- Robinson said ‘mateyness’ was okay ‘providing it doesn’t get in way of content’
Robinson, 60, has also hit back at claims that there is a ‘permanent downward shift’ for listeners to the flagship news programme, saying the ‘evidence’ for a ‘slump’ is not there.
The radio host was appearing on Radio 4’s audience response show, Feedback, to talk about the new Today programme podcast, which he fronts with Rajan.
Robinson was asked about the ‘mateyness’ between him and Rajan on the podcast and the fact that some listeners felt the more ‘informal’ style was a ‘bit much’. Similar criticisms have also been made when the pair present the main radio show together.
He was asked by Feedback presenter Andrea Catherwood whether there were times that he would ‘slightly cringe’ at whether he had said to much.
Nick Robinson (pictured) has defended the ‘mateyness’ between him and co-presenter Amol Rajan , amid claims some listeners find it annoying
Robinson said he did not want ‘mateyness’ to ‘grate’ but that it was okay ‘providing it doesn’t get in the way of the content’.
Citing a recent example of joke between the pair, he added: ‘If that gets in the way of listening to content, I’m sorry if people think that, but I don’t think we’re going to change that, because that’s part of who we are.
‘What I don’t think we should ever do is make it about us.’
Aside from the podcast Mr Robinson said he felt the style of the main Today programme had become ‘looser’ and more ‘relaxed’ and ‘conversational’ than it was when he was first tried out as a presenter on it.
His comments come after fellow Today programme host Justin Webb previously said listeners do not turn on the programme for ‘mateyness’. Former host John Humphrys has also criticised the ‘false mateyness’ in Radio 4’s programming.
On Feedback, Robinson also challenged suggestions the Today programme is in a listening figure ‘slump’ In May it was revealed the programme had suffered what was thought to be its worst figures since 1999. But more recent figures, released in October, showed the programme had gone back up slightly.
The radio host was appearing on Radio 4’s audience response show, Feedback, to talk about the new Today programme podcast, which he fronts with Amol Rajan (pictured)
He said: ‘I’m going to resist the word slump because I don’t think it has been a slump… The figures are lower, goodness they are certainly lower, as it happens in the last quarter they are up a tick.’
Robinson added: ‘Now, we don’t know, is that defying a trend? We just don’t know, it’s too soon to tell, the figures frankly aren’t good enough, you have to look over a year rather than one quarter. But I am absolutely going to resist the idea that there is some sort of permanent downward shift.’
He said it would be ‘defying gravity’ if the people who were listening to the wide range of new choices in audio, such as podcasts, were not in part coming from the Today programme.
Robinson defended the decision to launch the new Today podcast saying there was now a ‘world of infinite choice’ and people now liked to listen in different ways.
The BBC presenter said there were still ‘many more people’ listening to the Today programme than had done so in some previous decades.
He also admitted he had never claimed people were ‘born impartial’ and that if the BBC tried to recruit someone who was ‘impartial’ they would not find them ‘in the sense that we are all the product of our backgrounds’.
But that when people walk into the BBC this ‘stays as much as it can by the door’.