth drio ceisio cyrraedd at y gynulleidfa o siaradwyr Cymraeg wrth symud ymlaen. Mae’r her dechnolegol, ond hefyd mae her y platfformau gwahanol yma, rŵan, a’r newid yn y ffordd y mae pobl yn defnyddio radio ac yn cyrraedd at radio. Ar hyn o bryd, mae Radio Cymru yn cyrraedd at 16.7 y cant o siaradwyr Cymraeg, rydw i’n credu, am 12 awr yr wythnos ar gyfartaledd. Nid ydw i’n siŵr iawn a ydy hwnnw'n ffigur da, neu ydy o’n ffigur—
This is all a major challenge in trying to reach a Welsh-speaking audience, moving forward. There's the technological challenge, but also there's the different kinds of platforms, and the change in the way that people use radio and have access to radio. At present, Radio Cymru reaches 16.7 per cent of Welsh speakers, I think, for 12 hours a week on average. I'm not sure whether that's a good figure, or—
Wel, rŷch chi’n mynd i ddisgwyl i fi neidio i mewn nawr—ffigur da. Fe fuaswn i wedi bod yn dawel fel arall. [Chwerthin.] Ar hyn o bryd, rydw i’n falch iawn o allu dweud bod ein cyrhaeddiad ni, yn ogystal, fel roeddech chi’n ei ddweud, ag am ba hyd mae pobl yn gwrando arnom ni bob wythnos, a’r ffigwr o siâr, hefyd, felly, o’r rheini sy’n gwrando ar y radio ar y pryd—bod y ffigurau hynny’n eithaf iach.
Heb fod yn rhy hir yn ôl, hyd yn oed ymhlith Cymry Cymraeg rhugl—sef, fel y byddech chi’n disgwyl i fi ddweud, cynulleidfa darged cwbl amlwg Radio Cymru—eu hoff orsaf oedd Radio 2. Wel, rydw i wrth fy modd i ddweud, wrth gwrs, fod hynny, bellach, wedi newid, ac unwaith eto Radio Cymru yw hoff ddewis y garfan honno, heb sôn am y gynulleidfa byddem ni’n ei thargedu, sydd, efallai, rywfaint yn llai rhugl, neu sy’n gwrando ar nifer o orsafoedd eraill. Ond, ar hyn o bryd, byddem ni’n dweud bod iechyd Radio Cymru yn rhywbeth y byddem ni’n falch ohono, ond nid yw hynny i ddweud nad yw’ch pwynt chi’n hollol ganolog. I fi, yn naturiol, ac i unrhyw olygydd Radio Cymru sydd wedi bod ac sydd i ddod yn y dyfodol, byddai gallu cyrraedd y gynulleidfa yn yr ardaloedd gwledig lle mae'r iaith, wrth gwrs, wedi ffynnu a chael ei gwarchod, ond lle mae signalau yn anodd oherwydd yr un pwyntiau daearyddol—mae honno'n andros o her.
Well, you would expect me to jump in there—a good figure. I would have been silent otherwise. [Laughter.] At present, I'm very pleased to be able to say that our reach, as well as, as you were saying, the length of time that people spend listening every week, and the figures of audience share, therefore, of those people listening to the radio at a time—those figures are relatively healthy.
Not too long ago, even for fluent Welsh speakers—and you would expect that they would be the target audience of Radio Cymru—their favourite station was Radio 2. Well, I'm delighted to be able to say that that has since changed, and, once again, Radio Cymru is the favourite choice of that cohort, without mentioning the audience that we would be targeting that is slightly less fluent or who listen to a range of stations. But, at present, I would say that the health of Radio Cymru is something that we would take pride in, but that's not to say that your point isn't a central part of this. For me, and any editor in Radio Cymru now and in the future, the ability to reach the audience in the rural areas, where the Welsh language has prospered and has been safeguarded, but where signals are difficult because of those geographical points—that is a major challenge.
Mae'r her yna, ond mae her hefyd yn y newid yn y demographic, achos mi fuaswn i'n tybio bod canran fawr o'r 16 y cant yna o grŵp oedran dros ryw oedran penodol—mi fuaswn i'n tybio. A oes gennych chi ffigurau ar hynny?
That is a challenge, but there's also a challenge in the demographic change, because I would suspect that a large percentage of that 16 per cent is in the age group that's over a certain age—I would suspect. Do you have figures on that?
