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The Media Show is a current affairs radio programme on BBC Radio 4 that analyses and discusses the ever-changing British media. First broadcasted in October 2008, the programme is presented by Steve Hewlett; a columnist for The Guardian newspaper and a lecturer at the University of Salford. It is broadcasted from the BBC’s headquarters at Broadcasting House, London.
The Media Show is seen as a replacement for a previous radio programme on Radio 4, The Message, hosted by Jenni Murray. It can be heard every Wednesday at three o’clock and lasts approximately half an hour. There have also been special editions of the show; Hewlett presented an hour episode discussing the Jimmy Savile scandal on 14 November and also a special Friday episode on 30 November discussing the recently published Leveson report. Speaking at the time of the show’s launch, Hewlett said: “ I hope the programme will be able to lift the lid on many current stories within the media, offering genuine insight and intelligence.”
The programme focuses on all things media-related including television, print and radio. Each week Hewlett is joined by a range of highly respected guests from the industry, usually specializing in different areas to provide a well-rounded debate and to give the audience a thorough understanding of the topic being discussed. During the episode discussing Lord Justice Leveson’s findings for example, Hewlett was joined by a former editor of The Mail on Sunday along with editors from The Sunday Times, The Sun,The Independent, and local newspapers.
Hewlett has been praised for his forceful interviewing style and will often cut people off mid-sentence. Of Hewlett’s interviewing style, radio critic Gillian Reynolds has said: “He knows everyone in the business, is not afraid to ask them hard questions and makes sure the audience knows when the reply is obfuscatory.”
As well as the weekly broadcast on Wednesdays at three o’clock, the programme also has its own website . The website contains every episode of the programme dating back to its first broadcast on 1 october 2008, as well as a section called ‘buzz about this programme’ which links to blogs and articles from third parties related to The Media Show. Episodes of the show can also be downloaded from the iTunes store in the form of podcasts and the show is currently rated at 4.5 stars out of five in ‘iTunes Ratings and Reviews.’
Listeners of the show can contribute to the debate on Twitter. The show trends using the hashtag ‘#R4MediaShow’ and gives listeners the opportunity to share and discuss their views by typing this into the Twitter search bar. Hewlett also has his own Twitter account, with over 8000 followers, and regularly tweets using the programme’s hashtag.
According to Radio Joint Audience Research (RAJAR) surveys, in Q3 of 2012 The Media Show had a reach of 815,000 listeners with a share of 8.7%, predominately targeting people in the ABC1 demographic. The Media Show has generally been well-received by people in the industry and is considered a must-listen programme for people wanting to keep up with the rapidly-evolving media world.