Newsbeat is the BBC's radio news programme broadcast on BBC Radio 1, BBC Radio 1Xtra and BBC Asian Network. Newsbeat is produced by BBC News but differs from the BBC's other news programmes in its remit to provide news tailored for a specifically younger audience.
|Running time||15 minutes|
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|Home station||BBC Radio 1,|
BBC Radio 1Xtra,
BBC Asian Network
|Produced by||BBC News|
|Edited by||Debbie Ramsay|
|Recording studio||Broadcasting House, London|
|Original release||10 September 1973 – present|
|Audio format||Stereophonic sound|
The fifteen-minute Newsbeat programme is broadcast at 12:45 and 17:45 during the week on Radio 1, 1Xtra and Asian Network. Short bulletins are also heard throughout the day on three stations on the half-hour with extra bulletins broadcast at peak times.
BBC Radio 1's remit as a public service broadcaster meant it had to broadcast news. Newsbeat was launched on 10 September 1973 in response to the launch of a network of commercial radio stations across the UK which supplied a news service very different from the style of traditional BBC News. The programme's first presenter was the Radio 1 DJ Ed Stewart and he was succeeded by Laurie Mayer and Richard Skinner.
Although unconfirmed by the BBC, it is widely thought that the name "Newsbeat" was taken from the Radio Caroline news service of the same name, as was the concept of short bulletins on the half-hour. Caroline first used the name (and broadcast half-hourly headlines) in the 1960s. Roger Gale, who had previously worked on Radio Caroline North, was one of the show's first producers. The launch editor was Mike Chaney.
Until the start of the 21st century, the Newsbeat brand was only used for the 15-minute lunchtime and teatime bulletins as all other news bulletins, which were always broadcast at half-past the hour, were branded as Radio 1 News. Also, for the first four years of the 1990s, Newsbeat was only broadcast at lunchtime as the evening bulletin was a 30-minute programme called News 90/91/92/93.
Following changes in September 2012, the vast majority of Newsbeat bulletins are simulcast on both BBC Radio 1 and 1Xtra. Previously, bulletins on 1Xtra were bespoke and branded as '1Xtra News', with bulletins on the half-hour (as with Newsbeat), but with 15 minute programmes at 12:30 and 5:30, a quarter of an hour before the Radio 1 equivalents. Each station continues to have bespoke bulletins during the weekday breakfast show, before shared bulletins begin at 10:30.
Newsbeat won Gold for Best News & Current Affairs Programme at the Radio Academy Awards on 13 May 2013.
It is believed that BBC World Service will pilot a global edition of Newsbeat, a bulletin aimed on the station aimed at younger listeners.
Newsbeat's The Story of Izzy Dix was named Podcast of the Year at the UK ARIAS 2016.
Newsbeat has short bulletins broadcast on Radio 1, 1Xtra and Asian Network (Asian Network was added and merged due to staff shortages, as well as the BBC wanting to streamline news during the COVID-19 pandemic) throughout the day, as well as the 12:45 and 17:45 main programmes. These are simulcast, following budget cuts that came into effect in September 2012. Prior to this, weekend news bulletins had been simulcast for quite some time. Additionally, at this time, the number of bulletins was cut back somewhat, dropping the news at 04:30 and 05:30 during the Early Breakfast show on weekdays. There also used to be bulletins at midnight, which were stopped at some point prior to this. They are read by one newsreader, but in the past there would be a news reader and a sport reader during breakfast and drivetime bulletins on weekdays and breakfast bulletins at weekends. Bulletins are usually 2–3 minutes in length, and feature news and some sports stories, and weather during the breakfast show bulletins.
The format of Newsbeat bulletins varies throughout the day. Breakfast updates consist of full news, sport and weather; throughout the day it will be only the news and some notable sports stories. The 13:30 bulletin is notable for being read by a different newsreader every day due to the main newsreader being on lunch at that time. Popular folklore says that the last person remaining in the Newsbeat office at lunchtime has to read the 13:30 bulletin. Full sport updates begin at 15:30. Bulletins are more scaled back at weekends, with brief stories and sport during every bulletin throughout the day, and one newsreader reading the news for the whole day.