Oes. Oedran ar gyfartaledd y rheini sy'n gwrando ar Radio Cymru yn rhywle tua'r 56. Rydw i'n meddwl, efallai, fod hynny rywfaint yn iau nag y byddai rhai pobl yn ei feddwl, ond, wrth gwrs, y garfan fwyaf fel un grŵp yw'r garfan hŷn, fel y byddech chi'n ei ddisgwyl, i ryw raddau, gan eu bod nhw ar gael i wrando ar y radio. Mae hynny yn sicr yn wir am Radio Cymru. Mae e wedi dod i lawr tipyn bach yn y blynyddoedd a aeth heibio yn raddol iawn. Fe gyrhaeddodd 59. Mae e wedi dod i lawr o hynny, ac mae hynny'n rhywbeth y buaswn i'n ymfalchïo ynddo fe o ran y dyfodol.
Ond rydych chi'n hollol iawn, hynny yw rydych chi wedi bod yn trafod nawr y datblygiadau technolegol a beth yw'r atebion ar gyfer y dyfodol. Fe fyddwn i'n dweud y byddem ni'n ymfalchïo o ddweud, pan mae'r cyfle wedi dod i lansio Radio Cymru 2, oherwydd, i raddau helaeth iawn, newidiadau technolegol, yn ogystal, wrth gwrs, â chefnogaeth olygyddol ac ariannol gan y BBC, yna rŷm ni wedi ei wneud e. Nawr, nid yw e'n rhwydd—
Yes. The average age of those who listen to Radio Cymru is around 56. I think that's slightly younger than some people would think, but the largest cohort as a group is the older cohort, as you would expect, to some extent, as they're available to listen to the radio. That's certainly true for Radio Cymru. It's come down a little bit over the past few years very gradually. It reached 59. It's fallen from that, and we would take pride in that for the future.
But you are entirely correct, that is you've been discussing technological developments and solutions for the future. I would say that we would take pride in saying that when the opportunity has presented itself to launch Radio Cymru 2 because, to a great extent, of technological developments, as well as editorial and financial support from the BBC, then we have taken that opportunity. Now, it's not easy—
A ydych chi wedi ei wneud o'n ddigon cyflym, ac ai hynny ydy'r ateb? Beth ydy pen draw Radio Cymru 2?
Have you done it quickly enough, and is that the solution? What is the end point of Radio Cymru 2?
Rŷm ni wedi dewis lansio Radio Cymru 2 ar DAB, ond hefyd, fel rŷch chi'n gwybod, yn ddigidol fel arall. Felly, mae e ar-lein. Mae e ar yr iPlayer radio app, felly i'r rheini sy'n mynd at—. Fe gawsom ni beilot Radio Cymru Mwy, lle'r oedd modd gweld mai'r rheini a arhosodd gyda Radio Cymru Mwy oedd y rheini a oedd yn gwrando drwy ffonau a thabledi. Nawr, nid dyna gynulleidfa draddodiadol Radio Cymru—fe fuaswn i'n dychmygu mai'r gynulleidfa arall honno ac, wrth gwrs, dyna'r gynulleidfa y byddai dyn yn dymuno ei darbwyllo i wrando ar Radio Cymru 2.
Hynny yw, mae yna groeso wedi bod i Radio Cymru 2. Mae'r croeso hwnnw, yn gwbl naturiol, wedi dod gan bobl a oedd yn galw am Radio Cymru 2, ac a oedd yn dymuno—roedd yna awch am Radio Cymru 2. Ein her ni yw cyrraedd y gynulleidfa sydd yn gwybod dim byd eto am Radio Cymru 2—sydd prin yn gwybod bod yna radio i'w gael yn Gymraeg. Wedyn, mae yna waith mawr i ddod, ond rŷm ni wedi defnyddio'r cyfle sydd wedi dod, a thrio ei ddefnyddio fe, gyda lot fawr o help technegol, mor greadigol ag y gallwn ni i gyrraedd cymaint o'r gynulleidfa ag y gallwn ni. Ond fe fyddwn i'n naturiol yn hoffi gweld y gynulleidfa rŷm ni'n gallu ei chyrraedd yn dipyn mwy.
We've chosen to launch Radio Cymru 2 on DAB, but, as you know, digitally as well. So, it's online. It's on the iPlayer radio app, so for those who go—. We had a pilot, Radio Cymru Mwy, where you could see that those who stayed with Radio Cymru Mwy were those who listened through phones and tablets. Now, that's not the traditional audience of Radio Cymru—I would imagine there's that other audience, and, of course, that's the audience that one would want to convince to listen to Radio Cymru 2.
