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Topics - Rita

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BBC Management & BBC Trust / BBC licence fee must be axed
« on: January 17, 2016, 03:21:52 PM »
Seen in a national paper today :

"A petition backed by 170,000 people calling for the BBC licence fee to be axed  is to be presented to Parliament this week.
Conservative MP Andrew Bridgen , who has been leading the campaign to decriminalise non-payment of the fee, is expected to present the petition on Wednesday.
The Department for Culture, Media and Sport recently completed its review of the BBC Charter.
The petition urges the department to end the fee  because it says it discriminates against low-income families and gives an unfair advantage to one broadcaster.
The BBC charter expires at the end of this year".

I don't know if any members of the Forum listened to Radio Merseyside over the Christmas/New Year period?  If not there were quite a number of shows worthy of note and excellence, which would be worth listening again to on the BBCiPlayer.  Programmes presented by Roger Lyon on 25th December (11.00 a.m. - 2.00 p.m); 26th December (11.00 a.m. - 2.30 p.m); 28th December (11.00 a.m. - 2.30 p.m); and 1st January 2016 (9.00 a.m. - 12 noon) were all excellent for various reasons, e.g. the guests and the chance for some listeners on Christmas Day to hear greetings from family members overseas.  It would take me far too long to mention the highlights for me.   Another presenter, Frankie Connor also presented some wonderful shows on 27th December (11.00 a.m. - 2.00 p.m); 28th December (8.00 a.m. - 11.00 a.m); 1st January 2016 (12 noon - 3.00 p.m); and 3rd January 2016 (11.00 a.m. - 2.00 p.m).  There was also a BBC Merseyside special from 6.00 p.m. - 7.00 p.m. on 28th December "Remembering Cilla" which may be of interest.
It's so long since I've written anything on the Forum, that I've quite got out of the habit, so apologies for anything I've missed.  Perhaps if there is anything that would interest you on Radio Merseyside, you could go to the schedules for more information.
Happy New Year to you all.  Hope 2016 proves to be a happy, healthy, peaceful and prosperous one for you all.

BBC Local Radio Board / Radio Merseyside
« on: October 26, 2015, 01:41:34 PM »
On the 'phone-in on Radio Merseyside today, the first hour and a half was dealing with questions from the listeners to Sue Owen, Managing Editor, Aziz Rajid, her boss and Roger Phillips, the presenter, about the BBC generally.  It was a good programme and a lot of the listeners had the opportunity to be "on air" and convey their thoughts and feelings.  Worth a listen.

Some programmes on Radio Merseyside over the Bank Holiday Weekend are as follows:-

Saturday 29 August: Roger Lyon (11.00 a.m. - 2.00 p.m.); Sunday 30 August: Frankie Connor (11.00 a.m. - 2.00 p.m.); Monday 31 August: Nick Robins (7.00 a.m. - 10.00 a.m.); Roger Lyon (10.00 a.m. - 1.00 p.m.); Frankie Connor (1.00 p.m. - 4.00 p.m.); Ian Kennedy (4.00 p.m. - 7.00 p.m.); Radio Merseyside Special - The Beatles.

Take the opportunity to "tune in" - I am sure you will enjoy them!

BBC Local Radio Board / RAJAR
« on: August 05, 2015, 08:02:54 AM »
RAJAR figures for local radio out today.  I wonder how all the stations will have fared?
Hope people have filled out, either on-line or paper copy the questionnaires from the BBC Trust re: local radio.  Is budgets mustn't be cut any further, but I'm not holding my breath!

Seen in a national newspaper today:

