Thursday, February 02, 2012

Tractor production at record level

BBC Radio 4's Today programme, The Guardian tells us, had an average weekly audience of 7.15 million in the last three months of 2011, proclaiming a great "boost" for the programme (see below).

This, we are told, is "a whisker away from its biggest ever listenership and just 90,000 behind Moyles on Radio 1, who had an audience of 7.24 million". Then we learn that: "Radio 4 insiders attributed Today's growing popularity to big news stories such as the faltering economy and fears of a double dip recession".

Methinks, though, we are seeing more than a little spin here. Go back to May last year and we see "record" audience figures of 7.03 million listeners for the first three months of 2011. Interestingly, back then, a Radio 4 spokeswoman attributed the rise in its audience to the big, breaking news that dominated the year's start, including the Japanese tsunami and the "Arab spring".

However, given the inherent errors in the sampling process, and the changes to the recording system (described by Autonomous Mind), that would suggest that there could be no significant difference between the beginning of last year and the end. Arguably, audience figures are flatlining.

Last May, we were thus equating BBC figures with Soviet tractor production figures. It seems nothing much has changed.