That is, there's been a welcome for Radio Cymru 2. That has naturally came from people who were calling for Radio Cymru 2, and who wanted to see it in its place. Our challenge is to reach that audience that doesn't know anything about Radio Cymru 2—that doesn't know that radio is available in the Welsh language, even. So, there is a great deal of work to do, but we have used the opportunity that has presented itself, and we've tried to use it, with a great deal of technological help, as creatively as possible to reach as much of the audience as we can. But I naturally would like to see that audience that we can reach being bigger.
A beth ydy'r dyfodol? A ydy Radio Cymru 2 yma i aros?
And what's the future? Is Radio Cymru 2 here to stay?
Ydy, mae e. Hynny yw, roedd Radio Cymru Mwy yn beilot. Mae Radio Cymru 2 yma i aros, ond fe fyddwn i'n dweud hyn, ac nid dyma'r tro cyntaf y byddwn ni'n dweud hyn chwaith: mae yna gyfrifoldeb ar y gynulleidfa. Fe allwch chi alw am rywbeth ac, wrth gwrs, mae'n rhaid inni barhau i wrando o ran beth rŷm ni'n ei gynnig ar Radio Cymru 2, achos nid yw popeth yn mynd i blesio. Ond wrth i amser fynd yn ei flaen, drwy ddefnydd ar-lein ac yn ddigidol, fe fyddwn ni'n gallu gweld beth yw'r pleser sydd yna, beth yw'r gwerthfawrogiad sydd yna, a beth yw'r defnydd sydd yna o Radio Cymru a Radio Cymru 2 ar y cyd. Felly, mae yna gyfrifoldeb ar y gynulleidfa i wrando a dweud wrthym ni beth maen nhw'n feddwl hefyd.
Yes, it is. That is, Radio Cymru Mwy was a pilot. Radio Cymru 2 is here to stay, but I would say this, and this isn't the first time that we'll say this: there is a responsibility on the audience. You can call for something and, of course, we have to continue to listen in terms of what we offer on Radio Cymru 2, because not everything is going to please everyone. But as time goes on, through online use and digital use, we will be able to see what pleasure people derive from it, what the appreciation is, and what the use made of Radio Cymru and Radio Cymru 2 is. So, there is a responsibility on the audience to listen and to tell us what they think as well.
Ond mae'n rhaid i'r gynulleidfa fod eisiau gwrando, ac un o'r beirniadaethau rydw i wedi'i glywed am Radio Cymru 2 ydy bod y cyflwynwyr—rhai ohonyn nhw, beth bynnag—o fy nghenhedlaeth i, sydd ddim yn mynd i ddenu'r genhedlaeth iau, efallai. Efallai bod angen newid y balans yna. A fyddech chi'n derbyn y feirniadaeth yna?
But the audience needs to want to listen, and one of the criticisms that I've heard about Radio Cymru 2 is that the presenters—some of them, anyway—are from my generation, which is not going to attract a younger audience. Maybe we need to change that balance. Would you accept that criticism?
Sioe frecwast yw Radio Cymru 2 ar hyn o bryd, ac mae gan sioeau brecwast o un pen o'r wlad i'r llall job benodol iawn i'w wneud, ac os ydych chi'n mynd i ddal cynulleidfa adeg yna o'r bore, yna rydw i'n gwbl grediniol mai troi at sioe frecwast yw'r peth iawn i'w wneud. Ond rydw i hefyd yn gwbl grediniol, ac yn derbyn, gyda'r gofod sydd gan Radio Cymru 2, fod arbrofi, fod cynnig pop-ups lle rydych chi'n rhoi cyfle i leisiau newydd—rŷm ni wedi siarad rywfaint am y lleisiau llai profiadol yna. Rŷm ni wrthi yn siarad gydag, er enghraifft, y gorsafoedd myfyrwyr sydd yna o un pen y wlad i'r llall i holi a oes yna bobl ifanc a fyddai'n dymuno cyfle, a oes yna eisteddfodau, a oes yna adegau o'r flwyddyn lle byddai, o ran y bobl ifanc a cholegau o bob math, ac ysgolion, yna ddiddordeb mewn creu gwasanaeth iddyn nhw. Rŷm ni eisoes wedi cael ysgolion yn dod i eistedd gyda'r sioe frecwast. Mae eu brwdfrydedd nhw wedi bod yn ffantastig. Mae e wedi codi'r tîm, ac roedd eu gweld nhw'n gadael yr adeilad efo gwên ar eu hwynebau yn beth amheuthun. Wedyn, mae honno yn berthynas y byddem ni'n licio ei magu.
