Major plans to transform its local radio services were set out by the BBC at the end of October. The proposals include a range of measures including cutting the popular bespoke local programming on Sunday afternoons and evenings and replacing them with shared regional or national programming. This will disproportionately impact and cut shows aimed at Black African Caribbean and Asian communities.
Not only could that mean long-standing and trusted Black and Asian presenters and producers losing their jobs, but it also means a vital means of communicating with minority communities on issues that directly impact them could be lost.
BEO, alongside others, is extremely concerned about the detrimental impact these cuts will have on local audiences – these programmes are a vital source of local news and one of the few ways local communities and organisations can get their voices and special interests heard.
Such is the seriousness with which we take this matter, BEO has written to the BBC Director General and the BBC Board to express our deep concern with these proposed changes. The letter, urging the Corporation to reconsider its decision has been backed by politicians, campaigners and names from the arts among others.
The letter is here.
While we recognise the need for the BBC to have the power to change the shape and offering of its programming, we believe the provision of content for Black and Asian communities must be safeguarded.
We are hopeful that the BBC will seriously consider the points outlined and will engage to ensure this important source of community programming and the journalist and teams who produce it are saved.
(image by Amy Karle)