In defense of BBC WHYS

This isn’t the first time that WHYS is receiving critical comments. There were others, to which I responded earlier stating that the BBC views [WHYS] as second rate since none of its seasoned journalists present it.

Contributing to WHYS doesn’t imply making a report on a certain situation but giving one’s opinion about it. As the name of the show shows, it’s about views from different parts of the WORLD. So it is possible that some can be shocked by some views, especially those who can’t interact with opposite views.

Email 1 complains about the fact that “More like AM radio talk shows with British accents controlling content”. This complaint sounds queer as what matters is what people say and not in what voice or accent. Apart from the presenters and some contributors, on the show there are accents from different parts of the world, especially Africa and the USA.

The show may lack depth from time to time. But this also depends on the expectations of the listener. WHYS is by no means a show to lecture on an event inviting just academics and other specialists to capture listeners without giving them a chance to state what they think. An in-depth show requires experts and a preparation taking weeks if not months. There are 30 minutes BBC programmes like “assignment” which must take the presenter at least a week to make search, interviews, editing etc.

But WHYS is a show in which listeners speak to one another about their personal views and experiences. It’s a show done live on the spur of the moment. Listeners and presenter can’t know what’s going to be told next by the contributor speaking live. What matters is that they stick to the subject.

WHYS remains a unique show as its content is made by and for the listeners. It is also an occasion to raise different questions which can have a follow-up on the blog. The fact that is podcast extensively shows its popularity. Just in the past three months, from November to January, the monthly downloads exceeded 143,000. As for January the downloads reached 41,959.

So Mr Ros even if you receive a thousand emails complaining about the show, there are more thousands who will come to its defence. I hope that it will last longer and longer. I hope it won’t be closed as it happened to its sister program Have Your Say , which has been shelved as an archive after being broadcast for more than 25 years first as weekly a radio show before becoming also broadcast on television and online.

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