BBC breakfast show introduced to African audiences
The BBC has announced today that it is to launch a new flagship radio programme, Newsday, on the BBC World Service aimed largely at the breakfast audience in Africa.
Lerato Mbele, previously a star of CNBC Africa, has been unveiled as a presenter for the new radio programme.
She will co-present the show daily from Johannesburg alongside Lawrence Pollard in London.
Bola Mosuro, Julian Keane and Nuala McGovern will be the other leading presenters on the show.
Figures released today show that the BBC has a combined weekly audience on all platforms in Africa of 81.4 million in 2012 - up from 78.1 million in 2011 – making the BBC the largest international broadcaster on the continent.
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Newsday will launch on BBC World Service Radio on July 23rd, in the week that London prepares to open the Olympic Games.
It will be an ambitious and innovative five and a half hour show every weekday, bringing together the audiences of The World Today and Network Africa.
The programme will take to the road in Africa, and broadcast regularly from there, as the big stories unfold. And for the first three weeks, Newsday will be out and about in London and around the UK every morning, as it reflects on the big talking points from the Olympics, while also going live around the world to see how those stories are playing out.
New presenter Lerato Mbele said: "I am excited to be joining the BBC because of its extensive international presence and wealth of journalistic experience. The BBC’s new African coverage really excites me. The timing is fortuitous because Africa has now evolved into a fresh, young and vibrant market. As Africans we are ready to share our stories and as a global news leader, the BBC is poised to gives us a great voice and platform to do so. The Newsday team is creative and open-minded and they are ready to take us all to the next-level. I look forward to working with them and bringing a local perspective first hand."
The programme is part of a range of new programming to be launched by the BBC this year for Africa. BBC Focus on Africa was also launched last month, providing the first ever dedicated daily TV news programme in English for African audiences. It is broadcast on BBC World News and via partner stations.
The Editor of BBC World Service News, Andrew Whitehead said: “The BBC - across languages and platforms - is the biggest international broadcaster to Africa; one-in-two listeners to the World Service in English are in Africa. It's also one of the most rapidly changing media markets.
“Newsday is about bringing the world to Africa, and bringing Africa to the world - an exciting team of presenters, with a fresh sound and style to engage with Africa's very large radio audience at breakfast time. And our goal: we expect Newsday to be the most listened to radio news programme by an international broadcaster. It will certainly have more listeners than any other BBC radio news programme.”
BBC Africa Editor Solomon Mugera said: “We recently launched a daily TV programme in English, BBC Focus on Africa, dedicated to our African audience. In July we are introducing Newsday – the biggest global radio breakfast show. In a world that’s becoming increasingly interconnected, the desire for trusted and relevant news about Africa and the world has never been greater. Newsday promises to give our listeners a powerful start to the day with the latest news, sports, business and entertainment. ”
SAS: Improving the British Army’s decision making with data
SAS’ long-standing relationship with the British Army is built on mutual respect and grounded by a reciprocal understanding of each others’ capabilities, strengths, and weaknesses. Roderick Crawford, VP and Country GM for SAS UKI, states that the company’s thorough grasp of the defence sector makes it an ideal partner for the Army as it undergoes its own digital transformation.
“Major General Jon Cole told us that he wanted to enable better, faster decision-making in order to improve operational efficiency,” he explains. Therefore, SAS’ task was to help the British Army realise the “significant potential” of data through the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to automate tasks and conduct complex analysis.
In 2020, the Army invested in the SAS ‘Viya platform’ as an overture to embarking on its new digital roadmap. The goal was to deliver a new way of working that enabled agility, flexibility, faster deployment, and reduced risk and cost: “SAS put a commercial framework in place to free the Army of limits in terms of their access to our tech capabilities.”
Doing so was important not just in terms of facilitating faster innovation but also, in Crawford’s words, to “connect the unconnected.” This means structuring data in a simultaneously secure and accessible manner for all skill levels, from analysts to data engineers and military commanders. The result is that analytics and decision-making that drives innovation and increases collaboration.
Crawford also highlights the importance of the SAS platform’s open nature, “General Cole was very clear that the Army wanted a way to work with other data and analytics tools such as Python. We allow them to do that, but with improved governance and faster delivery capabilities.”
SAS realises that collaboration is at the heart of a strong partnership and has been closely developing a long-term roadmap with the Army. “Although we're separate organisations, we come together to work effectively as one,” says Crawford. “Companies usually find it very easy to partner with SAS because we're a very open, honest, and people-based business by nature.”
With digital technology itself changing with great regularity, it’s safe to imagine that SAS’ own relationship with the Army will become even closer and more diverse. As SAS assists it in enhancing its operational readiness and providing its commanders with a secure view of key data points, Crawford is certain that the company will have a continually valuable role to play.
“As warfare moves into what we might call ‘the grey-zone’, the need to understand, decide, and act on complex information streams and diverse sources has never been more important. AI, computer vision and natural language processing are technologies that we hope to exploit over the next three to five years in conjunction with the Army.”
Fundamentally, data analytics is a tool for gaining valuable insights and expediting the delivery of outcomes. The goal of the two parties’ partnership, concludes Crawford, will be to reach the point where both access to data and decision-making can be performed qualitatively and in real-time.
“SAS is absolutely delighted to have this relationship with the British Army, and across the MOD. It’s a great privilege to be part of the armed forces covenant.”