Wales politics

Put Welsh news on BBC Radio 1 and 2, says assembly report

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Media captionBethan Jenkins says viewers want programmes about Wales, not just made in Wales

Welsh listeners to BBC Radio 1 and 2 should hear news bulletins about Wales at certain times of the day, according to the assembly's culture committee.

Chairwoman Bethan Jenkins said it would "better reflect Welsh life" and AMs were pleased it was being considered by the corporation.

AMs also called for an extra £30m to be spent each year on BBC English-language drama and broadcasting about Wales.

The BBC said plans for more spending would be announced "in due course".

The broadcaster has previously conceded aspects of Welsh life had not been "sufficiently captured" by its TV services in Wales.

During its inquiry into the state of the broadcast media industry in Wales, BBC Director General Lord Hall told the Culture, Welsh Language and Communications Committee that putting Wales-based news bulletins on Radio 1 and 2 was being discussed as part of a review.

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Image caption Might listeners hear a Wales-based news bulletin on Chris Evans's Radio 2 breakfast show?

Ms Jenkins said her committee believed "flagship stations such as Radio 1 and Radio 2 should carry Wales-specific opt-outs for their news programmes to better reflect Welsh life".

AMs were "pleased to hear" this was being seriously considered, she added.

The committee's report said there should be no more funding cuts for S4C until an independent review of the channel had been completed.

It also called on ITV Wales to take a more proactive approach to getting its programmes broadcast across the ITV network.

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Media captionDr Ruth McElroy, a media expert at the University of South Wales, said the suggestions were positive

A BBC spokeswoman said: "We've said that improving how we portray and represent the different nations of the UK - including Wales - on our UK-wide services is a priority for the new Charter period.

"As part of this we've committed to spending more on English-language television programming in Wales and will set out the proposals in due course."

An ITV Cymru Wales spokesperson said they are "proud of their contribution" but the report "does not recognise the the contribution ITV makes in Welsh language current affairs."

They added: "We are disappointed that the committee appears to place such a low value on the significant volume of commercially funded high quality news and current affairs programming that ITV makes in Wales.

"We will, of course, continue to engage constructively with the important work of the committee."

Analysis by Huw Thomas, BBC Wales arts and media correspondent

Not all of the ideas are new, but they are certainly timely.

The committee's request that the BBC spends £30m on TV programmes about Wales echoes last year's appeals from the Welsh Government and the Institute for Welsh Affairs.

But given Lord Hall's statement in front of the committee that budgets would be finalised in March 2017, we are weeks away from finding out whether he has been persuaded by the chorus of Welsh politicians and pundits.

The committee also highlights the uncertainty surrounding S4C's future funding as we await details on the delayed review of the channel.

But where its report is heavy on the governance, accountability and investment required of Welsh broadcasters, the committee is light on digital developments and changing audience behaviour - something which may be addressed when it resumes its examination of the media later this year.

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