The BBC licence fee has been set at £145.50 for the next five years. The BBC has at the same time taken on responsibility for Welsh Language Broadcaster S4C and the World Service, and set aside funds for digital innovation. The result is that programming and staff must be cut, and those will cuts hit BBC local radio in England very hard.
This programme of cuts is known as Delivering Quality First.
The cuts to local radio
BC Local Radio in England is being told to make 12% cuts, including the loss of 280 from around 1300 jobs across 40 stations. In practice, this means cuts of around 20% to staffing at many local radio stations. Presenters and sport commentators will go, and many of the staff that support them will go also. Local afternoon and evening shows across the country will be axed in favour of evening and national programmes.
BBC managers say that the quality of local broadcasting will not be affected by these cuts. They have even said that local radio will “thrive” under the cuts.
There will be less local sports coverage and less coverage of local music. Fewer local voices, and fewer local staff to respond in times of crisis. More coverage will be non-local written and spoken by people who barely know the geography of the areas they are talking about, let alone understand their communities.
The BBC’s management is proposing the following changes to the BBC local radio in England.
More on information Delivering Quality First
The BBC Trust is conducting parallel consultations on DQF and local radio provision:
Two contrasting views on the implications of DQF for local radio: