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BBC plans could kill local radio

10 March 2011

New BBC proposals could see BBC local radio services being axed as part of a programme of savage spending cuts. The NUJ has called on the BBC to "step back from the brink" and protect the important role of local radio.

Staff have been briefed about a series of proposals for the future of local radio – including plans to produce only breakfast and drive-time shows locally, with all other programming being delivered by Radio 5 Live. BBC staff fear the plans would mean the loss of at least 700 jobs and the possible closure of some stations.

Jeremy Dear, NUJ general secretary, said:

"Local radio plays a crucial role in keeping local communities informed. These proposals would rip the heart out of local programming and effectively sound the death knell for local radio.
"The BBC's plans would be a blow to quality journalism at the BBC and fly in the face of public commitments to localism and transparency. Local radio programmes are produced by local people for local audiences, yet these decisions are being taken far away from communities and behind closed doors.
"The BBC must step back from the brink and protect local radio services. If they do not we will actively resist plans which threaten to inflict such devastating damage to local radio services."

Ivan Lewis, shadow culture secretary, said:

"Local radio stations are at the heart of their communities. Any radical reduction in programme quality and volume would be a source of serious concern. At a time when Jeremy Hunt is forcing the BBC to spend 25 million pounds on local TV, it is perverse that 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."

Tags: , bbc, broadcasting, radio, bbc radio 5 live, cuts, local radio, local tv