BU’s Dr Darren Lilleker on BBC Radio 4’s Moral Maze

BU Senior Lecturer in Political Communication Dr Darren Lilleker contributed to BBC Radio 4’s Moral Maze programme, looking at the way politicians present themselves to the public.

Dr Lilleker took part in the programme’s debate around politics, personality and principles, which focused on how the way politicians look and act influences public opinion – and how important such characteristics appear to be.

Dr Lilleker told presenter Michael Burke that he believed politics had changed – with people now wanting to see politicians offer solutions and answers to the problems they face.

“What we’ve ended up with really is a choice of managers,” Dr Lilleker said.

“Party leaders and party teams present themselves as managers, people who can solve problems – which really goes into a whole range of qualities that are outside politics.

“It’s about the person, it’s about their ability to get things done and often they use their private life and a whole range of other parts of their character to signify how they will be in politics.

“I think that’s a fundamental change.”

Dr Lilleker said that he believed that the differences between the main political parties were shrinking and so the way they were presented by the media could make a big difference.

“I think the media make a big deal out of these small actions that make someone look a little bit foolish.”

He added that he thought negative political campaigning in terms of personal attacks on character concerned him as it made it difficult for people to know what a politician is really like – leading to public cynicism and apathy.

“Politicians package themselves to emphasise the best bits, their opponents try and attack them and undermine them and emphasise the worst bits – and I think what it leads to is a cynicism, to people not being able to make a choice because they are unsure who is the best.

“They’re trying to work out often who is the least worst – and becoming very apathetic.”

Listen to the Moral Maze – Politics, personality and principles debate in full

BU Lecturer works on BBC Radio 4 production

Jo Tyler, Programme Co-ordinator of MA Radio Production at Bournemouth University, has been involved in a stage radio production of the classic ‘Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy’ as part of BBC Radio 4’s character takeover day.

The production brought the 1978 classic into the 21st century and took place at the BBC Radio Theatre. Jo performed the role of production assistant on the script and assistant director for the Live performance.

Tyler said, “As an experienced live producer it is always fun to push the boundaries of your medium. So when you find yourself running a live stage for radio with a robot, live band and actors for company, that has to be close [to pushing the boundaries]”.

“I’ve been involved with the stage version for two years and this performance marks radio history bringing the show back home to the BBC Radio Theatre in London, with a live audience on air and in the theatre. You have to think carefully about the audience experience in both places and to assist Director Dirk Maggs in achieving this was a privilege. Dirk has always inspired students with his guest lectures, most recently on his ‘Neverwhere’ (Neil Gaiman) adaptation for Radio 4.”

The show which was originally broadcast across multiple platforms, is now available to listen on BBC iPlayer until 4th April 2014.

Dr Eileen Wilkes featured on BBC Radio 4’s Farming Today

By Dean Eastmond

Bournemouth University’s Senior Lecturer in Archaeology, Dr Eileen Wilkes, was interviewed on BBC Radio 4 programme Farming Today this weekend on how archaeology affects farming and the effects farming has on archaeology.

The show looks at modern day farming and was located in a Devon farm for this week’s episode, which Dr Wilkes has been excavating for over a decade looking at Iron Age and prehistoric settlements.

So far enclosures where animals stayed and settlements where people lived have been found – dating back to over 2000 years ago. The project that was originally supposed to be only two weeks long, is still giving results ten years on!

Wilkes explains that archaeological excavations sites and farmland coincide together: “I had fallen in love with the place, the farmer and his family were very happy to have us”.

“Over the winter when we’re not here, his sheep come and graze around the excavation site”.

It was reported that over 150 British Heritage site of prehistoric date and under threat by farming methods such as deep ploughing and building.

Listen to the Farming Today interview in full

Dean is a student at Budmouth College in Weymouth, who is working at Bournemouth University in the Press and PR Department. He joined BU on a Sir Samuel Mico Scholarship, which provides 10 students from his college with essential work experience for four weeks over the summer.

