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Suffolk country show dropped

BBC Radio Suffolk is dropping its local country music show after 21 years and replacing it with a networked regional programme.

Host Brian Mann will finish in his Sunday afternoon slot at the end of March, with Steve Cherelle's country show from BBC Essex taking his place.

The 64-year-old from Ipswich has presented the programme since the station launched in 1990 and told the [link=http://www.eadt.co.uk/entertainment/suffolk_dj_s_sadness_as_radio_suffolk_country_music_show_axed_1_810901?]East Anglian Daily Times[/link] he was saddened that it was coming to an end.

"I’m very disappointed. They have decided to network the programme – I guess it is a cost-cutting exercise," he said. "I still enjoy presenting the show and I’m very keen to carry on. I feel as though it’s a backwards step for the BBC but they will do as they see fit.

He added: "I offered to do a show on Thursday night but that was rejected, and that was it. I don’t think many of the listeners know yet. You don’t cut a programme which is successful – it has higher ratings than many weekday programmes."

Brian told the paper that there's still a big call for country music in the county. "The music required in Suffolk is different," he said. "In Essex and London it’s more upbeat music while Suffolk and Norfolk like more traditional music and Irish music – that’s why you see such long queues for Daniel O’Donnell. I’m old-fashioned but I try to keep up-to-date."

A BBC spokesperson told the EADT: "Brian’s been a big part of BBC Radio Suffolk for many years and he will continue to present special programmes through the year. This was a difficult decision to make but in the end we have to ensure we deliver the best value for money for licence fee payers. Steve Cherelle already broadcasts to three other radio stations in our region on a Sunday afternoon and he has a proven track record of presenting and working within the country music community. He will continue to provide local gig and event information for Suffolk."

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