Radio 1 Inside the studios of Radio 1 Credit: Paul Denchfield
The BBC should consider establishing Radio 1's Newsbeat as the central newsroom for all four networks in a bid to make savings, according to an independent report commissioned by the broadcaster.

The report, which was made public this week by the BBC, was produced by John Myers, CEO of the Radio Academy.

It looks at potential synergies and savings which could be made within Radio 1, Radio 2, 6 Music and 1Xtra.

In his report Myers refers to news operations within BBC popular music radio as being "expensive to run and structurally and financially complicated".

He praises the production qualities of the bulletins and extended programmes as "first class with very modern techniques and delivery and excellent journalistic content".

But he highlights the "significant" costs caused by the provision of news to all four networks, with some featuring news readers who read the news, but don't write it.

"... to deliver this commitment 'Newsbeat' employs 52 full time staff in addition to its own technical and production personnel. Over at Radio 2 they have a team of announcers who read the news on the hour (outside of breakfast) but do not write any of the news material themselves.

"Instead the BBC Newsroom writes the news and feed this to the newsreaders for them to read out for their own broadcasting booths. They have very little interplay with the general presenters, and due to the nature of their structure they do little else until the next hour's bulletin.

"6 Music has its own music journalists but alongside this they also host five people paid for by BBC News and recharged back to the network who also read the news on the network but don't write it. The combined cost of providing the news service to all four networks, including recharges and staffing is significant".

In his recommendations Myers suggests reducing recharges from news and exploring the possibility of Newsbeat becoming the centre newsroom for all four networks, with independent network readers approved by each controller.

A BBC spokesman clarified to the Newsbeat team currently works across both Radio 1 and 1Xtra.

"They deliver tailored content to young listeners many of whom may not be consuming news via other formats.

"They produce two 15 minute programmes on both 1Xtra and Radio 1 five days a week in addition to regular bulletins. An estimated 10 million people hear at least one of Radio 1's bulletins each week and in addition to on air news the teams also supply audio, video and text for both networks' websites."

As part of Myers' review he spent six weeks in the networks carrying out interviews and observing operations.

In his report he noted that "most of the people I met were very aware that change is coming."

"... provided it comes with a powerful vision and protects the quality and diversity of the network's output, would be accepted and acted upon, indeed for many it would be welcomed".

In a blog post director of audio and music Tim Davie said the BBC welcomes the report which he felt was "broadly positive".

He added that its recommendations will be fed into discussions on its Delivering Quality First strategy in the face of the recent licence fee settlement.

"While it is too early to speculate on specific outcomes (which would all require BBC Trust approval), our commitment to principles such as simplifying the organisation, reducing unnecessary compliance processes and finding new ways of working has already been stated in public.

"Helpfully, John has identified some clear areas where we can look to do things more efficiently, such as improving co-ordination and reducing unnecessary duplication where appropriate."

Image by Paul Denchfield on Flickr. Some rights reserved.

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