At the present time, local radio is going through one of the most testing times in it’s existence. It’s facing massive cuts left, right and centre with some stations being merged or closed down altogether. The BBC is looking to reduce it’s net spend on Radio by 20% over 5 years, which will mean that inevitably 1 out of 5 or more of jobs will be lost (BBC News, November 2011)
The proposed plan is that local stations will have it’s morning show and drive time show, but everything else in-between will be the same across the UK (more likely to come from 5Live) regardless of the station’s location.
As an avid listener of local radio, I really do find it appalling that drastic measures are being taken when there really is no need for it. Recent figures from the radio research group ‘Rajar’ show that radio listening is going up. Here are the recent stats that they found.
- The total number of radio listening hours has also increased year on year to 1,076 million hours per week or 22.8 hours per listener.
- 90.7% of the population (47.1 million adults 15+*), listened to radio during the third quarter of 2011
- Digital listening hours break through 300 million mark for first time
- Internet listening hours up 15.4% quarter on quarter
- Access via a mobile phone up 24.2% year on year
All stats taken from www.rajar.co.uk
Theses stats completely contradict the BBC’s views on radio. If listening figures are actually going up, then why would they cut the amount of content that’s going to be available. Surely it makes more sense to do completely the opposite and make more content available, especially online. The digital figures (TV, DAB, Internet) show they are increasing as well, so instead of cutting online resources, they should be using their budgets to think of new ways to get people listening online.
Personally I don’t think I could very far without local radio. It gives you the latest news, traffic updates and sport in your area and I would bet that most radio listeners feel the same way.