NUJ welcomes extension of Radio Foyle’s breakfast show
The extension of North West Today to an hour followed a campaign led by the NUJ which attracted massive cross community and trade union support in Northern Ireland.
The BBC said that North West Today on BBC Radio Foyle/BBC Sounds will be extended by 30 minutes each weekday from early 2024 following the successful completion of a pilot exercise to look at the sustainability of a longer breakfast-time programme. The show will “prioritise stories affecting BBC audiences across its catchment area – highlighting local issues and concerns and helping to make them more widely accessible, including on digital platforms”.
The NUJ’s campaign Save BBC Northen Ireland had lobbied against cuts to jobs and programmes, and BBC members took strike action in May. The breakfast show was drastically cut from two hours to 30 minutes, in a move condemned by NUJ members and local communities. In January, NUJ members and local people stood in solidarity at a public meeting to oppose proposals at the Guildhall in Derry.
Paul Siegert, NUJ national broadcasting officer, said:
“We are delighted that the BBC has seen sense and make this compromise proposed by the union. The people of Northern Ireland made it very plain how precious this programme is to them, and we are very happy the BBC has made a commitment to Foyle’s continuing role as a production base for the BBC’s local and region-wide content.”
Seamus Dooley, NUJ assistant general secretary, said:
“Tribute is due to the NUJ chapel at Foyle, to our sister chapels in Northern Ireland, to the local branches in Derry North West and Belfast and to the many community groups and political parties who threw their weight behind this campaign. The NUJ officials, secondees, president, general secretary and staff all played a role, but ultimately this result is down to the persistence and perseverance of our members on the ground.”