ABOUT 40 hours of local broadcasting a week are set to be axed by BBC Radio York as it faces up to a 20 per cent cut in its budget.
It is understood the radio station is also set to lose about eight full-time broadcasting jobs out of 34 full-time equivalent jobs, and the station is facing reductions in its sporting coverage.
The proposals have been drawn up for Radio York, which has stations in York, Scarborough and Harrogate, as part of national reductions in spending by the BBC, entitled Delivering Quality First.
The station currently has 106 hours of local broadcasting each week. It is understood the 40-hour reduction could hit afternoon, early evening and weekend music programming, and would also mean a reduction in live coverage of local sports matches. Live weather forecasts from the BBC Yorkshire team into Radio York’s breakfast shows may also be lost.
A BBC spokeswoman said the proposals included there being no early show before 6am, more sharing of programmes with other radio stations at the weekends, a shared afternoon show and an “all England” programme from 7pm to 10pm.
She said: “These proposals protect 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. These are the times of the day when stations deliver the bulk of their journalism.”
York council leader James Alexander said he had agreed to a request by Coun Barbara Boyce to write to the Culture Secretary and the BBC’s director general and chair of governors to ask for a review of funding for local radio.
He feared there would be more national and regional output in York at the expense of local news and programming, as well as a reduction in journalists. He said: “Both are not healthy for local democracy and will lead to local politicians being held less to account.”
The BBC Trust has launched a public consultation on proposed cuts which runs until December 21, with the trust set to reach its conclusions early next year.
Comments should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or posted to: Delivering Quality First, BBC Trust, 180, Great Portland Street, London W1W 5QZ.