22 December – Panel game Just a Minute is first aired with Nicholas Parsons as chairman (initially as a temporary stand-in); it will still be running 50 years later with the same chairman.
10 July – The BBC publishes a report called "Broadcasting in the Seventies" proposing the reorganisation of programmes on the national networks and replacing regional broadcasting on BBC Radio 4 with BBC Local Radio.
3 April – For the first time, both airings of Any Questions are broadcast on Radio 4. Previously, the station had only broadcast the Saturday repeat as the Friday night debut broadcast had been on BBC Radio 2.
3 July – Changes are made to the station's weekday breakfast schedule. After just over a year on air, Up to the Hour is cancelled. Consequently, Today once again becomes a continuous two-hour programme. Also, a new weekday 6am News Briefing is introduced.
23 November –
Radio 4's AM service moves from medium wave to 1500m (200 kHz) long wave as part of a plan to improve national AM reception, and to conform with the Geneva Frequency Plan of 1975. However long wave reception is not universal so in some parts of the UK where long wave reception is poor, filler transmitters on MW are used.
The Radio 4 UK Theme is used for the first time to coincide with the network becoming a fully national service for the first time and to mark this the station is officially known as Radio 4 UK.
22 December – Industrial action at the BBC by the ABS union, which started the previous day, extends to radio when the radio unions join their television counterparts by going on strike, forcing the BBC to merge its four national radio networks into one national radio station from 4.00pm and called it the BBC All Network Radio Service. The strike is settled shortly before 10.00pm on Friday 22 December 1978, with the unions and BBC management reaching an agreement at the British government's industrial disputes arbitration service ACAS.
Summer – Due to the continued expansion of BBC Local Radio, regional opt-out programming ends, apart from in the south west as this is now the only part of England still without any BBC local station.
1 October – After 32 years on air, Listen with Mother is broadcast for the final time. It is replaced three days later by a shorter five minute lunchtime programme called Listening Corner which is transmitted on FM only whilst long wave listeners receive the lunchtime shipping forecast.
5 April – Radio 4 begins what is described in the Radio Times as "a new three-hour sequence – a six-month broadcast experiment in which you are invited to participate." The programme is called Rollercoaster and is presented by Richard Baker. The "Grand Finale of Radio 4's rollicking rolling experiment" takes place on 27 September  and was not repeated.
Radio 4 starts broadcasting 30 minutes earlier at the weekend when it launches a 20-minute Prelude, described as “a musical start to your weekend listening”. Consequently, the station is now on air every day from just before 6am until 12:30am.
The Radio 4 UK branding is dropped and the station is now officially simply known as Radio 4.
28 June – The final weeknight Study on 4 broadcast takes place.
29 June – Study on 4 is renamed Options and from this date all of BBC Radio's adult educational programming is now broadcast on weekend afternoons. The programmes continue to be broadcast only on VHF/FM.
July–August – During the 1985 school summer holidays, Radio 4 broadcasts an all-morning children's programme called Pirate Radio 4 on Thursday mornings. Three editions of the programme are aired. It is broadcast on VHF/FM only with the usual Radio 4 schedule continuing on long wave.
28 December – Apna Hi Ghar Samajhiye (Make Yourself at Home) is broadcast for the final time. The programme, aimed at the Asian community, had been broadcast on Radio 4 and the BBC Home Service every Sunday morning since 1965.
3 January – The Today programme is extended to six days a week when it launches a Saturday edition and John Humphrys joins the programme's presenting team as John Timpson's replacement.
23 June – Ahead of the transfer of all of BBC radio's educational programmes to the forthcoming BBC Radio 5, the last edition of Options, the BBC's weekend afternoon strand of adult educational programmes which had been transmitted as an opt-out from the main schedule on FM, is broadcast.
