Long serving BBC local radio presenter Martin Kelner has hit back at the corporation after he was let go from his daily show.
Martin says he was asked for a quick word after his show by new Managing Editor Sanjiv Buttoo, who assured him the meeting wouldn’t take long. “I had no inkling at all I was about to be defenestrated (I’ve had some experience in this area, so usually I can tell),” Martin wrote.
He says the meeting lasted less than five minutes whilst a station meeting was called upstairs, meaning Martin left the building for the final time without any farewells with his colleagues.
Martin says he was told by Sanjiv: “The station’s moving in a different direction, and you’re Martin Kelner, it wouldn’t be fair to ask you to do something different.”
He goes on to say the BBC local radio network is “an increasingly unpopular radio service, underfunded and over-managed” and offers his solution to fix the growing problem of audience figures falling.
“The BBC will franchise its local stations, giving a small committee of local people licence to broadcast a mix of music and speech content – probably 50-50 or 60-40 – loosely policed in the way the IBA used to handle the ILR stations of blessed memory. But news and engineering would be run by the BBC as now – the BBC will still need regional newsrooms for national bulletins, websites etc. – with the ultimate aim of the stations being self-administering and possibly self-financing through subscriptions or carefully policed sponsorship, so as not to impinge on the current commercial radio income,” he suggests.
Martin has received much support on Twitter – with Danny Baker, who was also sacked from his BBC local radio show, saying: “And again. The HORDES of bloodless suits who run local radio are pests, vampires, ghouls.”
Martin’s brother, Simon, a former Editor of the Independent, calls the BBC local radio managers “criminally negligent wankers”.
Radio futurologist James Cridland writes: “Another BBC HR shitshow”.
Danny Baker followed up his original tweet with: “Unlike many removed from local radio by these dim clots I got a chance to lay into the dullards before I went. The book is out this Autumn.”
The BBC issued a statement to RadioToday on Friday wishing Martin well for the future, and we have offered management at the station the opportunity to respond to this update.