The BBC’s director of nations says he doesn’t think the BBC is trying to take the ‘Local’ out of Local Radio as proposed changes to the network of stations in England continue to face strong criticism.
Speaking to BBC Radio Derby’s Ian Skye, Rhodri Talfan Davies admitted he had received “hundreds and hundreds of letters” since the proposals were first announced. He was criticised on-air for failing to consult audiences and staff.
The BBC plans to cut back local radio programmes to run between 6am and 2pm on weekdays. During the remaining hours, local stations would carry a range of national, regional and sub-regional programmes, except when local stations broadcast live sport.
The BBC says the changes are needed in order to reallocate resources to online services and local podcasts.
Davies admitted he’d received letters expressing concern over plans for weekends and sharing programmes across county boundaries.
He told Ian Skye the BBC was listening to concerns from MPs, stakeholders, local authorities and audiences, emphasising the plans were still just proposals.
An urgent question was raised in the House of Commons last week when culture minister Julia Lopez confirmed the DCMS hadn’t been briefed on the plans prior to publication. The minister confirmed she would be meeting BBC bosses.
Meanwhile, proposals to merge the BBC News Channel with its international counterpart continue with less backlash.
The channel launched 25 years ago today as BBC News 24. Unlike 5 years ago, the occasion was not marked by the BBC on a day dominated by rolling news coverage of the US midterms simulcast with BBC World News.
Ahead of April’s changes, UK-specific output on the channel continues to dwindle. Last month saw the long running Film Review segment come to an end.
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