Wednesday, 28 December 2011

BBC cuts consultation

The consultation on the BBC proposals closed last week.  I sent in comments.  This (below) is what I said:

"I write to give my views as part of this consultation.  I am leader of the Liberal Democrats on Liverpool City Council but am also a current lecturer in higher education and a former employee of BBC local radio.
The main station I listen to is BBC Radio Merseyside although I am familiar with some others.
To start with a point of principle, I am surprised that the BBC is asking for cuts from local radio.  Local radio is a tiny part of the corporation's overall spend and must be one of the most, if not the most, cost effective form of communication the BBC has.  It must also be one of the only parts in which participation by the community is not just allowed, it is encouraged.  This ranges from local vicars taking active production roles in faith programmes to angling experts contributing on a regular basis. Certainly in my time in local radio there was a signicant "volunteer" element which must surely be valued.
To move on to BBC Radio Merseyside, I would be against any reduction in locally derived/produced broadcasting (by locally I mean about and on Merseyside).  It is easy to argue that under your proposals elements such as news and current affairs will be protected.  But the voice of a locality does not just consist in news.  It is the complete range of topics rooted in an area that makes sure a station has its "local voice". It is also the case that non news broadcasters frequently uncover things which become news.  Remove these other broadcasters and you remove another source of local intelligence.
BBC Radio Merseyside is very much valued and loved in Liverpool and beyond. I know this from talking to my constituents on a daily basis as do other members of the Lib Dem Group in Liverpool.  Not only would reductions here mean the population of this area losing out, it would send a signal about the value of local broadcasting that I don't believe the BBC wants to send."

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