BU’s Dr Kate Murphy features on BBC Radio 4 taking about women’s history in radio.

By Dean Eastmond

Bournemouth University’s Dr Kate Murphy (Senior Lecturer in Radio Production) featured on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme this Saturday talking about the 80th anniversary of a woman presenting on the radio.

Former actress, Sheila Borrett, applied for the role of Radio Announcer in 1933 and raised a lot of controversy as her job was seen as a typically male dominated position.

“She was very glamorous with that lovely fruity voice and it’s a shame she didn’t go down well…” said Dr Murphy, who has researched the history of women in radio and the BBC.

She added. “The majority of complaint letters came from women”.

With Sheila Borrett’s first broadcast airing on the 29th July 1933, Dr Murphy explained that even though “the BBC was seen as a modern organisation”, Borrett wasn’t as popular and successful as the BBC thought she would be.

Dr Murphy continued by explaining that “there was a huge outcry so the BBC panicked”.

However 90% of positive letters were written by women.

Women had been heard on radio before Borrett, but as experts in their fields of work as opposed to presenters and announcers. Names such as Virginia Woolf were mentioned during the interview as examples of people that had appeared as guests on BBC radio.

Kate also spoke about the subject on the BBC World Service.

Listen to the full interview on The Today Programme

Dean is a student at Budmouth College in Weymouth, who is working at Bournemouth University in the Press and PR Department. He joined BU on a Sir Samuel Mico Scholarship, which provides 10 students from his college with essential work experience for four weeks over the summer.

Professor Dimitrios Buhalis on how to get a good holiday deal

Professor in Travel and Tourism Dimitrios Buhalis gave advice on how and when to get the best holiday deals on BBC Radio 4 consumer programme You and Yours.

The British Association of Travel Agents say that the market for package holidays is growing again, with more young people choosing to go for ready made package deals instead of creating their own online.

Professor Buhalis said that there are several market conditions that are leading people to go back to package holidays.

“There’s a measure of safety and security,” he said. “They feel the tour operator can look after them in case of emergencies.”

He said that the first principle for getting a good package deal was thinking about demand and supply.

“If you can go against the flow, for example, avoid the school holidays or go to places where there is not an awful lot of demand, it’s very likely that you are going to get some bargains out there.”

He added that the earlier you can book a holiday, the better deal you are likely to get – especially if you are looking to go to one particular destination.

“There are still going to be some bargains at the last minute, but they may be in places that you would not necessarily like to travel to,” he told presenter Winifred Robinson.

He also advised to look at the tour operators’ websites to see what offers are available, and to try ringing hotels directly to see if you can negotiate a better price or get extras for your money.

Listen to the full interview on You and Yours

Dr Andy Johnson talks chewing gum and concentration on The Today Programme

Psychology lecturer Dr Andy Johnson spoke on BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme about his research into chewing gum and concentration.

Andy was part of a team of researchers who found that chewing gum can help people focus better while doing tasks.

“In this study our participants undertook a very monotonous and repetitive constant vigilance task, where participants were presented with a sequence of digits and they were looking out for a particular signal,” he told presenter James Naughtie.

He added that participants who chewed gum had less of a decrease in performance throughout the task, and reported being significantly more alert.

He said: “So what we suggest is that chewing gum can facilitate vigilance during a monotonous task but that this is only found when performance has dropped to sub-optimal level, so when it starts to fall down that’s when gum has some scope for having a benefit.

“But if we are at our normal operating levels, we are sort of at ceiling effect, so there is nowhere for cognition to go. So only once our performance begins to drop does gum introduce a benefit in performance and vigilance.”

Dr Johnson, who worked on the study with researchers from Cardiff University, explained that chewing increases blood flow to the brain and that increases delivery of glucose and oxygenated blood to the parts of the brain that are doing the task.

He was also interviewed on BBC Radio Solent’s Breakfast Show, local station Wave 105 and BBC Radio Scotland about the research, which appears in the British Journal of Psychology.

You can listen to Dr Andy Johnson on the Today Programme here for the next seven days.