Jobs face the axe at Radio Shropshire

Reporter:

Gill Broad

JOBS are under threat at Radio Shropshire after the  BBC announced major budget cuts.

A fifth of the workforce will be cut at the Shrewsbury and Telford-based stations and 35 hours of weekly Shropshire-generated programming.

In total nine Radio Shropshire shows will be lost if cuts go ahead, a spokesman confirmed.

Programmes lost will be Ian Perry’s Early Breakfast Show (Monday to Friday 5-6am); Colin Young’s lunchtime show (Monday to Friday 12-3pm); Marie Crichton’s Country Show (Mondays 7-9pm); Sport (Tuesdays 7-9pm except football coverage); John Hellings’ Jazz (Wednesdays 7-9pm); Colin Young’s Trunk of Funk (Thursdays 7-9pm); Jim Hawkins’ Saturday Rock Show (Saturdays 6-9pm); Paul Shuttleworth’s Sunday Show (Sundays 1-3pm) and Genevieve Tudor’s Folk Show (Sundays 7-9pm).

Last week BBC director general Mark Thompson said the organisation had to cut 20 per cent from its budget over the next five years, meaning the loss of 20,000 BBC jobs.

Local radio is one of the areas singled out for proposed savings.

Tim Beech, managing editor at Radio Shropshire, said: “The BBC announced more programme sharing for BBC local radio outside of peak time hours, including the creation of an all evening England programme.

“These proposals protect BBC local radio peak-time programmes when the audience is highest and the output is the most distinctive. That is breakfast, mid-morning and drive-time programmes, plus sport and faith on Sunday mornings.”

He said it would mean the loss of 35 hours of Shropshire programming and 20 per cent of staff, the equivalent of 8.2 jobs at average wage, are also set to go.

Mr Beech added: “Any change in output has to go to the BBC Trust for approval, so that is under consultation. This is now open and runs until December 21. The proposal is to implement the changes by April 2013.”

Michelle Stanistreet, National Union of Journalists general secretary, said: “This is a watershed moment in BBC history. We are stunned that BBC news, BBC radio and quality journalism have received a disproportionate hit. The cuts risk irreparable damage to the BBC and will inevitably compromise quality journalism and programming.

“NUJ members are committed to defending jobs and quality journalism at the BBC and we are asking readers, listeners and viewers to join with us in this battle.

“If the BBC presses ahead with the changes, strike action across the corporation seems inevitable,” she added.

Other proposed BBC cuts include a 15 per cent reduction in the BBC’s sports rights budget and restricting new daytime programmes to BBC One only.

See full story in the Leader

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