Radio Cymru 2 is currently a breakfast show, and breakfast shows from one end of the country to the other have a very specific job to do, and if you're going to draw an audience at that time of the morning, then I think a breakfast show is the right way to do that. But I do accept, with the space that Radio Cymru 2 has, that experimentation, that offering pop-ups where you have opportunities for new voices, and less experienced voices—. We're discussing with, for example, the student stations that exist from one end of the country to the other to ask whether there are young people who would want an opportunity, whether there are eisteddfodau, whether there are times of year when young people and colleges of all kind, and schools, would be interested in providing a service for them. We've already had schools coming to sit with the breakfast show. Their enthusiasm has been fantastic. It's lifted the team, and we've seen them leaving the building with a smile on their face. So, that's a relationship that we would like to develop.
Jest un cwestiwn clou gen i: o ran eich sylw eich bod chi'n arbrofi, a ydych chi'n arbrofi, er enghraifft, i efallai newid yr hyn sydd yn digwydd ar Radio Cymru sydd ddim ar DAB? Hynny yw, mae yna sioe frecwast sydd yn fwy sgyrsiol, ac sydd heb gymaint o ffocws ar newyddion. A fyddai yna symud i newid beth sy'n digwydd ar Radio Cymru pe byddai hynny'n dod yn fwy poblogaidd ar DAB?
Just one quick question from me: in terms of your comment that you're experimenting, for example, are you experimenting perhaps to change what's happening on Radio Cymru that's not on DAB? That is, there is a breakfast show that's more conversational, and which doesn't have such a great focus on news. Would there be a move to change what's happening on Radio Cymru if that became more popular on DAB?
Rwy'n credu eich bod chi'n iawn. Mae rheswm yn dweud, os ŷch chi'n gallu sefydlu cynulleidfa â dilyniant digon cryf ar Radio Cymru 2 ar DAB, ac wrth edrych ymlaen i'r dyfodol trwy wasanaethau digidol eraill, yna mae synnwyr yn dweud y medrwch chi wedyn edrych ar bobl fel fy mam, sy'n dweud, 'O, mae'r gân gyntaf yn dod yn rhy fuan. Rwyf eisiau i'r newyddion bara tan 9 o'r gloch', ac yn y blaen. Hynny yw, mae'r dewis yn mynd i fod yna wedyn i olygydd yn y dyfodol. Byddwn i'n awgrymu mai camu'n ofalus yw'r peth call i'w wneud a gweld sut mae Radio Cymru 2 yn gafael a sicrhau bod pobl yn gallu dod ar ei draws e ac yn awchu i wrando arno fe. Ac wedyn, mae gallu cynnig y dewis yna yn y bore yn rhywbeth nad ydym ni erioed wedi gallu ei wneud o'r blaen, ac mae hynny, yn naturiol, yn agor drysau.
I think you're right. Reason would tell you that if you can establish an audience and a following that is strong enough on Radio Cymru 2 on DAB, and in looking to the future with other digital services, then sense would tell you that you could then look at people like my mum, who says, 'That first song comes too soon. I want the news to last until 9 o'clock', and so on. So, the choice is going to be there for an editor in the future. I would suggest that we should proceed carefully and see how Radio Cymru 2 takes a hold on its audience to ensure that people can come across it and that they want to listen to it. And then, the opportunity to offer that choice in the morning is something that we've never been able to do in the past, and that naturally opens doors.
Symudwn ymlaen nawr at gerddoriaeth, a Suzy Davies.
We move on now to music, and Suzy Davies.
Diolch. First of all, thank you for your evidence, and I'm happy to congratulate, particularly, Radio Cymru and its spin-offs for the work that it's done on Welsh-language music in particular.
I couldn't see much in the evidence about music coming from Wales, either English or Welsh, on Radio Wales. So, do you want to add a bit of colour to the evidence?
Yes, sure. A very strong track record. So, daytime programmes would be a mix of music. But if you look back at what we've produced, say, over the last month, about 20 to 30 per cent of the music we play on daytime programmes would be Welsh music, including Welsh language. We supported Welsh Language Music Day, so that's also part of the mix. Then, you have a range of programmes: Janice Long coming from Wrexham in the evening—where Welsh music plays a stronger element; indeed, live music and sessions as part of that, and supporting new talent—through to Chris Needs in the evening: an eclectic mix, but again including Welsh and Welsh-language music there. On weekends, Adam Walton is 100 per cent Welsh music, again broadcasting from north Wales—a huge champion of new Welsh music—to Frank Hennessy on a Sunday, who is at the more traditional end of Celtic music in Wales. So, I think across the board, a huge supporter of Welsh music, working with the BBC across the UK on things like BBC Introducing—artists like Dusky Grey, who was supported on our playlist and went on to be playlisted by Radio 1. We're working with Radio 1 on the Biggest Weekend in Swansea. So, new Welsh artists will play a strong role as part of that weekend in May, alongside Ed Sheeran and Taylor Swift.
