By Ray Fleming

WHENEVER the BBC introduces cuts in its radio services at home or abroad it receives a barrage of protests from regular listeners who do not want to be deprived of its news and other broadcasts. A month ago the BBC announced the end of its shortwave Hindi service which has an audience estimated at twenty million for an annual saving of about one million pounds. There were strong protests from India and in Britain with the result that the BBC said yesterday that it will maintain the service for at least one year while it examines possible alternative funding arrangements.

That is the good news, but several other language services have already been cut and are unlikely to be reprieved. Furthermore, and from a personal standpoint, I am concerned over what is about to happen to the English 24-hour World Service which is broadcast globally. In the past few weeks I have heard three presenters drop casual hints that they or their programmes may not be on air after the end of this month. In each case the programme was of a news-background or cultural kind and the natural assumption is that such output may be sacrificed to keep the news services going. We shall see, but I hope that the BBC will keep in mind that there is more to life than wall-to-wall news, even when it is as good and reliable as the World Service's.