rory continues to fight for bbc radio cumbria

Rory attended a lobby of Parliament by the National Union of Journalists in an event before Christmas which was also attended by employees of BBC Radio Cumbria. The lobby visited Westminster to meet with elected representatives and voice their objections over proposals by the BBC to make drastic cuts to local radio services, and in particular to local station BBC Radio Cumbria.

The two-hour session in Parliament saw a variety of presentations of the plans forming part of the BBC’s ‘Delivering Quality First’ programme, resulting in cuts on average of 12% to all local radio stations in England, and specifically a 20% reduction in funding for BBC Radio Cumbria. This was followed by an open meeting, giving members of the public the chance to raise their concerns.

Rory said: “Throughout my term as MP for Penrith and the Border I have, without exception, found myself arguing the case for Cumbria as a unique British region. The county furthest from the BBC’s headquarters in London, it is a geographically vast area that encompasses the industrial West ‘energy’ coast, the urban centre of Carlisle, the rural tourist destinations of the south and central lakes, and the remote farming borderlands of the far north of the county. BBC Radio Cumbria is the most listened to local radio station of the country, and is the only local broadcaster serving an entire county: in terms of coverage, this would cover an equivalent area, in the south of England, of north-west London to the Isle of Wight. As a local news provider, the station already works tirelessly to cover stories as they happen: and Cumbria has, for many reasons, been consistently in the spotlight in recent years. The BBC Cumbria team was amongst the first on the scene of many recent emergency situations. There is no doubt that the savings of 20% that BBC Radio Cumbria is being asked to make will have a disproportionately negative effect on the BBC’s output here in the county, and I have urged the BBC Trust to reconsider this decision, and have invited Lord Patten to visit Cumbria and see for himself the very unique position we are in.”

Under current proposals, BBC Radio Cumbria could be forced to axe the equivalent of 9.4 full time equivalent posts. In reality this would translate to 12 or 13 members of staff losing their jobs – around a third of the station’s workforce. The station would also lose at least 50 hours of local programming every week as it is forced to share more programming with other local radio stations.


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