The Welsh language movement Dyfodol i’r Iaith (a Future for the Language) has issued a May Day challenge to Radio Cymru to improve its Welsh language service.
In a letter to both the Head of Welsh Language Programmes and the Editor of Radio Cymru, Sian Gwynedd and Betsan Powys, the movement has asked a number of questions about the present service and how it could prepare for the future.
Dyfodol has received a number of concerns and complaints from its members regarding the presenters’ use of sub-standard Welsh and the number of English songs being broadcast on Radio Cymru. The movement therefore queries when will a second Welsh-medium service be available on any platform in order to overcome the present difficulties.
Without naming any individual presenter, Dyfodol asks:
“What advice and guidance is provided for programme presenters regarding the use of natural spoken Welsh in any dialect rather than ‘pidgin’ Welsh and English terms? Do they receive training in that regard, are they being supervised daily, and do they receive advice and guidance when they transgress?”
The movement’s spokesman on broadcasting, Eifion Lloyd Jones, admitted that they were of the belief that the service had deteriorated since new presenters were introduced this year. But it is Radio Cymru executives who should shoulder that responsibility, according to Dyfodol, as it is their responsibility to safeguard the station’s production standards.
As Welsh musicians are once again threatening to withdraw their service because too much English music is being broadcast, Eifion Lloyd Jones asks:
“How many English songs are allowed in various programmes, and whether the impression that their number has increased recently is correct? As Welsh musicians are threatening not to co-operate with Radio Cymru again, will that encourage you to reconsider the present policy that is damaging to Welsh music?”
In order to improve the situation, Dyfodol reminds the BBC of their call to establish two services which they have named Radio Pop and Radio Pawb (for all):
“As there is so much dissatisfaction with the present service, when do you intend to develop an alternative Welsh service in any format? Will introducing an extra service, on whatever platform, mean that we will no longer have to listen to sub-standard language and English songs on the traditional Welsh service?”
Dyfodol i’r Iaith believes that an additional service would be an opportunity to revive the Welsh language throughout Wales. In order to expand Radio Cymru’s appeal to learners, and young people in particular, it wants the service to be shared between two stations. The former would target the young and Welsh learners with music using contemporary spoken Welsh in its presentation, and the latter would be a comprehensive service of news, drama and entertainment in a natural and standard form of Welsh, with a variety of Welsh musical forms.
According to Eifion Lloyd Jones, “Unfortunately, the recent changes have not succeeded in improving Radio Cymru at all, and the situation needs to be addressed immediately before the Welsh station loses both its young musicians and its traditional audience.”