BBC Local Radio has been told to challenge more local politicians, make websites better and appeal to more BAME audiences.
The action points are the result of a review by the BBC Trust on local radio in England, which found that the BBC’s local radio and news and current affairs services are a very important part of the BBC’s overall news and radio offer to licence fee payers.
- The BBC should continue to improve how it explains local political and policy issues and holds decision-makers to account.
- The BBC should improve its local web pages in order to meet audience expectations. The Trust is clear that the BBC must continue to work collaboratively with other local news providers and is mindful of its impact on the market.
- Use of the BBC’s local and regional TV and radio services is much lower than average among black, Asian and minority ethnic audiences. It is important that the BBC improves the appeal of its regional and local content to a wider range of audiences, particularly black, Asians and minority ethnic adults.
The BBC has six months to report back to the Trust on its plans to address the above action points.
Staff interviews and qualitative audience research for the review focused on six areas across England in order to enable it to look in more depth at a range of different types of stations and regions. These were: BBC Radio Berkshire, BBC Radio Devon/BBC South West, BBC Radio Merseyside, BBC Radio Shropshire, BBC Tees and BBC WM/BBC West Midlands. The Trust visited the BBC in each of these areas, and the qualitative audience research
took place in these locations. They also visited BBC Radio Bristol/BBC West, BBC Radio Kent/BBC South East, BBC London, BBC Radio Manchester/BBC North West, BBC Newcastle/BBC North East and Cumbria, BBC Radio Nottingham/BBC East Midlands and BBC Radio Solent/BBC South.