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Signal ballot over hubbing

Journalists at Signal Radio in Stoke are balloting for industrial action after two of the three strong news team were told they were to be axed with news production moving to Wigan.

Parent company UTV are planning to create a news hub that will include Signal, The Wolf in Wolverhampton, Juice FM in Liverpool, Tower in Bolton, Wire in Warrington, and Wish in Wigan.

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ Deputy General Secretary, said: “News hubbing is a trendy word for cutting and running from the communities that radio stations claim to serve. Having news for six stations run by overworked journalists in Wigan is a recipe for disaster for listeners and workers.

In a letter to Staffordshire and Cheshire MPs the NUJ chapel says the plans by parent company UTV will mean “the death of journalism”.

The letter continues: “The company’s [UTV] latest plan would mean no one in the patch during the afternoon to react to stories. It would mean out of date bulletins being produced by people with little or no knowledge of the area. In short, Signal news, as people have known it over the last 26 years, would cease to exist.

“The National Union of Journalists’ chapel at Signal has voted unanimously for a ballot on possible industrial action. This is the last thing we want to do. We would rather be serving our listeners as we have for years. Instead, we’re being forced into a corner.”

When contacted by Radio Today, a UTV Radio spokesman declined to comment.

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