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BBC confirms local radio post closures

BBC confirms local radio post closures

The BBC has confirmed it plans to make jobs cuts within its local radio services as part of its digital-first strategy.

The changes will not change its overall investment in local services, the BBC said in a statement, but instead “reprioritise” £19m from broadcast services to online and multimedia production to “keep pace with changing audience expectations”.

The public service broadcaster (PSB) plans to cut 48 posts from its BBC local staffing in England, around 2% of that team.

There will also be around 139 fewer roles in audio teams as more programme sharing is introduced.

Further to announcements in May, 40 posts will close as the documentary series We Are England comes to an end and local television news programmes in Oxford and Cambridge will shut.

However, the plans for BBC local services also includes 131 additional roles across local news services and the creation of 11 investigative reporting teams in England to provide analysis of key local issues across TV, radio and online, creating 71 new journalism roles with the target of producing 20 TV documentary programmes a year.

There will additionally be a “boost” in online daily news provision in 43 local areas and a wider range of local audio programming provided through BBC sounds.

The BBC aims to increase its investment in local current affairs by 40% and new local online services will launch in Bradford, Wolverhampton, Sunderland and Peterborough.

For the first time, the BBC will create multimedia news operations across England to bring together local news teams across radio, TV and online.

All 39 BBC Local Radio stations will continue their own local programming between 6am and 2pm on weekdays.

All live sports programming and local news bulletin services will be maintained across local stations.

After 2pm on weekdays, the BBC will produce 18 programmes across England, with local stations sharing this programming.

Between 6pm and 10pm on weekdays there will be ten local programmes, with this number also being broadcast on Saturday and on Sunday mornings to “broadly mirror” existing local television areas.

After 10pm on weekdays and on Sunday afternoons and evenings a national “all-England” programme will be broadcast.

All of these proposals form part of the BBC’s new strategy to create “a modern digital-led organisation” offering more value to all audiences.

Rhodri Talfan Davies, director of nations, said: “These are ambitious and far-reaching proposals to grow the value we deliver to local audiences everywhere. The plans will help us connect with more people in more communities right across England — striking a better balance between our broadcast and online services — and ensuring we remain a cornerstone of local life for generations to come.”

Earlier this year, it announced cuts to its World Service provision and relaunched BBC Three on linear as part of this strategy.

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