BBC announces TV and radio money-saving mission

Ian Collins reacts to the BBC's cost-cutting plans

Thursday, July 2, 2020

The BBC has announced money-saving steps to shake up regional television news and local radio in England, leading to 450 job losses.

Changes include fronting evening regional TV news bulletins with one presenter instead of two and scrapping the regional current affairs programme Inside Out.

The magazine show is currently made in 11 different regions but will be replaced with a new investigative journalism show based in six hubs.

Local radio will see a permanent continuation of a “simplified schedule” introduced during the coronavirus pandemic, with fewer shows and single presenters.

The broadcaster said that BBC England – which currently has more than 3,000 staff – must save £25 million by April 2022.

BBC England’s director Helen Thomas said the organisation planned to modernise by focusing on digital content.

“We are in the age of the Facebook community group and the WhatsApp neighbourhood chat. We must adapt to better reflect how people live their lives, how they get their news and what content they want,” she said.

But the National Union of Journalists has warned that the cuts – which will affect presenters, journalists, technical and operation staff – could hinder the BBC’s ability to represent all parts of the country.

General secretary Michelle Stanistreet said: “These are huge cuts which will inevitably have an impact on the BBC’s ability to sustain the breadth and depth of news coverage throughout England which truly reflects the diversity of the nation.”

Read more

Media professor backs BBC’s diversity quota

BBC to cut hundreds of jobs in newsroom shakeup

talkRADIO: Listen live for the latest updates on Covid-19