So, yes, we are very proud of the work that we do in terms of Welsh music, but I think, in particular, champions of new Welsh music like Janice Long, Bethan Elfyn, Adam Walton. Lisa Gwilym now has a new programme from Bangor on a Sunday evening. Very strong supporters of new Welsh talent.
Thank you. I thought it was just helpful to have that on the record, particularly as you said you're aiming to extend the audience for Radio Wales anyway. That's obviously more reach for music coming from Wales.
I wanted then to turn to network. I notice in your evidence you're quite happy to talk about other elements of the arts. You've got some reach into Radio 3 and Radio 4. I'm particularly looking forward to the series about the Habsburgs, I must admit. But, with the exception of classical music, I don't see anything in here about commissioning for programmes for Radio 4 in particular—either short feature series that might be about Welsh music, or episodes about Welsh music that might be in programmes that aren't just about Wales, if I can put it like that. Can you give me some sort of indication about what kind of work is going on in that territory, particularly as we've now got the new arrangement about portrayal and production—I don't want to call them quotas, but they are basically quotas—which are probably featuring quite large in your mind at the moment?
There's probably a couple of things. I mean, obviously, we are leading on the Welsh service use, so we're not representing necessarily the national networks. But I do think we work closely—. Again, I think the Biggest Weekend would be an example of that, working with Radio 1. Not just Welsh music in Wales: the Stereophonics are going to be performing in Coventry with Radio 2. The Manic Street Preachers are going to be performing at Belfast with Radio 6 Music. So, it's also about how the BBC takes Welsh music outside of Wales. So, I think Radio 1, musically—very strong in terms of BBC Introducing. Obviously, Huw Stephens is on the station and is a big champion of Welsh music. Radio 2, because of the demographic, tends to be more established in terms of some of the artists that I've mentioned, and you've mentioned the work of the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, in terms of the concerts that they regularly have on BBC Three. Obviously, in terms of Radio 4, we have a network radio team based in Wales that is producing content for Radio 4. There's a series on at the moment, On and Off the Valley Lines, looking at real life stories on the Valleys lines and the stories that lead off of that. There was a recent half hour on Radio 4 about the work of National Theatre Wales. They regularly feature reviews on programmes like Front Row, so they did a big piece on Tiger Bay when it was on at the Wales Millennium Centre. So, I think there's rich content not only about Wales on the national networks, but being produced by teams here in Wales.
Yes. I was talking specifically about music and network commissioning, I suppose, or pitches made from within Wales. I appreciate that you're Radio Wales/Radio Cymru, but there will be eyes on you to see what you've been doing in the past and what might be attractive for network viewers. I don't know if there's anything more you want to add about that, because it's great to see some elements of the arts reflected on network, but modern music then just doesn't seem to be, apart from Radio 3 and Radio 4. Well, not Radio 3, but Radio 4 in particular.
I mean, Radio 4 is obviously not a music network—
Sure, but their focus would tend to be on an arts review programme like Front Row, and I think they've got a strong track record of being in Wales and reviewing programmes in Wales. When it comes to programmes about music, then it will tend to be more of Radios 1, 2 and 3 and what they're doing there. But there are conversations. We talk regularly to our colleagues at network radio and the controllers, with Bob Shennan, the director of radio. And, as I say, there are teams in Wales making those programmes for network and right across Radio 3, not just the actual concerts themselves.
Sori, rydw i'n gofyn gormod o gwestiynau heddiw, ond mae gen i ddiddordeb. Nid jest beth sydd ar y radio sy'n bwysig, ond datblygu bandiau Cymraeg hefyd. Yn fy nyddiau ieuenctid i, roedd lot fawr o gigs Radio Cymru yn teithio o gwmpas Cymru er mwyn rhoi cyfle i bobl ifanc glywed bandiau. Ond rydw i'n clywed gan fandiau ifanc nawr eu bod nhw’n ei ffeindio fe'n anodd iawn i gael y gefnogaeth ariannol i ymwneud â'r sector, ynghylch gigio, teithio ac ariannu hynny. Felly, a oes yna unrhyw gynlluniau i ehangu ar hynny er mwyn iddyn nhw allu bod yn ddigon esblygol i fod ar Radio Cymru neu Radio Wales yn y dyfodol?
