Andrew Abbott's Blog

Thursday, 1 December 2011

It’s Listen to BBC Local Radio Day today.

I have to admit I’d stopped listening to BBC Local Radio myself, for one reason or another but I didn’t find anywhere else that I felt at home.

There’s some great stuff on Radio 4 but my listening is limited to when I’m in the car, so 7.30 to 8.30 in the morning and 5 to 6 in the evening. I found the confrontation a bit much so I tried Radio 2. Chris Evans is a great broadcaster and I did enjoy it but then I got interested in the charity bike marathon from Lincoln’s twin town, Neustadt back to Lincoln by Rod Whiting, Louise Wheeler and the Echo's John Pakey and I was gripped. Sure the reporting might not have been up to the standard of the big national stations but the more I listened the more I became engaged again.

Now there’s a threat to local radio on the BBC who have to save money and they are proposing more sharing with neighbouring stations. The point of local radio though is that it’s for us, the locals. Once you start sharing you lose that, I may as well go back to the other stations but the thing I’ve found is I really don’t want to.

Local radio really comes in to it’s own in the winter, when the weather’s bad or when there’s something big on, like the Christmas Market. Or as was the case last year, both. Reporting of things like that is best done locally. How can a presenter give a feel for something they’ve never been to? They can’t.

I started off thinking I would just put a word or two together just to mention the day but I realise writing this how much our local BBC station means to me and it means a lot to others too. Programmes coming from Hull or Nottingham are all very well but that’s not local radio, it’s local-ish radio. Make some savings elsewhere. Here’s a suggestion. As soon as a BBC personality starts to demand a seven figure salary, show them the way to ITV and look at promoting from within. Without naming names I can think of at least two BBC Lincolnshire presenters that could make the grade at a higher level. There, that’s saved a substantial amount of money. Can we have our BBC Local Radio back now please?

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