Local BBC Radio output disrupted as industrial action starts

A syndicated show is underway on some Local BBC Radio stations as NUJ journalists commence a 24-hour strike.

Local content is on hold at a number of stations whilst picket lines are formed and demonstrations are made.

Among those services in network mode with a special show from Jim Davis are BBC Radio Leeds, BBC Radio Humberside, Hereford and Worcester, BBC Radio Stoke, and BBC Radio Derby.

An occasional message with reference to the strike action is being broadcast, saying “Due to industrial action, we are unable to bring you our normal output on BBC local radio.” Network production is also replacing local idents.

Some stations are broadcasting pre-made content, such as BBC Radio Solent which is looking back at its Falklands coverage.

Others have freelance presenters or non-NUJ members covering the output in an attempt to continue local content as normal.

Regional television output is also disrupted with afternoon and evening news programmes cancelled.

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, said: “Staff are striking this week as a last resort – they are under no illusion that the BBC’s plans will undermine already hollowed out local radio content across England.

“It’s not simply a question about jobs and conditions for our members – they believe passionately in the value that quality local content brings to their audiences, journalism that is trusted and relied upon in the communities they serve.

“The BBC’s raiding of local radio budgets to fund its Digital First strategy is wrongheaded and risks undermining a vital part of our public service broadcasting. People want local relevant news that is accessible, and that should remain a core part of the breadth of BBC output.”

A BBC spokesperson said: “We’re sorry that audiences will experience some changes to local tv and radio services in England as a result of industrial action by the National Union of Journalists. We have tried to minimise disruption as much as possible.

“We are obviously disappointed that the strike has gone ahead. We have a plan to modernise local services across England – including more news journalists and a stronger local online service – which will see no overall reduction in staffing levels or local funding. Our goal is a local service across tv, radio and online that delivers even greater value to communities.

“We will continue to engage with the trade union and do everything possible to minimise the impact on staff.”

Posted on Wednesday, March 15th, 2023 at 12:12 pm by Roy Martin

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