We’ve just been told by our boss that one of the many ideas being bandied about as part of Delivering Quality First (the BBC’s efficiency drive) is to merge BBC Local Radio with 5 Live. This is just an idea at the moment, and would mean local stations only having opt outs at breakfast and drivetime with the rest coming from London. Clearly this would save millions of pounds – and cost hundreds of jobs.
For the first time I can ever remember, our manager has actively encouraged us to make this information public, and start shouting about it to as many people as we can. The strategy seems to be to stop it becoming anything more than an idea.
We need to be ready to with a firm defence of Local Radio.
Here are a few interesting facts
- BBC Local and Regional radio pulls in a weekly audience of 9.83 million listeners a week, Five Live gets just over 7 million.
- Year on year, the sector has added a million extra listeners (8,862 – Rajar Q4, 2009)
- In parts of the country – including Nottingham, Leicester, Derby, Bristol, Norfolk, Suffolk, Somerset, Devon, Birmingham – the BBC is the only organisation providing truly local radio
Stuff you can do – right now
- Write or email your local MP, reminding them of how much they rely on local radio and TV for their own profile
- If you work for the BBC, make sure you engage with the Delivering Quality First process – making it clear to those at the top that this is clearly a bonkers idea
- Prepare for one almighty fight to protect and save Local Radio.