BBC WHYS Calling!

Ros Atkins from BBC WHYS has kindly answered all my 13 questions to him about WHYS Show . Here are his answers:

1) Do you check the originality of the comments you put on the blog. Some may, although it is a very rare possibility, copy comments from other articles and attribute them to themselves?We don’t check every message’s originality but you can tell quite easily when someone is copying and pasting. If we spot that, it doesn’t get published.

2) There are some people who contribute on the blog without revealing where they are from. I am sure when you receive their comments you know where they are. Can you add their locations at the bottom of their comments?

We can’t tell where people are. We do encourage people to say but if they don’t there’s nothing we can do about. We wouldn’t publish someone’s whereabouts against their will anyway.

3) There are contributors who don’t reveal their real names. They use just pseudo names. Are real names important? On my part, I put my very real full name!

Real names aren’t important. If people feel comfortable using an online name that is fine.

4) Can you put every show or at least part of it on Youtube? I think some are curious to know what the atmosphere is like when the show is on air.

We’re looking in to doing a lot more video than we do at the moment. I’m not sure about every show, but certainly some of them.

5) Do you keep an archive of the conversations you have with people before they come on air? Can you publish some remarkable ones?

We don’t and I don’t think we would want to. If people have a contribution to make we invite them to comment on the blog or the programme. If they don’t want to, we’ll leave it at that.

6) The show lasts one hour. How much time do you spend contacting those who like to be on the show?

We get in 7 hours before going on air, and start contacting people after we’ve picked our subject/s. So we have around 6 hours on a normal day.

7) Do you still have a two-part edition of the show or is this limited just to summe time? (I had the occasion of taking part in the second edition of the show twice without being able to listen to it as in Morocco, only the first part is broadcast at 17:00 GMT) In the second part of the show do you keep the same guests in the first one or do you get new ones?

We have two editions during British Summertime. Sometimes we invite a guest onto both editions, sometimes we don’t. There’s no rule. No-one hears both editions though so we do occasionally hear someone making a similar comment in each hour.

8) The daily show preparation and presentation starts from the morning. Does the show presenter keep presence in the studio since the debate starts?

I go into the studio around 30 minutes before we go on air. Other than that I am with the rest of the team in the office.

9) Do BBC correspondents outside UK help you get contributors to the show? If not how do you get to contact people in highly censored countries like Cuba?

We get help from BBC staff all around the world.

10) How many local radio stations outside UK transmit the show, in addition to those in the USA?

We broadcast on Kiss FM in Tanzania and Thetha FM in South Africa.

11) I am sure you get a lot of comments everyday. On average, how many comments do you get daily?

There’s not really an average day but most fall between 100 and 1000 comments.

12) Will you reveal statistics of the comments you get as in Have Your Say by showing the number of total comments received, those published and those rejected?

No. We don’t have that facility on our blog.

13) And finally when will the old/ original blog be repaired or is the current one going to be it definite replacement?

We’ve got a meeting tomorrow about just that. We will move back to the BBC and leave WordPress behind but only when we are sure that the BBC one will work.


  1. Margot the Marrakesh Mystic said,

    February 16, 2008 at 5:31 pm

    Regarding your comment about why some people would leave comments on articles using pseudo names, there can be some valid reasons.

    Just this morning I commented on a NY Times article, but as it was a controversial opinion I stated on an issue which is likely to be very controversial in the country where I live, I did put my real city, but not my real name. I did not wish people in my own city to come across my opinion.

  2. Abdelilah Boukili said,

    February 17, 2008 at 11:55 pm

    Thanks Margot for your comment. I raised the question of people hiding their names because some do so out of fear. There are those who live in highly censored countries. They can’t talk openly and when they have to, they assume pseudo names for self-protections.

  3. Bunc said,

    February 23, 2008 at 2:58 am

    Hi Abdelilah – people sometimes use pseudo names due to privacy issues. They want to be able to make comments on the internet without evryone being able to trace exactly who they are. I dont think this is unreasonable at all – even in coutries where it is safe to express your opinions.

    The names people come up with are one of the humerous things on the net.

  4. Abdelilah Boukili said,

    February 23, 2008 at 7:26 pm

    Thanks Bunc for your comment. It’s true privacy is an important matter. It’s a fundamental part of one’s freedom.

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