Derby North MP Amanda Solloway has launched a campaign to persuade the BBC to overturn its decision to regionalise its output leaving the city without local content in the afternoons.
Amanda Solloway has written to BBC director general Tim Davie in a cross-party letter supported by Derby South MP Margaret Beckett and Kate Kniveton, MP for Burton and Uttoxeter.
And she is hoping that residents will give their support to this campaign and details will follow shortly on how you can get involved.
The broadcaster has announced that it will focus on a digital-first, multimedia strategy which will leave residents in Derby without a local service from 2 pm on weekdays or at the weekends.
But Amanda believes a sense of place in public services matters and that reducing the station to a two-shows-a-day satellite service will damage communities in Derbyshire and East Staffordshire which may rely on the station for news, companionship, and information.
She said: “I know that a local BBC presence is valued all year round, especially in times of local crisis – from weather emergencies to the COVID pandemic and elections. These are times when radio can never be replaced.
“BBC Radio Derby is a significant presence in community cohesion, charity promotion, debate, and discussion.
“Socially, not everybody is up to date with new technology and some people lack access to smartphones and high-speed broadband. They, therefore, value a live-stream broadcast like Radio Derby.
“BBC Radio Derby also trains and mentors new talent. With reduced services and less demand for local radio presenters, this will greatly impact the training of the next generation of top-flight journalists.
“I would urge any local listeners who feel, as I do, that the BBC is making a mistake, to share their thoughts with Tim Davie. At no time were listeners or staff consulted on this plan, and no evidence has been shown of any research into its effects and impact. So, we must make our voices heard and Keep Listening Local.”
Although BBC Radio Derby is to share weekday afternoon shows with Nottingham and Stoke the weekday morning schedule will remain the same, currently Andy Twigge is between 6 am and 10 am, before Ian Skye is on air from 10 am until 2 pm.
The three stations will share content produced for the four-hour slot, which is currently occupied by Sally Pepper in Derby, who has announced that she is leaving the BBC.
All 39 of the BBC's local stations in England have previously broadcast their own weekday afternoon programme, aired in the 2 pm to 6 pm slot. But this will soon reduce to 18, with Derby among those affected.
In the shared letter to the BBC’s director general, it says that there is no evidence to suggest that local radio services are being abandoned. In fact, according to the industry-recognised Radio Joint Audience Research (RAJAR) figures radio audiences are growing.
They say that more than 5.7m people listen to BBC local radio services, although this figure is much higher in times of emergency or large local occasions and BBC Radio Derby has a 10% share of listening in its market.
Amanda added: “There may be political differences amongst us, but we are united in our view that the BBC needs to reconsider the cuts to local BBC services that are valued and needed by our constituents.”