Monday, October 05, 2009

BBC to expand political reporting on local radio and its business as usual on South East Today

As some readers will know the BBC has become one of my recent special interests.

A few weeks ago I devoted one of my more pompous outpourings of bile, on the broadcasters dire local news content, which for some inexplicable reason gives politicians in Kent an easy ride, either through the absence of reporting or inadequate scrutiny.

The reason the BBC is publicly funded is so that it can report in an impartial way but I just wonder if BBC Radio Kent’s sparse coverage of the workings of regional government is more than just an omission and favours the Conservative administration in Kent Council.

Anyhow I’ve been in correspondence with David Holdsworth BBC’s Controller of English Regions, as you can imagine I despatched my usually whinge about BBC’s poor contribution to local understanding of government. I wont bore you any more than I have already

Even so I thought I'd let you have a butchers at his reply interestingly the BBC are about to recruit 12 specialist political reporters to local radio stations.

Whether the one and a half million residents of Kent will finally get a hook on local politics will be interesting to see, certainly having caught the tail end of Sundays Politics show on BBC 1, I noticed once again the bland topics and questions had much to do with Westminster and damn all to do with Westgate or Kent.

Still assuming I'm wrong (which I don’t think is the case) its nice to see BBC might be coming to a similar conclusion to me, that heart warming stories about animals and cranks are all well and good but we also need to know what’s going on in local government as well as Westminster.

Anyway here’s the reply I received, I didn’t entirely agree but what do I know.


I understood your earlier correspondence had been dealt with in Tunbridge. We do very much set out to scrutinise and report local government, so I'm sorry if you feel we fall short in Kent. I know that council leaders do appear regularly on the air there. As further evidence we are about to start recruiting specialist political reporters for our local radio stations - the first 12 posts are likely to be advertised in about a fortnight.

All the best


David Holdsworth

Controller, BBC English Regions

This email was received a few days ago and I have been a bit busy recently but thought it worth passing on.

PS I caught the opening of South East today and despite culling the older presenters, it seemed to be business as usual, teddy bear’s, photographer of bins, strictly come dancing in house promo, I didn’t watch anymore.

1 comment:

  1. The BBC as a whole has always had a bit of a blind spot when it comes to talking about events in our fair county. Too often, they simply refer to soemthing happeningioon Kent and not specifying exactly whereabouts. This strikes me as sloppy and very London - or even Tunbridge Wells - centric. If you can campaign for a change in attitude here, then you will have my heartiest thanks!

    As for the local BBC mob, again I get the feeling they're very inward looking and do too many outsidwe broadcasts from rouond the corner of their studio when in fgact they should come to places like Margate, Canterbury or Dover