Just heard Nick Clegg say on BBC Radio Sheffield that local radio is very important and he can’t imagine it being closed down. Nick Higham (I think it wad him) said to Radio5Live that after talking to the BBC he didn’t think it was an idea that was very high on their agenda.
Shadow minister demands meeting over ‘radio cuts’
Shadow culture secretary Ivan Lewis has demanded a meeting with BBC bosses over reports that local radio services could be axed and replaced with content from Radio 5 Live.
The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) said proposals had been aired to produce only local breakfast and drive-time shows and fill the gap with 5 Live programmes.
It said this would mean the loss of around 700 jobs and the possible closure of some stations.
Lewis said: ???At a time when Jeremy Hunt is forcing the BBC to spend ??25 million on local TV, it is perverse that the Conservative-led Government cuts may threaten the future of local radio.
???I will be seeking an urgent meeting with the BBC to discuss the range of options under consideration.???
It was reported the proposals were aired as part of the BBC???s Delivering Quality First review, which is tasked with finding savings following the six-year licence-fee freeze.
A BBC spokesman said: ???No decisions have been made so it would be wrong to speculate. It is, of course, only right that BBC staff have an opportunity to input ideas about shaping the BBC???s future.
???The Delivering Quality First sessions are designed to provoke discussion amongst staff about the way the BBC works and any decisions coming out of the process would be subject to approval by the BBC Trust.???
Ivan Lewis is making a good point here.
???At a time when Jeremy Hunt is forcing the BBC to spend ??25 million on local TV, it is perverse that the Conservative-led Government cuts may threaten the future of local radio.”
As far as I can tell this is one of many proposals being put forward to Mark Thompson as the BBC struggles to save money.
In my area the BBC is experimenting with a shared afternoon show. The presenter is excellent and they are doing their best to gather content from around the entire Yorkshire region. But however competent it may be it doesn’t feel like a programme for me and my city – it comes from somewhere else.
Merging Local Radio and 5Live is a bit incongruous and probably wouldn’t work – or even happen. But it’s not far from a national sustaining service which local stations can opt in and out of at will. It’s a dangerous step for local communities. Their local BBC station gives a voice to people who would otherwise be unable to influence opinion or express their views. As soon as the airtime is narrowed to two news slots a day – other broadcasting goes out of the window. Community action wouldn’t get a look in.
The BBC should squash this idea as soon as it’s presented at the DG’s desk. You either have local radio or you don’t – there are no half measures. No one will own it and it will swerve to rot in no time at all.
My friend Emma Gilliam, now a lecturer at The School of Journalism in Cardiff – (we were both BBC local radio Editors) – is updating her blog on this subject. Emma refers to Bill Rogers’ blog
More here on Radio TodayLets start the campaign now to save BBC Local Radio …….
Jonathan Cowap did a fun interview with me about the Coast to Coast ride on BBC Radio York this morning. The most important part of the chat was the chance to promote the two charities I am supporting. Riding Lights Theatre and The Funzi and Bodo Trust
But after a lot of banter about bikes, hills, and my alleged fitness Jonathan made a quip about my love of things technical. In response the listeners heard a small confession. It’s at the end of my interview on the BBC iPlayer – about 2hrs 40mins in.
At the time of posting this I’m about to do a final check before setting off for the station heading for Whitehaven and the radio show hasn’t yet appeared on the iPlayer or I would have given you a link straight to the interview.