There was also an entertainment news round up at approximately 07:40 and 09:40 during The Radio 1 Breakfast Show with Nick Grimshaw, often hosted by Sinead Garvan. This continued when Nick moved to drivetime with one bulletin at 16:40. Entertainment news slots at 12:00 during Jo Whiley's weekday mid-morning, later Fearne Cotton's mid-morning show and at 18:30 during Greg James' show were dropped in 2015.
Before March 2020, breakfast bulletins used to be broadcast to one station(i.e. 1 for Radio 1 and then 1 for 1Xtra), instead of now where they are all simulcast from 6.30 am right until 5.45 pm. The 6.30 am bulletin used to just be on Radio 1, however from September 2020, it was simulcast across Radio 1, 1Xtra and Asian Network.
In November 2017, the 16:30 bulletin on weekdays was shortened and the 17:00 bulletin dropped altogether. In addition, the 22:00 bulletin was brought forward to 21:00, and the 16:30 and 17:30 bulletins on Saturdays were also dropped. The 21:00 bulletin was dropped in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The current bulletin times are as follows:
Bank holidays follow a weekend bulletin schedule. Weekdays during the Christmas and New Year period follow a weekend bulletin schedule with the addition of bulletins at 16:30 and 17:30. Bulletins on Christmas Day are hourly from 07:30 to 12:30.
In keeping with its specific targeting of young audiences, Newsbeat has its own set of reporters and studios based at Radio 1 in Broadcasting House in Central London. Many of the stories produced by Newsbeat are reported by other programmes across BBC News.
Newsreaders and reporters
There are various presenters and reporters on Newsbeat including Roisin Hastie, who took over from Tina Daheley as newsreader on Radio 1 Breakfast with Greg James and Ben Mundy who took over from Chris Smith as the main host of the 1245 and 1745 programmes in August 2018. Chris remains with Newsbeat as an duty editor. Various presenters have additional roles.
- Debbie Ramsay (Editor)
- Paul Stanworth (Deputy editor)
- Toby Sealey (Assistant editor - video)
- Chris Smith (Duty Editor, former main presenter)
- Roisin Hastie (Breakfast newsreader)
- Sinead Garvan* (Entertainment)
- Steffan Powell* (Gaming, duty editor)
- Ben Mundy (Main presenter)
- Steve Holden* (Duty editor and music)
- Meabh Ritchie (Social media producer)
- Jimmy Blake (Music)
- Daniel Rosney
- Cath Burns (Duty editor)
- Hannah Morrison* (Duty editor)
- Tamsyn Kent (Duty editor)
- Duncan Middleton* (Duty editor)
- Tracy Ollerenshaw* (Duty editor)
- Kat Collins* (Duty editor)
- Nomia Iqbal* (Duty editor)
- Jim Connolly (Politics editor)
- James Waterhouse*
- Eleanor Roper* (Additional sport cover)
- Gurvinder Gill*
- Lindsay Brown*
- Will Chalk*
- Shiona McCallum*
- Christian Hewgill* (Additional sport cover)
- Betty Glover (Sport)
- Calum Leslie*
- Imran Rahman-Jones
- Kirsty Grant
- Annabel Rackham
- Michael Baggs
- Jim Farthing (Researcher)
- Matt Wareham (Multimedia technical producer and video)
An * indicates the person regularly reads the 1330/2100/weekend bulletins, or covers for Roisin/Ben on morning/afternoon bulletins.
Previous newsreaders and main presenters include Carolyn Atkinson, Claire Bradley, Tina Daheley Claire Cavanagh, Dominic Byrne, Georgina Bowman, Anna Foster, Tulip Mazumdar, Chris Smith, and Declan Harvey.
There is a long-running tradition of the DJ on air at the time chatting to the newsreader following their bulletin. Chris Moyles, often shamelessly flirted with the female newsreaders for bad comic effect, and built up a good on-air relationship with afternoon newsreader Dominic Byrne, who later went on to join him on the BBC Radio 1 and Radio X breakfast shows. Greg James also built a good relationship with Chris Smith through chatting following news bulletins.
Debbie Ramsay is the current editor of Newsbeat and is responsible for all its output across BBC Radio 1, 1Xtra, BBC iPlayer and online. Newsbeat's executive editor was former daytime editor of BBC Radio 5 Live and editor of the Victoria Derbyshire programme on BBC Two and the BBC News Channel Louisa Compton until 2018.
