As part of their “Service review of BBC Local Radio” the BBC Trust is currently accepting submissions from members of the public. Here’s my tuppence-ha’penny worth:
Dear BBC Trust,
As a long-time listener to Radio London and its many incarnations, be it GLR, BBC London or whatever, radical change to the station is something we come to expect every half-dozen or so years.
Sometimes the loss of much-loved London voices is hard to bear; Norman Jay and the Ranking Miss P anyone? Other changes have been generally welcomed: Stand up Jon Gaunt.
But for all the changes that we’ve endured and enjoyed over the years the one thing that never changed was that the content was distinctly London. And yet, this time around it’s the London that’s being taken out of our London station.
Indeed these current ‘proposed changes’ appear to involve the side-lining of at least one of the station’s iconic London broadcasters; Robert Elms or Danny Baker. As part of this review exercise I’d suggest asking a few black cab drivers what they think of this potential loss to London.
The radio in my car has a curious habit of changing from the perma-tuned in BBC London 94.9 to the nearest BBC local station whenever I hover near the M25 belt. So I do occasionally get to hear Radio Surrey, Radio Kent, etc. With the greatest of respect, beyond travel reports, these stations have little or no interest to a Londoner. I find the prospect of successfully combining home-counties focused stations with their emphasis on rural towns and countryside issues with a station that is unashamedly urban, metropolitan and diverse is as remote as shoving the proverbial camel through the eye of a needle.
We live in a time when there are fewer and fewer local newspapers, thus it is often local radio and the internet that are the last sources of community information. I believe it is your duty to ensure that the BBC continues to inform, educate and entertain. Please ensure that this mission continues in a local context too.
Finally, if you want to make a meaningful change; why not revert back to the station’s original name? That way, any future ‘proposed changes’ might think twice before taking the London out of Radio London.
To make your own submissions visit the BBC Trust website.