Now the master faces some questions

THERE is most likely nothing, as all listeners to the excellent Today Programme on Radio 4 will know, that broadcaster, journalist, Mastermind presenter, writer and charity founder John Humphrys does not know about good news interviewing.

Readers may well understand then, that I felt somewhat intimidated at the prospect of sitting him in the interview chair while I, with my mere three years of experience in journalism versus his 53, ask him the questions.

No matter. Taking a leaf from the book of one of the BBC’s most experienced reporters - I thought he might like that - I jumped straight in and fired away. So here is John Humphrys on:

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The future of the BBC in the face of budget cuts. John himself recently signed a two-year contract to continue presenting the Today Programme, agreeing to take a pay cut.

“The danger with any big organisation is that it begins to think the most important thing is its own survival. Then it does things that are geared towards its survival rather than towards the interests of the people it is supposed to be serving.

“I don’t know what’s going to happen. But what should happen is that we should spend as much money as we possibly can on content and as little as we can on management and all the other bits and pieces.”

The future of Radio 4. The BBC Trust recently ran a review which showed that the majority of listeners to the station were white, middle-aged and middle-class, prompting questions as to whether it should broaden its appeal.

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“Radio 4 is easily the most important cultural institution in Britain. It does what it does brilliantly.

“Any suggestion that it should change is complete and utter tosh.

“You cannot say, we are going to produce one radio station that appeals to everybody. You decide what you think is good programming.

“More people listen to Radio 4 now than they have at any point in history. Therefore it’s meeting the demands of its audience.

“Nobody at the BBC has any intention of saying, let’s make Radio 4 any different.”

For the full interview see this Friday’s Courier & Weekly News

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