Image of letter
Image of letter

This week I have written to Tim Davie, the BBC Director General, asking him to rethink plans to merge Radio Devon and Radio Cornwall.  

BBC local radio is a lifeline for news and education, mitigating against rural isolation and supporting people’s rural mental health, a great incubator for new talent and one of the crown jewels of our public sector broadcaster. BBC Local services are treasured by listeners in Plymouth and across Devon and local radio in particular plays a role that other media has largely abandoned.  

Merging the two stations means that the ‘local’ aspect of the station will be lost as they cover a wider geographical area, as we have seen following the merger of local commercial radio stations.   

Importantly, this also raises inevitable questions about the future of the BBC’s base in Plymouth and the jobs that are associated with this, and I am calling on Mr Davie to reassure me that there are no further plans to make cuts to broadcasting and jobs in Plymouth. Our city is a hub of creativity, and we need to make sure that we keep this sector thriving, which means making sure that these jobs are protected.   

As my letter says: 

“I want to see the BBC focus on shoring up high-quality local broadcasting and not moving to a regional broadcasting role by stealth. If that is the plan to move local broadcasting to regional blocks, moving away from distinctive county stations, then I would prefer the BBC to be upfront and honest about this plan.”

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