• Author:Ben Jones
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Thought for the day; the big debate

The BBC is doing what it likes doing best; talking to itself, about itself. The latest topic; BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme Thought for the Day slot.

I listen to Today every day and like many listeners make it an important part of my daily routine and enjoy complaining about it and shouting or mumbling with discontent at the wireless. That said, I consider the programme to be a national treasure.

I am fascinated by the current debate – which appears to have been instigated by some of the presenters of the programme who, in the course of interviews and discussions about the recent 60th anniversary of the first episode, appeared to have questioned the ongoing relevance and value of the ‘thought for the day’ slot. I know what they mean. It is – alongside the weather – the part of the programme that prompts my attention to wander – it is often the time, I drift off into other thoughts for my day ahead. That is not to say that every contributor is boring – although many are – but that it is rare that I enjoy the slot and even rarer than I remember what was said ten minutes after it was broadcast.

I am however not in the “lets get rid of it” camp – as John Humprhys appears to be but I do see the need for some change. I understand the routine of rotating different faiths and faith leaders in this slot but surely they should expand the pool of contributors so it loses its religious focus. It is the smack of piety, pomposity and self importance that turns me off – the feeling of being lectured through my radio. Frankly, so many of the contributions simply sound like they are from another age. More diverse speakers please; more people from business, civic society, poets, writers, sportspeople, leaders in other roles and walks of life who can get us thinking – a 2 minute TED talk – rather than a 2 minute sermon would get me and many millions of other thinking more than the current fayre. If it continues in its current form it will just get less and less relevant by the day –  a fate the rest of the programme has avoided.


Photo taken from BBC website: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006qj9z

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