The Parliamentary Rugby League Group has today responded to consultations from the BBC on its Local Radio services, calling for an extension to the deadline and the need for the BBC to make clear the consequences of the proposals it has put forward.
The Group’s paper, copies of which have been sent directly to the Trust’s Chairman Lord Patten and BBC Director General Mark Thompson, expresses the Group’s dissatisfaction in the way the BBC have portrayed the outcomes of the proposals, presenting them as far less impactful.
If enacted in full, the BBC’s proposals would mean:
– The loss of local programmes on weekday afternoons, with programmes being shared with neighbouring stations;
– The loss of all local programming between 7pm and 10pm. This means the end of any sports magazine shows, in-depth discussion about sport and the opportunity to have opinions heard, engage with clubs, officials and others involved in the game;
– Significant loss of live commentary as there will be a massive reduction in the number of games covered and with the reduction in the number of commentators at games that are broadcast any local flavour disappears;
– The loss of all local programming between 1am until the start of the breakfast show. All stations would broadcast Radio 5 Live;
– The loss of a wide number of locally-split breakfast programmes; and
– Huge costs to any local station that wants to offer live coverage of more than one game matches of any sport as stations will be charged to use the medium wave.
Group Chairman Leeds North West MP, Greg Mulholland said of the response “the BBC says it is committed to regional and local diversity. As a Group, we believe that this is best expressed through sport. We recognise the pressure the BBC is under at this time in terms of cost savings, but BBC Local Radio offers significant returns for those it serves and does so with already-limited budgets.
“We feel the language used in the consultations is opaque and without additional clear information, the BBC has left fans of all sports entirely unaware of the impact any of the proposals will have. We feel that more could and should have been done to ensure those that the BBC serves have relevant information to take an informed decision.”
The BBC is simultaneously running two consultations on its Local Radio service, each with different questions or proposals. The Group’s response makes clear that by having two consultations on the same subject with different information, it would be difficult for people to see the full impact of the proposals.
Mulholland continued “for these reasons, we have asked the BBC to extend their deadline, be clearer in their proposals across both consultations and simplify the way information is presented.”
To review or download a copy of the Group’s response to the BBC, visit the Group’s website: www.apprlg.org.uk