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06/07/2015
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I have, of course, heard of win win situations, but this week's decision by the BBC Trust to ask (ie order) the Executive to reverse most of the cuts it planned in local radio looks like a win, win, win situation.

It's a win for local radio supporters who will see some much loved programmes preserved.

It's a win for the Trust as it appears to show they listen to licence fee payers and are independent of BBC management and it's a win for the Executive as the sums involved are miniscule compared with the rest of the 20 per cent cuts which will apparently now go ahead.

Oh, and there is a fourth set of winners, those MPs who campaigned to have the cuts cut and can now tell their constituents that they "saved their local station".

Now let's hope we can get back to what really matters, the range and content of programmes.

This week on Feedback Radio 4's coverage of science came under scrutiny. The trigger for the debate was the decision of the Controller, who protests her passion for science, to cancel Home Planet, which, judged by the correspondence we received, was a much loved series about environmental science, and which had a special relationship with its listeners.

Two of them, Eileen Halsey and Howard Sherwood, came into our studio to meet Mohit Bakaya, who commissions science programmes for Radio 4, and BBC News's first science editor, only appointed last week, David Shukman.

There ensued a vigorous discussion which began with Eileen telling me how she felt when she heard about that Home Planet had been sucked into a black hole. You can hear it on the Radio 4 website.

We would like to do more such discussions in which you the listener get to meet and challenge those who decide what is in the schedules of all BBC radio stations.

We guarantee to read and listen to everything you send us. So please get in contact.

Roger Bolton presents Feedback

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  • Comment number 5. Posted by BBC Radio Forum

    on 30 Jan 2012 20:01

    Rather than an all round win, win, win, win situation I think I'd describe the local radio one as a line containing a couple of lemons, with a need for a few nudges in certain areas.

    As everybody should know, the local radio proposals where developed long before the recent licence fee settlement and so for it to used to justify the cuts is a bit of a misnomer and yet that is exactly what the consultation did. Leading up to the eventual DQF day in October, the BBC Trust had rubber stamped the trialing of programme sharing in certain areas of the country. In fact, they put off their entire Service Review of local radio until the DQF announcement. They are looking very much like our first prize lemon, no matter how much they appear to be representing the licence fee payer.

    As you rightly say, the cuts to local radio in monetary terms are miniscule when compared to elsewhere and yet even 50% (thank you Lord Patten for that rather arbitrary figure) of that amount will mean some stations may still lose a significant number of staff. In an environment where some presenters are having to source content for their programmes themselves, it is particularly harsh. As far as the executive is concerned I will quote the submission from the Voice of the Viewer and Listener's to the consultation, which ends 'the current plans also appear to fail to understand the role of the services in the communities they serve'.

    As for MP's and listeners, well as Tim Farron has said, it's all in the detail of which there continues to be very little. But as the BBC 'management' has more than ably demonstrated over the last couple (if not more) years that it doesn't understand local radio and they would be quite happy if rather a lot of it went away and stopped bothering them, I doubt very much whether listeners will be hitting the jackpot very soon.

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  • Comment number 4. Posted by pard0e

    on 30 Jan 2012 13:17

    RE: HOME PLANET, as soon as I heard that Home Planet was coming to an end I contacted them via their web-form, email address and main phone number to find out why. I honestly couldn't believe that the BBC, in these times of environmental crises and supposed increased scientific awareness in the media, they would be cancelling the ONLY program that actually discusses these issues. A month later I eventually heard back from BBC Complaints basically saying it was down to "the increased number of Costing the Earths in the schedule"! Costing the Earth is another great program, IMHO, but does a very different job, and I’m not aware of anything else like either programme. So, please: http://www.facebook.com/SaveHomePlanet

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  • Comment number 3. Posted by Stuart

    on 29 Jan 2012 13:39

    I think the writer(s) for Tracey's character in The Archers are to be complimented: her contribution to this rather closed society of down to earth commonsense logic on all matters benefitting her adds a refreshing breath of life, waking up the other characters a bit, and possibly having them falling off their chairs on the first read through.
    Probably the best contribution since Tony Hancock took the whole show over and launched it on television for the first time.

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  • Comment number 2. Posted by newlach

    on 28 Jan 2012 17:57

    Did Lord Patten say where the millions would come from to protect local radio, or is there simply a lot of licence payers' money sloshing around in some account that he can dip in to? If some of the TV output was sent to landfill a lot of money would be saved and quality improved at a stroke.

    I am very pleased with the science programmes on Radio 4. I was not a regular listener to Home Planet, but The Life Scientific, The Infinite Mokey Cage and Material World are all excellent programmes. I also enjoyed Dr Bunn's series on the brain and Matthew Taylor's on the human mind. It is important that the BBC produces programmes that help increase the scientific literacy of Radio 4 listeners. I suppose it would be much cheaper and easier to interview an "artist" about the meaning behind his latest monstrosity.

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  • Comment number 1. Posted by JJS

    on 28 Jan 2012 08:58

    This comment was removed because it broke the house rules. Explain

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