"BBC TV boss Danny Cohen was facing calls last night for his resignation after claims he broke rules over a letter which backed a campaign to save the corporation from cuts.
Two of those who signed the protest letter to David Cameron - comedian and travel presenter Michael Palin and Radio 1 broadcaster Annie Nightingale - have revealed that Mr. Cohen was involved in organising it.
The letter was published the day before the Government brought out a Green paper on the future of the BBC.
Mr. Cohen is accused of breaching the corporation's lobbying guidelines.
Twenty-nine of the BBC's top stars signed it, including Sir David Attenborough, Dame Judi Dench, Gary Lineker, Stephen Fry, Chris Evans and Clare Balding.
Daniel Craig and Rachel Weisz, who both signed, were guests at Mr. Cohen's wedding, and he is on the board of trustees of a children's charity run by JK Rowling, who also signed the letter.
Insiders at Westminster say the affair has "raised eyebrows" at the Department for Culture Media and Sport, which is about to embark on negotiations on renewing the BBC's charter.
Tory MP Andrew Bridgend, who has been leading a campaign to decriminalise non-payment of the licence fee, said: "Danny Cohen should consider his position.  Unless he resigns I shall be writing to Jesse Norman, chairman of the Culture Media and Sports Committee, on Monday, asking him to call Mr. Cohen before the committee to answer questions about his role in the shabby affair and to find out why he pursued a course of action that is in breach of the BBC's own lobbying guidelines.
"By rights, the BBC Trust should already be investigating".
The BBC last night denied any wrongdoing.  A spokeswoman said: "The signatories are people who clearly want to speak up for the BBC.  The letter is from the signatories.  It speaks for itself.  They  have their own strong views".
The BBC Trust, which looks after the interests of licence fee payers, also brushed the issue aside.  Asked if the Trust would investigate the letter, a spokeswoman said "The genesis of this letter is not a matter for the BBC Trust".
Mr. Cohen, director of BBC programmes, fell out recently with director general Tony Hall over the Jeremy Clarkson affair, which led to the Top Gear presenter's exit.
In his newspaper column, Clarkson said he still believed the BBC was a "great organisation" but added "It would be even better if it was run properly and right now, thanks to one or two people at the top, it isn't".
Mr. Cohen has also angered  many independent producers by the controversial decision to move BBC3 to online only.  It emerged yesterday that the BBC has trialled a blackout of its programmes, described by presenter Graham Norton as a "deprivation test".
In the trial, a group had their BBC service cut off for a fortnight.  By the end, said Norton, everyone - including those critical of the licence fee - said they would be happy to pay it".

I tuned in to the show last night on my iPad as I used to enjoy Duncan's shows when he presented on "City Talk" in Liverpool for a while.  Must say I found it thoroughly entertaining and it was lovely to hear some music once in a while.  I hope it is a successful time for him; he is an excellent broadcaster and interviewer.

Seen in a national paper today:-

"More than 100 BBC bosses still earn six-figure salaries, despite the promise to offer viewers better value for money, it was revealed last night.
New figures show 103 executives are pocketing more than the Prime Minister in taxpayer-funded remuneration.
Top earners include news and current affairs chief James Harding, TV boss Danny Cohen and creative director Alan Yentob.  A dossier on pay and perks show Mr. Harding, 45, gets 340,000 and Mr. Cohen, 41, 327,800.
Staff veteran Mr. Yentob, 68, has a roving brief and earns 183,300 with separate fees for presenting occasional programmes.
Director-general Lord Hall, 64, who promised to streamline the broadcaster, is paid 450,000.  By contrast  Mr. Cameron, 48, is paid 142,500.
The figures were published yesterday as part of a quarterly schedule.
John O'Connell of the Taxpayers' Alliance, said, "We've heard welcome words from the BBC about cracking down on pay at the top, but it seems that it really is just words. The 145 a year TV tax is a big hit on family budgets and revelations like these will do little to address its increasing unpopularity".
Lord Hall said when he took over in 2013 the BBC was "careless" with money but viewers had never had it so good.
He singled out Strictly Come Dancing, Doctor Who, Call The Midwife and Top Of The Lake as examples of the BBC's unrivalled output.  In a passionate speech he said: "Twenty years ago the licence fee was over 147 in today's money - now it's a bit lower.  But look what you get.  To use a Hollywood term, people can see the money on the screen".
The licence fee is frozen at 145.50 until 2017 when the BBC's Charter is up for renewal but stars have been vociferous in their criticism of bloated salaries.
Sir David Attenborough, 89, said senior pay was a "huge embarrassment" while Absolutely Fabulous star Jennifer Saunders, 56, said the BBC was "an executive-run place for idiots".
The BBC last night insisted it offers "outstanding value".  A spokesman said: "For just 2.80 a week the BBC provides great value to licence fee payers.  By 2016 we'll be saving 1.5 billion a year, and more than 90 per cent of the money we control is spent on what matters most, the content and services audiences love.  There are essential costs incurred in the running of a major broadcasting organisation which will always fluctuate, but we are mindful we are spending public money".
In an Opinions column  in the same paper:

BBC pay invites criticism

"Details have been released of the pay given to BBC bosses. It is staggering that an organisation funded by a compulsory licence fee is willing to give away salaries in excess of 300,000.
The BBC's Charter is up for renewal next year and serious questions are already being raised about the future of the licence fee.
Furthermore, the new Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, John Whittingdale, is certainly no friend of the corporation.
With growing numbers of people choosing to watch programmes online instead of buying a television set and a Government committed to supporting restrained spending, the BBC faces uncertain times.
Giving so much money to its managers is hardly going to win over critics who regard it as wasteful and bureaucratic".