Sorry, I've asked too many questions today, but I am interested in this. It's not just what's on the radio that's important, but developing Welsh bands. In my younger days, there were lots of Radio Cymru gigs touring Wales in order to give the opportunity for young people to hear bands. But I hear from young bands that they find it very difficult to have the financial backing to be engaged with the sector in terms of gigging and touring, and funding that. So, are there any plans to expand on that in order that they can have the funding or the backing to be on Radio Cymru or Radio Wales in the future?
Oes, yn sicr. Mae Brwydr y Bandiau yn rhywbeth a gafodd chwistrelliad o gefnogaeth wrth i ni gydweithio â'r Eisteddfod yn ddiweddar. Hynny yw, o allu cynnig gwobr a chynnig gig mawr ar y diwedd, roedd y diddordeb yn cynyddu. A phwrpas Brwydr y Bandiau, yn amlwg, yw ddim jest bod hi'n gynnwys i ni, ond bod e'n gyfle i fandiau gael y syniad o greu set ddeg munud sydd yn Gymraeg a fyddai'n parhau wedyn iddyn nhw ei berfformio. Ond hefyd ddod i'r arfer â'r syniad o beth mae'n ei gymryd i hysbysebu ac i ymddangos ac i ddenu cynulleidfa ac yn y blaen. Felly, mae hynny yn parhau. Ond y tu hwnt i bethau felly, mae yna sesiynau—mae yna bethau fel traciau'r wythnos lle rŷn ni'n trio rhoi—. Nid yn unig i fandiau sydd wedi sefydlu, ond i hybu enwau bandiau newydd a'u chwarae nhw'n ddigon cyson nes bod yr enw'n golygu rhywbeth i bobl. Ond, fel gorsaf, mae gennym ni uwch-gynhyrchydd cerddoriaeth yn Gareth Iwan Jones. Rhan o rôl Gareth yw nid yn unig ymboeni am yr hyn sydd ar yr awyr, ond siarad yn gyson â'r rheini sy'n cynhyrchu cerddoriaeth, gyda labeli, gyda stiwdios, i holi pwy sydd o gwmpas, beth sy'n digwydd ac i gynnig bod yno. Mae e, yn digwydd bod, yn yr wythnosau diwethaf wedi bod mewn trafodaethau gydag eraill sy'n ymboeni yn yr un ffordd â chi o gwmpas y maes yma i weld beth ellid ei wneud. Beth yw'r camau ymarferol allwn ni eu cymryd i hybu ac yn y blaen? Wedyn, mae Gareth yn rhan eithaf canolog o drafodaethau o'r fath, achos ein bod ni i gyd yn gweld yr un peth, rydw i'n credu, sef bod unrhyw beth y gallwn ni ei wneud i hybu ar y lefel honno yn amlwg hefyd o fantais i ni a'n cynulleidfaoedd mewn blynyddoedd i ddod.
Yes, certainly. Brwydr y Bandiau, or battle of the bands, is something that received an injection of support as we collaborated with the Eisteddfod recently. So, from being able to offer a prize and a major gig at the end, the interest increased. And the purpose of Brwydr y Bandiau isn't just that it's content for us, but it's an opportunity for bands to think about creating a ten-minute Welsh language set that they could then perform. And they would find out what it takes to advertise and to appear and to draw an audience and so on. So, that's continuing. But beyond things like that, there are sessions and there are things like track of the week where we try to give that slot not just to established bands, but to new bands and play them often enough so that their name gets out there. As a radio station, we have a senior producer of music, Gareth Iwan Jones. Part of his role is not just to be concerned with what's on the air, but to talk frequently with those who produce music, with labels, with studios, to ask them who's around and what's happening and to offer to be there. Over the past few weeks, he's been in discussions with others who, like you, are concerned with this area in order to see what can be done. What are the practical steps that we can take to promote and so on? So, Gareth is a central part of those kinds of discussions, because we all see the same picture, which is that anything we can do to help on that level will of course be of advantage to us and our audiences in years to come.
Yes, it's worth talking about Horizons, which is a partnerships with the Arts Council of Wales that is doing exactly what you're talking about. It's supporting artists, not just in terms of bringing them to the radio station. Both Radio Cymru and Radio Wales are big supporters of Horizons artists; they feature almost daily on Radio Wales, so there is that element of it. But it's also about mentoring, it's also about funding, it's about how to get their messages out there. We take them to festivals in Wales, like Festival No.6, it will feature as part of the Biggest Weekend in Swansea, but also to events outside of Wales and, indeed, the UK as well. So, I think Horizons is absolutely speaking to what you're talking about there. Radio Wales is 40 this year in November, so we're going to be doing a lot of music events as part of that. But, again, to go back to BBC Introducing, if you've got a laptop and you can upload audio, then you can be on the BBC. It's as simple as that. That's how people like Adam Walton in Wrexham get their music every week; it's on the BBC Introducing uploader. So, if you can record it anywhere and upload it, then you can get directly to BBC presenters and producers.
