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Feedback: Does it matter where a radio station comes from?

Friday 10 June 2011, 14:58

Roger Bolton Roger Bolton

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Media City UK

Does the location from which a radio station is broadcast significantly affect its sound and content?

If you are talking about Radio Merseyside or Radio Cumbria the answer is obviously yes. If they don't sound local and deal with local issues, they won't have an audience.

But what about a UK-wide station?

So far it's been difficult to tell as they are all based in west London.

In the autumn this will change as Radio 5 live completes its move to the Salford Quays, a couple of miles from the centre of Manchester.

In Feedback this week I talked to the Controller of the station about what changes he expects to result from the move and whether he himself will be moving permanently to the North West.

Before the move has been completed 5 live has found itself being criticised by its commercial rival Talksport.

This must rankle a liitle since Talksport has just won the Sony award for station of the year, previously held by - yes - 5Live.

The main thrust of Talksport's criticism is about what its rival news considers to be news as well as its obsession with soccer to the detriment of the minority sports the public service network is also supposed to cover.

Of course there is an element of self-interest in these criticisms but they are echoed by some Feedback listeners.

When I met Adrian Van Klaveren, the Controller of 5 Live, I put some of these questions to him.

Leave a comment on the blog or get in touch via the Feedback web site.

Roger Bolton is presenter of Feedback

  • Listen again to this week's Feedback, produced by Karen Pirie, get in touch with Feedback, find out how to join the listener panel or subscribe to the podcast on the Feedback web page.
  • Feedback is on Twitter. Follow @BBCR4Feedback.
  • Picture caption: "BBC MediaCityUK, the new centre for the BBC and other media organisations in Salford Quays, Salford, Manchester"

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  • rate this

    Comment number 1.

    Yes location does matter for Radio 4. How the politics reporting can function if it is distant from Westminster and Whitehall is unclear; certainly getting politicians in the studio would be far more difficult.

  • rate this

    Comment number 2.

    I was disappointed to learn that this move to Salford has been something other than slick and professional. Mr Van Klaveran told us that he himself has no plans to move permanently from his home in the south of England, so why should we be surprised that only 50 per cent of the original staff chose to move north? I cannot help thinking that this half-hearted attitude to the move has cost licence-fee payers dearly and that things would have been very different in the private sector. Have many staff have chosen to live temporarily in the Manchester area and how much exactly will licence-fee payers be out of pocket as a consequence?

    If this is considered good leadership the time would seem ripe for reform.


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