Radio 2 listeners set to be haunted by the curse of repeats as station is hit by cutbacks

Repeats are set to haunt millions of Radio 2 listeners as the station bears the brunt of a forthcoming round of cutbacks on the BBC.

Senior insiders admitted the station needed to drive down costs as its programming can cost as much as £27,778 per hour.

Executives have identified areas where they can make 'efficiencies', including spending less on presenters and talent over the next five years, plans to rely more on independent production companies, and scale back in-house departments. Popular shows will be repeated in a bid to get most value for money.

Radio 2 host Jools Holland
Radio 2 host Chris Evans

Repeats: Live shows like those presented by Radio 2's top DJs Jools Holland (left) and Chris Evans will be cut down to make way for cheaper programming

A BBC source said: 'There will be more repeats on Radio 2, yes. In fact on most stations.

'Pre-recorded programming in comedy, drama, or documentaries could be aired up to four times to maximise value for money.

'We will also make better use of the BBC archive – so classic shows could also be aired more often.'

The cutbacks will be felt primarily in the station's comedy half-hour programmes and semi-documentaries in the evenings.

Director general Mark Thompson will unveil the full extent of the cuts in his Delivering Quality First initiative on Thursday.

The BBC is planning to axe between 2,500 and 3,000 staff – almost a  sixth of the BBC's total 17,242 strong public service workforce – in its  final proposals to make 20 per cent cost savings.

On Radio 2, music programming bills average £1,486 and can reach £2,222 per hour. The cost of comedy ranges from £16,925 and £27,778 – the most expensive on the BBC.

Managing the cuts: BBC Director General Mark Thompson outside the new Media City headquarters in Salford

Managing the cuts: BBC Director General Mark Thompson outside the new Media City headquarters in Salford

All the radio stations except Radio 4 will see cutbacks to content, while BBC1 and BBC2 are likely to cease broadcasting at 1am.

Expensive flagship natural history programmes – such as David Attenborough's The Blue Planet and Nature's Great Events series – will also be repeated in an attempt to get more value.

BBC2 daytime has been earmarked for a 'repeat zone' of previously broadcast programming to air for five hours a day, though rolling news could replace all of its daytime schedules.

Money spent on presenters will drop across the board over the next five years. BBC3 will relocate to Salford – the first channel to do so.

The corporation needs to make savings as the licence fee is frozen at £145.50 for the next six years.

A BBC spokesman declined to comment ahead of the DQF initiative being unveiled.

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