On Wednesday, 8 November, BBC local radio will be 50 years old. It is a tribute to presenters, listeners and friends that it has lasted that long. Sometimes it has seemed like it hasn’t had many friends in the top echelons of the BBC. It has long been eyed at with envy by commercial broadcasters and local newspapers, who don’t get a public subsidy. It has lasted so long because it reaches out to local communities as a friend.
I’m not one for celebrating birthdays. My own would pass me by if it did not pop up on Facebook. But I think it worth recording that my emailed Ludlow Newsletters today are three years old. My best estimate is that they are read by around 1,000 people.
That’s okay for a small town newsletter written by a small town councillor.
I love local radio and love Radio Shropshire. It’s my station of choice. It’s more than that – it’s a friend. And it has the highest local audience of all local BBC stations.
TV and national radio get successful by creating celebrities. The sort of people you’d take a selfie with.
Local radio is different.
Local radio is at its most successful when it builds a bond of friendship with local communities. The presenters who excel in local radio are those that listen to their audiences as well as talking to them. They craft their broadcasts not just around their own personalities but also their changing communities. They constantly reinvent local broadcasting without betraying the air of familiarity that makes BBC local radio feel so much like a treasured friend. Continue reading “Happy birthday to BBC Radio Shropshire – thirty years old today”