In a surprise move, BBC Online is to revive the defunct arts and
literary magazine The Listener in web format on 27 January.
The online version will carry the same range of opinion and commentary
on culture, politics and the media as the printed edition did, and will
feature cartoons. There will be access to audio and possibly video
broadcasts and links to other sites. Users will be able to interact with
the site by posting comments.
The conversion of such an august title to an electronic format is an
unusual adaptation, especially as it will not contain any radio
A BBC spokesman said listings had not been considered since the site
will be, at least initially, a one-off trial. If successful, the site
will be updated and made ’live’.
The Listener project is being used as a test for further BBC magazine
conversions to the internet.
BBC Online expects the internet editions of its magazines to grow
significantly this year and Greg Dyke, the incoming director-general, is
thought to be keen to accelerate the BBC’s online plans.
The Listener closed in 1991 after sales had shrunk to 17,000, incurring
annual losses of around pounds 1 million.