They didn’t Go4It 

17 March 2009

Radio 4 ditches last remaining children’s series

BBC Radio 4 is to ditch it’s children’s programme, Go4It, after seven years. Apparently the average age of the shows listeners was nowhere near it’s target audience, being, as it was, over 50.

Should we be surprised that this experiment in children’s radio programming failed? Can’t say I am.

When I grew up in the 1980s, my radio listening was rather limited. I certainly wouldn’t have gone near Radio 4 – I probably never even heard any Radio 4 other than the schools programming they played us at primary school (which included the delights of the Thursday morning assembly programme). And I’d guess it was the same for most of my peers.

Indeed if something akin to Go4It was on in my childhood (and apparently there was), I probably only would have listened to it if my parents had pointed me to it and said “this is good!”. As it happened, my parents weren’t (and still aren’t – as far as I know) Radio 4 listeners. Add that into the current landscape where children’s programming is increasingly separate, on it’s own channels, kept well away from adult-orientated content, and Go4It was never really going to get very far.

But lets not beat Radio 4 too much about what might look a rather obvious failure. It could have worked. At least they tried, and gave it a good run for its money. But ultimately if the BBC wants to reach children via their radio, there is really only one place to go – a dedicated station.

Something akin to the original Radio 5 perhaps, which launched when I was a kid, and was a station I enjoyed listening to, and did listen to regularly.

In the current economic climate, it seems unlikely that such a dedicated station will appear any time soon from the BBC. But hopefully one day the money will be there, and the demand will no doubt be waiting.

A member of the Transdiffusion Broadcasting System
Liverpool, Thursday 21 October 2021