Oh, I listen to Adam all the time. It's amazing. I love the programme.
He'll be very pleased.
There we are. I don't need to advertise here now. Mick Antoniw, any more questions on—?
For the first time, the BBC's now got an external regulator, and Ofcom's remit is to ensure that audiences in individual nations of the UK are 'well served', and that doesn't mean just globally but also segments of population within that, and principally, in this particular instance of course, Welsh speakers. It also has the responsibility of ensuring that a suitable proportion of network programmes are made outside London, including in each of the UK's nations, and that there is a more distinctive output and service provision generally as well. How do you think that this dramatic constitutional change in regulatory terms is going to affect you? Or are you not expecting there to be much change out of the Rhodri and Rhodri show?
The Rhodri and Rhodri show. That's a novel one. I'll consider that format. So, in terms of our regulatory obligations, the minimum number of news hours that Radio Cymru is obliged to broadcast every week is 23 hours, as set out by Ofcom, and it's slightly higher for Radio Wales at 32 hours. In reality, for both services, the number of actual hours of clearly definable news is higher, and then there are hours upon hours of other content that is very, very close to news. So, for example, take today's Beti a'i Phobol programme—Beti George interviews. That's close to news, but it wouldn't be formally counted as news hours.
Understandably, you as a committee have been focused on the news element, but I'd also urge you to consider the other part of the Ofcom radio requirement for both Radio Wales and Radio Cymru, which is to offer a wide range of programmes that portray Wales across music, across factual, across comedy, and so on. That element is equally important as well. So, in terms of serving our audiences, news is absolutely vital, but I think it's important, when it comes to understanding the purpose of both Radio Cymru and Radio Wales, it's not a case of news and something else, other bits. The 'other bits'—entertainment, comedy and music—are equally important in giving a Welsh voice, a Welsh tone to the purposes of both Radio Wales and Radio Cymru.
You obviously exceed the requirement that Ofcom imposes upon the BBC for news. One of the criticisms of Ofcom was, of course, that their requirement is too timid, but I don't say that as an implied criticism of the BBC. I think it's admirable that you do provide such a volume of news output. Are you intending to exceed the expectations of Ofcom in all the other sectors that I have mentioned, in the same way as you do in news? What I'm trying to get out of this is some understanding of whether the BBC is going to play ahead of the game, as it were.
Well, in terms of the other sectors to which I think you're referring, take for example sports programming. So, it's now nearly 11:35. There will be a live commentary on Radio Wales and Radio Cymru from the Wales versus China game. I don't know what the score is.
That's why I've got the headphones on. [Laughter.]
That type of commitment isn't set out in numbers, isn't quantified, but rest assured that our commitment to ensuring that Radio Wales serve their respective audiences with a wide range of content is absolutely central and is at the core of what we do.
I think you can take the view that somehow we are forced to do this content. It is our editorial ambition for the station. We're proud that we do the amount of news that we do, and the quality news and distinctive offer, similarly as we are with music. Radio Wales is making huge investments in terms of comedy. Ruth Jones is back on the station after six years. We are investing our support in Machynlleth Comedy Festival in terms of partnership there. So, you look at the range of content on both stations—all the different levers we need to pull to talk about increasing the audience of Radio Wales, we are looking at every part of that in terms of volume, in terms of quality and in terms of the range of output that we produce. So, clearly, what Ofcom sets out is a framework that we need to work to, but we are absolutely the ones who are pushing the boundaries on what we do, how we do it and the levels of quality of that.
Buaswn i'n ychwanegu nad yw Ofcom wedi cyfeirio o gwbl at gefnogi ysgrifennu Cymraeg creadigol, ond rŷm ni'n buddsoddi'n drwm yn Radio Cymru mewn llyfrau wythnosol, mewn datblygu monologau a dramâu ac yn y blaen. Hynny yw, mae'n stwff drud i roi ymlaen lle gallech chi gael sgwrs a chwarae cân, ond byddai ein cynulleidfa ni yn gweld bai arnom ni ac yn pwyntio bys, rwy'n amau, cyn Ofcom, o bosibl, pe na fuasem yn cynnig yr ehangder yna. Wedyn buaswn i, fel Colin, wrth gwrs, yn dweud mai ein huchelgais ni, ein cynulleidfa ni, sy'n dod flaenaf i ni.
