Back in November 2011 we published an article entitled WE NEED YOUR HELP to save Folkscene, and protect Radio Merseyside. This call to arms was in response to the Director-General’s proposals to slash budgets for BBC local radio stations across the country and to force stations to share programming at all but peak times. This would have had a catastrophic effect on Radio Merseyside and would have seen the loss of most of the special interest programmes, including Folkscene.
Thanks to the vociferous campaigning from across the country, and from Merseyside in particular (well done us!), the Chair of the BBC Trust rejected the proposals as disproportionately unfair, and ordered the D-G to think again.
The new proposals, which were accepted by the BBC Trust, saw a significant reduction in the level of savings required from local radio. The impact on BBC Radio Merseyside is as follows.
Reduction in the number of staff. This was inevitable, but thankfully didn’t include any compulsory redundancies.
Loss of the 5.00am to 6.00am pre-recorded early breakfast show (all stations lost this)
Billy Butler‘s afternoon show is now two hours, from 2.00pm to 4.00pm, Monday to Friday.
Drivetime is now 4.00pm to 6.00pm, Monday to Friday.
Merseyside Sport now has only an hour from 6.00pm to 7.00pm, Monday to Friday.
All stations now carry a ‘national local radio show’ (go figure!), the quite frankly boring and meaningless Mark Forrest Show from 7.00pm to 10.00pm Monday to Friday. BBC Radio Merseyside can opt out of this in order to cover local sports events or to cover breaking news stories of local interest.
All stations now broadcast their BBC Introducing programme from 8.00pm to 10.00pm on Saturday nights. Here on Merseyside, Dave Monks‘ show is well worth a listen, and if you miss it (let’s face it, who sits in and listens to the radio on Saturday night?) then it’s available for up to seven days on the Listen Again service.
Open House, the programme for the Asian community, has finished following the retirement of presenter Umi Prasad.
PMS, On The Beat, Frankie Connor, Billy Maher, and Linda McDermott are all safe.
Also safe with new days and/or time slots are Up Front, Sounds Country, Orient Express, and Folkscene.
Obviously here at Liverpool Acoustic we’re delighted that Folkscene has been saved.
Presented by Geoff Speed and Stan Ambrose (as it has been for 45 years!) Folkscene can now be found every Sunday afternoon from 4.00pm to 5.00pm, and is available to Listen Again online for seven days afterwards. As others have already noted, the show has gone from twice a week (Thursday show, repeated the following Tuesday) to once a week, and in it’s new time slot is at the mercies of the Sunday football schedules, meaning fewer regular shows over the year. However, by way of compensation, the Folkscene presenters have been asked to put together extra shows to be broadcast over Bank Holiday weekends, so it’s not all bad.
We’d like to thank each and every one of you who helped in any way, however small, during the campaign. We can honestly say that we made a difference.
On a side note we’d also like to send our best wishes to sports presenter Alan Jackson who retired at the beginning of the year. Alan was a natural broadcaster with a knowledge and enthusiasm for sport that shone through whenever he was on the air, and his highly distinctive voice will be missed by sports fans right across the region.
Liverpool Acoustic is the only website of its kind in the UK. It was founded by Graham Holland in April 2008 as a central resource for the vibrant and exciting acoustic music scene in Liverpool and the Greater Merseyside area. The website publishes news from the local acoustic music scene, previews of upcoming events, reviews of music releases and gigs, and the Liverpool Acoustic Spotlight podcast. This content is available for free via email subscription. The diary lists acoustic events including festivals, theatre concerts, folk clubs, showcases and open mic nights.