Rod McKenzie, himself was a former presenter of the programme and the news presenter on Simon Mayo's former breakfast show on Radio 1 from 1988 to 1993, and was an editor until 2014, when he was moved to another position within the BBC after bullying allegations.
Newsbeat's first editor was Mike Chaney - hired from The Sun by the Director-General to inject a populist flavour to the news coverage of Radio 1.
Newsbeat is notable for the distinctive musical imaging it has used for most of its history. At first, this was a just jingle at the beginning of the bulletin, but in the late 1990s this expanded to music throughout. There are different beds for news, sport and weather. The news imaging used to be changed every year, but this changed to every two years in 2005, and the most recent imaging package was on air from 2015-2017.
|On air||Produced by||Tagline|
|Jan 1998 – Dec 1998||Vibe Music Audio Imaging||97-99FM Radio 1 - Newsbeat|
|Jan 1999 – Dec 1999||Vibe Music Audio Imaging||97-99FM Radio 1 - Newsbeat|
|Jan 2000 – Feb 2001||Vibe Music Audio Imaging||Newsbeat|
|Feb 2001 – Jan 2002||Vibe Music Audio Imaging||Radio 1 - Newsbeat|
|Jan 2002 – Jan 2003||Vibe Music Audio Imaging||Radio 1 - Newsbeat|
|Jan 2003 – Jan 2004||David Lowe||Radio 1 - Newsbeat|
|Jan 2004 – July 2004||David Lowe / Radio 1 in house production||BBC Radio 1 Newsbeat|
|August 2004 – January 2005||David Lowe / Radio 1 in house production||BBC Radio 1 Newsbeat|
|January 2005 – December 2006||Music4||Radio 1 Newsbeat|
|January 2007 – January 2009||Music4||Digital, FM, Online - This is Radio 1|
|January 2009 – June 2011||Music4 / Radio 1 in house production||Digital, FM, Online - This is BBC Radio 1|
|June 2011 – January 2015||Koink||Listen, Watch, Share - This is BBC Radio 1/1Xtra (as appropriate)|
|January 2015 – June 2017||Daniel Mumford Music||This is BBC Radio 1/1Xtra (as appropriate)|
|June 2017 – present||Daniel Mumford / Radio 1 in house production||1/1Xtra/Asian Network (as appropriate)|
In 2007, Newsbeat's Oddbox was launched. A four-minute video which looked at the week's strangest news, it was mostly presented by Dominic Byrne. When he was unavailable Tulip Mazumdar and Natalie Jamieson as deputy. Old episodes are available to watch at BBC Online, on the BBC Red Button and on the BBC News channel. The last episode of Oddbox was released on 14 September 2012, to coincide with Byrne leaving Radio 1.
Satirist and broadcaster Christopher Morris parodied the 1990s presentational style of Newsbeat as "Radio 1 Newsbanger". Some of these parodies were actually broadcast on Radio 1, though most featured in the Radio 4 comedy series On The Hour.
In 1997, Morris further parodied Newsbeat by rearranging sentences of existing Newsbeat broadcasts to create nonsensical and blackly comic headlines, as part of a one-off segment on Blue Jam. Unlike On The Hour, Blue Jam was broadcast on Radio 1.
- BBC Radio 1 Service Licence BBC Trust, August 2009; Retrieved 31 March 2010
- "Radio 1 Newsbeat celebrates 40 years of broadcasting". Newsbeat. 10 September 2013. Retrieved 24 June 2017.
- Deans, Jason (27 March 2012). "BBC News cuts – at a glance". The Guardian.
- "BBC Radio 1 Newsbeat wins Sony Radio Academy Award". Newsbeat. 14 May 2013. Retrieved 14 May 2013.
- "RadioToday". http://radiotoday.co.uk/2014/02/newsbeat-goes-global-on-bbc-world-service/. 18 February 2014. External link in
- "BBC announces new Editor of BBC Newsbeat and 1Xtra". Newsbeat. 14 May 2013. Archived from the original on 29 March 2014. Retrieved 27 March 2014.
- "New digital-first TV show for Victoria Derbyshire". Newsbeat. 19 January 2015. Retrieved 19 January 2015.
- Oddbox presented by Tulip
- The last ever Oddbox
- Chris Morris Music Shows Episode Guide