I would just add that Ofcom hasn't referred at all to support for creating Welsh writing, but we do heavily invest in Radio Cymru in books of the week, in developing monologues and dramas and so on. It's an expensive thing to produce, but our audience would blame us and point fingers, before Ofcom did, if we didn't provide those things and if we didn't offer that range. So, like Colin, would say that our ambition, our audience, is our foremost consideration.
Diolch yn fawr iawn. Rŷm ni wedi dod â'r sesiwn i ben. Byddwn yn edrych ymlaen at gael y wybodaeth rŷch chi wedi'i haddo am y memorandwm, ond os oes unrhyw wybodaeth ychwanegol rŷch chi am ei rhoi, croeso i chi ei rhoi hi. Byddwn yn cymryd mwy o dystiolaeth ac yn cysylltu gyda chi pan fyddwn ni'n lansio'r adroddiad, rwy'n siŵr, ond diolch yn fawr iawn.
Thank you very much. We've come to the end of the session and we look forward to having information that you've promised about the memorandum, but if there's anything else you want to provide, you're welcome to do that. We'll be taking more evidence and will contact you, I'm sure, when we launch the report.
Rŷm ni'n symud ymlaen, felly, at eitem 4—
We're going to move on now to item 4—
Pethau pwysig yn gyntaf gan Siân Gwenllian.
Eitem 4, papurau i'w nodi: radio yng Nghymru, tystiolaeth ychwanegol gan Bwyllgor Cynghori Ofcom; wedyn tystiolaeth ychwanegol am gwotâu newyddion a materion cyfoes BBC Radio Wales; ac wedyn llythyr gan Lyfrgell Genedlaethol Cymru: gwybodaeth ychwanegol. Mae Rhodri Glyn Thomas wedi cynnig ein bod ni'n cynnal cyfarfod pwyllgor yno, felly, mae'n siŵr y gallwn ni fynd i Aberystwyth rhywbryd i gynnal cyfarfod. Rwy'n siŵr bod nifer ohonom ni'n falch i fynd yn ôl i Aber wastad. Ac wedyn gohebiaeth gan Gymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg. A oes unrhyw sylw gan Aelodau ar yr ohebiaeth, yn hytrach na'r ffaith bod Gareth Bale wedi sgorio?
Important things first from Siân Gwenllian.
Item 4, papers to note: radio in Wales, additional evidence from Ofcom Advisory Committee; additional evidence on news and current affairs quotas for BBC Radio Wales; a letter from the National Library for Wales: additional information. And Rhodri Glyn Thomas has offered that we hold a committee meeting there, so I'm sure that we can go to Aberystwyth sometime to have a meeting. I'm sure that many of us will be very pleased to go back to Aber always. And then correspondence from Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg. Does anybody have any comments on the correspondence rather than the fact that Gareth Bale has scored?
Well, when you have Bale, what can I say? Any comments? No. Okay.
Sori, jest parthed papur 4.4 gan Gymdeithas yr Iaith, rŷm ni'n mynd i drafod ein blaenraglen waith ar ôl y Pasg, felly maen nhw wedi gofyn i ni wneud darn o waith ar ddatganoli darlledu. Byddwn yn cymryd hynny i ystyriaeth fel unrhyw syniad arall fel rhan o'r flaenraglen waith honno.
Sorry, just in terms of paper 4.4, correspondence from Cymdeithas yr Iaith, we're going to discuss our forward work programme after Easter, so they've asked for us to do a piece of work on the devolution of broadcasting and we'll take that into consideration like any other idea as part of our forward work programme.
bod y pwyllgor yn penderfynu gwahardd y cyhoedd o weddill y cyfarfod yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 17.42(vi).
that the committee resolves to exclude the public from the remainder of the meeting in accordance with Standing Order 17.42(vi).
Cynigiwyd y cynnig.
Eitem 5—cynnig o dan Reol Sefydlog 17.42 i wahardd y cyhoedd o weddill y cyfarfod. A ydy pawb yn hapus gyda hynny? Diolch.
Item 5 is a motion under Standing Order 17.42 to resolve to exclude the public from the rest of the meeting. Is everyone content with that? Thank you.
Derbyniwyd y cynnig.
Daeth rhan gyhoeddus y cyfarfod i ben am 11:39.
The public part of the meeting ended at 11:39.
Cywiriad/Correction: 'I incorrectly said that Mon FM broadcasts 100 per cent of their output in Welsh. In fact they are obliged to broadcast at least 50 per cent in Welsh but with their bilingual output that often means that that they achieve more than that, up to 75 per cent at times.'