BBC radio stations to produce fewer local programmes as focus shifts to online news

The BBC is increasing the amount of shared programmes across its local radio stations to provide 'greater value'. Credit: ITV Channel

The BBC's local radio stations in England and the Channel Islands are set to broadcast fewer local programmes as part of cost-cutting plans to 're-shape' the corporation's output.

The changes, which affect all 39 BBC local stations across the British Isles, are set to be rolled out over the coming months, with the transition completed by the end of 2023.

It comes after the UK's former Culture Secretary, Nadine Dorries, announced the television licence fee will be frozen for two years.

139 jobs are being cut across the corporation's audio business, but some existing radio staff are expected to be re-trained as online journalists to fill 131 new roles created across the regions. Overall, 48 jobs will be lost.

When the changes come into effect, each BBC local radio station will only produce breakfast (6-10am) and lunchtime (10am-2pm) programmes from its area.

18 afternoon shows (2-6pm) will be shared across larger areas. Most evening and weekend shows will be shared across six larger regions:

  • North West & North East

  • Yorkshire & Lincolnshire

  • Midlands

  • London & East

  • South

  • South West

However, the BBC says local live sports coverage will be preserved.

Staff were informed of the changes in a briefing at 2:30pm on Monday 31 October 2022.

Rhodri Talfan Davies, the BBC's Director of Nations, explains why the changes are being made:

"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."