Radio 4 / "Cut out the shouting"
« on: May 12, 2015, 01:26:37 PM »
Seen in the letters page of a national newspaper last Sunday:-

"Cut out the shouting"

As a regular listener to BBC Radio 4, there is nothing I enjoy more than a sensible argument or discussion on the airwaves.
However, there have been occasions when the chairmen of some programmes appear to lose control of the panel members, with the result that the listener hears nothing but a cacophony of voices, as those taking part descend into a verbal shouting match, none of which is the slightest bit intelligible.
This situation may possibly be acceptable on the television as those involved in the fracas bounce up and down gesticulating wildly but making no logical sense, however providing a certain amount of unintentional comedy.
Unfortunately, on the radio it provides nothing in the way of an intelligent answer or even comic relief for the listener.
Surely the producer should have the sense to instruct the chairman to control the panel.
Would the producers of such programmes also instruct the interviewers and chairmen to stop interrupting with their views and allow the listener, or viewer, to hear the point of view of the person being interviewed, or the views of the panel?
Let us remember the words of William Shakespeare: "The empty vessel makes the greatest sound".

I can sympathise with the letter writer.  Even on local radio, the screeching, hysterical laughter and talking over one another becomes distracting, and annoying.  Bearing this in mind, I use the "off" button or don't switch on at all.  It is more irritating when it comes at a time of evening when all you want to do is relax and all I want to do is throw the radio through the window!

BBC Local Radio Board / Local radio over the weekend
« on: May 04, 2015, 11:25:07 PM »
A few programmes that have been broadcast over the weekend on Radio Merseyside that I could recommend for you to listen to on the BBC iPlayer.
Monday 4th May
From 9.00 a.m. - 12 noon "Merseyside Special" presented by Frankie Connor
From 4.00 p.m. - 6.30 p.m. Programme of music presented by Nick Robins
I can thoroughly recommend both of them to you.  Well worth a listen.

BBC Management & BBC Trust / SNP's 100m licence fee demand
« on: April 27, 2015, 11:16:01 AM »
Seen in a national newspaper yesterday (Sunday) :-

"Television licence fee payers could soon be stumping up millions of pounds for more Scottish-made programmes on the BBC, putting pressure on the 145 annual fee.
SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon is demanding another 100 million funding from the BBC, for what are described as "short-bread tin" programmes.  Her plans for the BBC could also result in the creation of a second BBC Trust, north of the border.
She said "I think BBC Scotland should have a fairer share of the licence fee to ensure the best programming".  However she wants the licence fee to remain at the same level: "When so many are struggling it would be wrong to ask people to pay more", she said.
But insiders believe the SNP demand in the manifesto for "investment in Scotland's creative sector" could mean an increase in the overall licence fee, set at 145 a year until March next year.
One of its other manifesto ideas is that any "replacement system" for the fee, "should be based on the ability to pay", or a means test.
Andrew Allison, from the Axe The Tax campaign, said: "The extra 100 million will have to come from somewhere, so that's either an increase in the licence fee, or at the expense of the English.  I can't see the SNP being bothered either way.
"I can also see that the SNP will want to dole out free TV licences to those who prefer to spend their days drinking pints of Heavy.  I guess they will screw over England taxpayers for that money, too!".
Charter renewal negotiations will begin after the General Election.
The SNP also say they want a "substantial role" in shaping the next BBC Charter, which expires in December 2016.
Former Channel 5 chief executive, David Elstein, believes the SNP "would bid strongly for broadcasting to become a devolved matter.  This would mean that editorial control of BBC output north of the border would reside in Edinburgh, not London.  It would also mean that BBC Scotland would have its own version of the BBC Trust locally appointed by the Scottish government".
The BBC said it "didn't comment on election pledges".
An SNP spokesman said it "supports Scotland receiving a fairer share of the revenues received from the licence fee, to more accurately reflect the level of revenue raised here, allowing an investment of 100 million in its creative sector".

