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Local radio goes local for M5 incident

Local radio stations in Somerset returned to local programmes on Friday evening to cover the accident on the M5.

BBC Radio Bristol and BBC Somerset provided extended local programming, along with Heart West Country which broadcast from Bristol between 10pm and 2am.

Heart provided local information from just before 9pm using split link technology from Leicester Square, then Tim Lichfield, who hosts Drivetime on weekdays, returned to the air at 10pm with local news bulletins every 30 minutes and traffic/travel reports every 15 minutes.

Heart owner Global Radio tells us a team of five presenters, producers, journalists and web editors have worked around the clock to provide local updates and the latest news in the first 24 hours after the event happened. They included Producer Joe O’Brien and News Editor Cormac MacMahon.

Local split links continued through the night, until the regular local programme started at 8am. Specific links continued throughout the afternoon and into the evening.

The BBC’s regional late show on Friday night, presented by Trevor Fry across BBC Somerset, BBC Radio Bristol, BBC Radio Gloucestershire and BBC Wiltshire was extended by 2 hours to 3am. Throughout the extended programme they ran additional half hourly news bulletins with updates of breaking news in between to listeners across the West.

A BBC spokesperson said: “This allowed us to give up to date information on the developing story, important messages from the police and emergency services and traffic information for those caught up on the M5 itself and the clogged up diversionary routes.”

She added: “Throughout the weekend, our local journalists provided rolling coverage; sharing information with colleagues in regional TV and the online team, and staying in constant contact with colleagues in the BBC’s network newsrooms not only to pass on the latest information but with advice on the specific local details relating to the incident.”

We approached other local radio operators in the area for a comment but at the time of publication only the BBC and Global Radio had responded to our request.

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