25 July – The final episode of soap opera Citizens is broadcast.
16 September –
The main BBC Radio 4 service moves from long wave to FM as FM coverage has now been extended to cover almost all of the UK – Radio 4 didn't become available on FM in much of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland until the start of the 1990s. Opt-outs are transferred to long wave, including The Daily Service which from this day is broadcast only on long wave.
late March-7 April – For the first time, Radio 4 long wave opts out of the main Radio 4 schedule. It does so to provide additional coverage of the latest developments in the general election campaign. Previously, additional news coverage had been broadcast on FM.
Following the success of Radio 4 News FM in 1991, and of a similar service on Long Wave during the 1992 UK general election, the BBC considers launching a rolling news service on Radio 4’s long wave frequency. The plan is widely opposed by listeners and the proposals are dropped. A new news and sport service BBC Radio 5 Live launches the following year.
18 December – BBC 2 broadcasts the Arena special "Radio Night", an ambitious simulcast with BBC Radio 4.
21 February – A new weekday afternoon magazine show starts, called Anderson Country. The programme proves divisive amongst the station’s listenership and was replaced after a year by The Afternoon Shift.
Adult education and Open University programmes return to Radio 4 following the closure of BBC Radio 5. They are broadcast on long wave only as a two-hour block on Sunday evenings. Open University programmes are broadcast between February and September with language courses aired from October until January.
Children’s programmes also return to Radio 4. However, instead of daily programmes, just one weekly 30-minute programme is broadcast.
September – In the aftermath of Princess Diana's death, the PM programme drops its theme tune which had been in use since 1993. This had been the third time that the programme had used theme music and has not subsequently had a theme tune.
6 April – Extensive schedule changes take place. Many long standing programmes are axed as part of the shake-up, including Breakaway, Week Ending and Sport on Four, and arts programme Kaleidoscope is replaced by a new programme Front Row with Mark Lawson as presenter. Also, the station goes on air 30 minutes earlier each day – 5:30am instead of 6am – and the weekday editions of The Today programme are extended by 30 minutes to three hours.
12 April – A Sunday episode of The Archers is introduced.
15 December – Radio 4 gets a digital spin-off station, BBC7. The station broadcasts content from BBC Radio’s spoken word archive, repeating programmes previously broadcast on Radio 4, as well as airing daily programmes for children.
20 February – BBC Radio 4 airs the final Letter from America. The weekly 15-minute programme ran for 2,869 shows from 24 March 1946, making it the longest-running speech radio programme in history.
23 April – The Radio 4 UK Theme is used for the last time, amid controversy over its axing by Radio 4 controller Mark Damazer. The decision to axe the Theme, which had been used since 1978, to make way for a 'pacy news briefing', led to widespread coverage in the media and even debate in Parliament.
24 June – The final edition of Home Truths is broadcast.
4 October – BBC7 is renamed BBC Radio 7 in an effort to bring it in line with other BBC Radio brands.
14 October – You and Yours undergoes a significant change of format, with two presenters being replaced by one. The breadth of topics covered is extended to global problems as well as those closer to home.
24 May – Children's magazine show Go4It is broadcast for the final time. The reason given is that it does not attract enough young listeners and that less than 1 in 20 of the show's audience is aged between 4 and 14, with the average age of the listeners being between 52 and 55. Consequently, there are now no children's programmes on BBC analogue radio.
17 February – It is announced that the newspaper review show What the Papers Say, which was on television for many years, will be revived on BBC Radio 4, airing for 12 episodes in the run up to the 2010 general election and then returning on a permanent basis if it proves to be popular.
31 May – Radio 4 announces a five-and-a-half-hour celebration of James Joyce's Ulysses on this coming Bloomsday (16 June), claiming it as the novel's first full-length dramatisation in Britain.
5 September – It is announced that continuity announcers Charlotte Green and Harriet Cass are to take voluntary redundancy as the BBC cuts the announcing team for the station from twelve to ten. Both had been with Radio 4 since the 1970s. Charlotte leaves in January 2013, with Harriet departing two months later.
21 May – Figures released by RAJAR indicate that BBC Radio 4 Extra has overtaken BBC 6 Music as the most listened digital only radio station, with 2.17 million tuning in weekly to BBC Radio 4 Extra compared to 2.06 million for BBC 6 Music.