10 FEBRUARY 1961, Page 15


SIR,-1 grant that Peter Forster has only one head and sympathise with him for having to use it to attend to so much television, but some of his views about radio in the article 'A Look at Sound' seem strangely misguided.

Lord Reith's recent article in the Guardian was, as Forster suggested, fierce and autocratic, BM it was also the sanest and most lucid statement about the present policy and possible future of radio which has appeared for years.

He called the founding of the Third a calamity because it led to the stratification of broadcasting into arbitrary education-class channels. The lightness of the Light. the endless compromise of the Home and the ingrowing obscurity of the Third grew out of that administrative decision, which was an evasion of responsibility.

Forster says it would be 'perversely muddling' now to try to integrate Home, Light and Third. Muddling to whom? The 'height-of-brow' system doesn't work, and almost any new redistribution of the available material among the three wavelengths would be an improvement. How does Forster hope to 'insist on a minimum listening audience' for minority programmes? By pre-testing them in some cunning consumer research device or by encouraging administrators to guess how many people want Korean poetry in the original? The administrators have quite enough listening figures to play with already, and a fine mess they make of interpreting and acting on them.—Yours faithfully.

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