It was a busy day in my world... just getting on with things at my desk... the usual - trying to get the inbox to zero. But then I came across this blogpost from Bill Rogers. This is the essence of it:
'Now someone is "floating" some sort of merger between the rump of BBC Local Radio in England, and 5Live. 5Live would abandon its medium wave frequencies of 909 and 693, but still be heard uninterrupted on DAB, cable and satellite. Local radio stations would mount only breakfast and drive time shows on their FM transmitters, and carry 5Live at all other times - perhaps with some weekend sport opt-outs.'
Now, I've been around the BBC Local Radio block a fair bit... for the best part of twenty years, actually. And this has left me scratching my head at how anyone could seriously suggest this. I'm no lover of nostalgia, nor someone craving for years gone by. But I believe in the power of local radio. It connects with its audiences, it knows its listeners, listeners know the station, the station's there in good times and bad. I haven't worked in a local radio station where that hasn't been the case.
I know awards aren't everything (until you win one, of course). But I decided to look back at the past 10 years of Sony Radio Award winners. I got as far as last year - 2010. I'll go back further when I have time. TEN awards for BBC Local Radio, and another EIGHT shortlisted nominations.
That includes Gold and Silver in Station of the Year (300,000 - 1million listeners), Gold for Speech Personality of the Year, Gold for Community Programming, Silver and Bronze for Breaking News Coverage and Bronze for Breakfast Show.
I think of the sheer numbers of people committed to local radio and all it stands for, the people who produce stunning journalism every day (not just for awards), and those people who have local radio to thank for their springboard to network jobs. I also think of the listeners.
There are around 7 million listeners to local radio in England each week. Around 2.5million of those consume no other BBC service, according to the BBC's Annual Report. Oh, and local radio in England produces around a quarter of a million hours of output each year. The BBC points out in its annual report, 'The vast majority of our radio hours are live – which enables us to keep our listeners updated on key developments and issues of the day.