BBC Local Radio Board / Seen in a Sunday Newspaper 1st March
« on: March 02, 2015, 12:12:36 PM »
"Crisis at the BBC is a headline seen so often it's almost on a par with "Greek euro crisis" or "Politicians quits in dodgy dealing storm".  However, how else are we to judge the view of a panel of MPs  who have signalled the possible end of the TV licence fee and the prospect of a smidgen of commercialisation being forced on the state-ist BBC?  Try to explain to anyone anywhere else in the word why we have to pay 145.50 a year to an organisation for the right to listen to radio shows or watch TV programmes they neither make nor broadcast and they think you've been on the meths. Add in the juicy detail you are jailed if you don't pay and they think we are living in Stalinist Russia.  The reality is the BBC hasn't just been drinking in the last chance saloon, it's had the last packet of pork scratchings and is standing in the rain having missed the last bus home.  When the self-serving, sinecure-loving pack of jackals who are more commonly known as our elected MPs cotton on to the fact that your time is up, you know you're in trouble.  Paying a clueless ex-boss 475,000 for 54 days' work, sending 300 staff to cover Glastonbury or spending 10 million on external legal advice after the Jimmy Savile scandal broke despite having 58 lawyers on the books who earn 4.2 million in total, is unacceptable in anyone's language.  They were even "at it" on the day Jihadi John's  identity was revealed.  Their news bulletin was led with the line, "The BBC has learnt the identity of the man known as Jihadi John".  No, you blooming well didn't.  It was the Washington Post.  So, as we journalists are wont to say, get your facts right".
Also in the same papers letters page:
"BBC must cut waste"
"I heartily agree that the BBC should be made to account for every penny ("BBC told: Cut waste or lose licence fee", February 22).  It wastes too much money and pays so-called celebrities excessive salaries, plus we are subjected to many repeated programmes and a service which deteriorates yearly and is becoming more politically biased.  However, I do feel it's rather like the kettle calling the pan when MPs criticise over-spending.  They too should also be obliged to account for every penny they spend on "expenses", as should the people who handle the billions in overseas aid.  We the public have contributed every penny they spend and are entitled to be informed where it goes".

BBC Local Radio Board / BBC Merseyside Christmas/New Year Period on Local Radio
« on: January 01, 2015, 05:04:28 PM »
There have been some excellent programmes over the Christmas/New Year Period.  Obviously I have not listened to every single thing, but certain programmes have been worthy of note.  On Boxing Day, Roger Lyon spoke to his mum in Australia, which was very entertaining and a lot of fun; On the Saturday, he had, as his guests, Charlie Landsborough, a famous country singer from the Wirral and Peter Grant; that too was very enjoyable and light-hearted, and, in between of course, lots of excellent music was played.  Nick Robins, another excellent presenter, entertained us with his brand of music on Christmas Day, Saturday 27th and he was "standing in" for another presenter on the 28th.  Frankie Connor has also presented some superb shows, including one today (New Year's Day) when he played "cover versions" of songs recorded by the Beatles.  Last Saturday at 5.00 p.m. Roger Phillips interviewed Ken Dodd, the Liverpool comedian who has clocked up 60 years in show-business and is still going - that was very interesting and informative.
One of the good things about Radio Merseyside is their on-going policy of letting the listeners "BE PART OF IT".  You are allowed to 'phone-in, text, e-mail or even write in and request songs etc., or answer trivia questions put to you by the presenter.  If they haven't got the particular piece of music you want, most presenters bend over backwards to find it and play it on their next show or pass it on to another presenter to play it on their show.
I feel for the poor listeners at Stoke who are not given this privilege - I don't know if there are any other stations that are the same.  I can understand how frustrating and irritating it must be not to even get an acknowledgement of their complaints, let alone sort them out.
As Frankie Connor always says "Our output is your input"  which is perfectly true and that is why Radio Merseyside is the most listened to local station outside of London.  I have never had any great problem in contacting people at the station (there is an exception to that) and that includes Sue Owen who tries to be as honest as possible when she replies to my emails - and there are not many she has not replied to.
I am afraid that if I were a listener in Stoke, I would find another station that more fits my needs.
Finally I was out on New Year's Eve, so did not get the opportunity to listen to Tony Blackburn, who was standing in for the dire Mark Forrest in the "All England Show" - but I would hazard a guess that the show was 100% + better than the norm.
Happy New Year to all the contributors to this very informative Forum.  I wish you all a very happy, healthy, peaceful and prosperous 2015 - and also that there will be some improvement to local radio services - which would include the axing of the "All England Show" and let local stations do what they do so well - with local presenters.

BBC Local Radio Board / Tony Blackburn
« on: December 21, 2014, 09:27:48 AM »
I have just been looking on the schedules for local radio and am pleased to say that Tony Blackburn will be "standing in" for Mark Forrest on New Year's Eve.  Unfortunately I myself will be out, but Tony will make a welcome change from the utterly boring Mark Forrest.  I wonder though if this is a "ploy" to attract more listeners and bring the ratings up for this show? I also wonder how much longer will this "All England Show" be allowed to continue, because, as we all know, it has been a disaster for local radio and it is about time that it is removed for good and local presenters from each region will be allowed back "on air" at this time who know about their own region.  I believe this is what the listeners want!

Radio 2 / Evans gets more listeners
« on: July 31, 2014, 09:37:28 PM »
Radio 2 breakfast host Chris Evans has hit another audience high, with a new record number of listeners to his show.
The 48-year-old now pulls in 9.91 million  each week, giving his show the biggest audience recorded since the current measurement methods were launched 15 years ago.

Seen in a local newspaper today.  Chris certainly must be doing something right.  It is an achievement to be proud of and personally, I find his show very entertaining and he plays some excellent music, so good luck to him I say!

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