The sky didn’t quite fall in. The world didn’t quite end. But yesterday in my BBC office there was a sombre mood as we learned the harsh reality of how the cuts will affect us. Although the phrase I heard most often was “it could have been a lot worse”.
That’s going to ring a little hollow for the regional TV and radio reporter who contribute to the News Channel and Five Live whose jobs are to go. It’ll also sound a dull note in the ears of three afternoon presenters in radio stations across our region, who’ll be wondering which (if any) might get the call to present the proposed shared afternoon show. And it still going to be a difficult 18 months for the online team who have to lose a couple of posts.
But away from all the internal posturing yesterday, there was a parallel discussion going on about the merits or otherwise of Local Radio in the blogosphere. A couple of days ago I talked about John Myers – more of which later. But I’d urge anyone who really cares about Local Radio and the BBC to have a look at David Lloyd’s thoughts.
David’s in something of a unique position. Because he’s not only worked at the BBC, he’s done so as a manager. Now let me be clear – I’m not a manager, never will be and often clash across the union negotiating table with them. But David – in my opinion – is not just a pragmatist – he’s a realist. These day’s he’s back in the commercial sector. And whichever side of the fence he’s working on, one thing is absolutely true. He has a real passion for radio.
Yet whatever era we live in, there are those who are still all too keen to mock. 5 Live’s Rachel Burden – a former local radio presenter in Suffolk – came out with this gem recently – referring to a “two bit local radio station.” Thanks for that, really helpful. But sadly reflective of the attitude that still pervades in some corners of Network Radio.
Speaking of which, what of John Myers – the radio executive turned consultant? Well not so long ago the BBC asked him for his views on how Radios 1 and 2 were being manager. A report in the Guardian outlined his views on the news operation.
Myers suggested that Radio 1’s Newsbeat, which employs 52 full-time staff in addition to its own technical and production personnel, could become the “central newsroom for all four popular music networks.
Well, he didn’t quite get his way. But Newsbeat will be reduced to 35 staff under these cuts. As Myers himself tweeted last night…. “#justsayin”. Then again, he did himself no favours on BBC Radio Nottingham this morning, firstly claiming that his views on local radio “waste” were valid because he had worked there. When pressed to say exactly when, he revelead….”1982-1985″.
Things have moved on since then. Perhaps it’s time to move on again.