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Author Topic:  BBC Stoke, Listeners concerns.  (Read 25739 times)

Rita

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Re: BBC Stoke, Listeners concerns.
« Reply #15 on: June 28, 2014, 11:51:47 PM »
Hello Susie,  I am a listener to Radio Merseyside and there is interaction all the time with the presenters.  They give out their email address and the 'phone number and text number at the station all the time.  That is the reason why the station is such a success.  If I was a listener to Radio Stoke I'm afraid I would think why should I put up with it.  Join us at Radio Merseyside.  You would be very welcome and I'm sure you would enjoy most of the shows.

Northoftheborder

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Re: BBC Stoke, Listeners concerns.
« Reply #16 on: June 29, 2014, 02:43:02 PM »
Sound advice, as ever Rita. I took your advice too, and am so glad I did! Unfortunately listeners to BBC Stoke have had more than enough to put up with now - yet they've been offered NO choice, NO right of reply and NO opportunities to hold the radio station's decision-makers squarely to account. Another of those surreptitious schedule changes slipped quietly by, this weekend. It's almost as though Radio Stoke have no desire (or ability) to consult with their listeners, or is it simply a case of forcing yet another change upon an already massively disillusioned audience?
 
About a month ago, Stuart Ellis' name disappeared from the actual weekend schedules, available on-line. For some time now, he's presented 06:00 to 09:00, across the weekend, so the schedules would read: Saturday [or Sunday] Breakfast with Stuart Ellis. In the unique way that only BBC iPlayer can operate, they've managed to airbrush Stuart's name out of two years' worth of programming. However, you can still hear him - but with a little something else!

Yesterday marked an "interesting" presentational change, as "Saturday Breakfast" is now what broadcasters call a double-header. For the listener, this now means a great many chances to hear "I'm Stuart Ellis... and I'm Lucy McNamara" read out, at annoyingly frequent intervals. If you're brave enough to sample this for yourself, follow the links below:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0210ngp     http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0211r3x     

Is there a genuine necessity to have co-presentation at the weekend? Will this cost any more? Can it truly be afforded? Couldn't extra funding have been diverted instead, into the much-needed improvement of other weekend shows?

If funding is such an issue, then why can't Radio Stoke utilise the free (and highly creative) ideas that many of their audience - not just my sister-in-law - have tried to offer? Are there any substantive extra costs involved, in allowing listeners just a handful of weekend music requests? Or is there another, hidden agenda preventing Radio Stoke from allowing their audience to help improve what is currently well-below par musical output?

Looks like the questions are stacking up, doesn't it? Any chance of a BBC management response on the horizon? Or are you all too busy/lazy/scared to interact with a growing band of disgruntled listeners?

radiolad

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Re: BBC Stoke, Listeners concerns.
« Reply #17 on: June 30, 2014, 11:09:03 AM »
Another thrilling topic this morning - great local discussion from the BBC.

Stuart and Charlotte with you this morning wanting to know - where are you going on your holidays?

Northoftheborder

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Re: BBC Stoke, Listeners concerns.
« Reply #18 on: June 30, 2014, 01:41:52 PM »
Also at Radio Stoke,"The Watt" has had all weekend to concoct the following earth-shattering question: Have you ever had a life-sized cardboard cut-out (and what did you do with it)?

Coming hard on the heels of yesterday's "9:00 Connection", what links all these to Chuck Berry's record Johnny B. Goode? Shout To The Top (The Style Council), Rhinestone Cowboy (Glen Campbell) and Soak Up The Sun (Sheryl Crow). Apparently, they're all hats (?) I'll leave you to work that one out, or you can revisit yesterday's show... http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0211r41

It's "Radio With Personality" allegedly. Listen long enough, and you may just unearth the faintest glimmer of a pulse - if you're very, very patient.


                     

radiolad

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Re: BBC Stoke, Listeners concerns.
« Reply #19 on: June 30, 2014, 02:54:56 PM »
Sun hat, Cowboy hat, Top hat and Chuck hat?

Dennis Marshall

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Re: BBC Stoke, Listeners concerns.
« Reply #20 on: June 30, 2014, 04:50:08 PM »

...the last time Perry Spiller stood in on this show, it was genuinely terrible. Three hours, mostly spent talking about himself, with very few proper invitations for the audience to meaningfully take part. No invitations for them to e.mail him (and certainly no reminders of the e.mail address). But he couldn`t go more than ten minutes without reading something off Facebook.

But this time was even worse. No sign of Six songs in 6 Seconds. No reasons given for its absence. No promise of when (or if) it`ll come back. The last time Perry Spiller did this show, they had been doing a quiz (the weeks before) which had started when Paula got forced onto weekends. But when he was on, no sign of this game. No reason given for why it was missing. No promises made over when it would return. It never came back, and vanished into the same black hole that all the listener requests had. So you might understand why I`m not too convinced about Radio Stoke's honesty, over their once-unmissable Saturday show.

As if that wasn`t bad enough, most of the first hour was taken with Perry asking if anyone knew of any family-friendly eating places (for his own family to visit). As you can guess, it just ended up as one long, boring list of restaurants, mostly in Staffordshire. Is this really why we pay our licence fee, just to promote others`commercial business ventures?

This was a spectacularly poor piece of broadcasting, even by the low standards many of us (not just Susie) have grown accustomed to, when those dreaded words appear: "Perry Spiller sits in". Surprisingly so, when you consider that all but one of his years in broadcasting have been in the independent sector. It's natural to assume this 'experience' should have taught him to avoid giving free promotion to a string of commercial ventures, but perhaps it's too much to assume Radio Stoke's own production staff would possess enough experience to adequately steer him away from such an unwise topic.

To the many listeners who fondly remember how creative this programme's predecessor could often prove, this must mark a nadir in intelligent, credible programme content. Can local radio standards descend much lower than this? With all due repect, a 'below-par' Paula White was infinitely preferable to this lamentable performance.

I believe Susie's closing words summarise this dismal programme, quite eloquently:

Quote

I`ve heard some desparate excuses for taking part in local radio broadcasts, but this takes the biscuit. So selfish, and so very wrong. And all at our expense.

Northoftheborder

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Re: BBC Stoke, Listeners concerns.
« Reply #21 on: July 11, 2014, 05:45:03 PM »
Of course, it couldn't get much worse, could it? Surely not? Oh I don't know, Perry Spoiler came close to beating his own record, last week. While it looks fairly clear now, that I'm not the only listener to have identified Mr. Spiller's "reverse Midas touch", in that every show he touches turns to selfish, horrible, inane trash, even I was astounded when eventually catching this show on-line.

An equally lacklustre job was made (of the very same Saturday morning programme) not that long ago, as I noted back in January:

What inspired me to start this thread, was the abrupt manner in which a weekday presenter breezes in to cover an extra show - and somehow treats someone else's programme as if it was his own! Ten minutes in, and no sign of the regular "Den's Dilemmas" - and no explanation given. BTW that feature failed to return the following week - meaning they've now removed the last area where a few diehard listeners got to participate in the making of what used to be THEIR own show.

If a presenter takes over a show permanently, then I suppose we've to expect a few amendments to what went before. That may go some way to explaining why Perry Spiller won't accept e-mails to his own show - although it doesn't make it right, does it?

But when you're sitting in, on some one else's show, shouldn't you do things THEIR way - and not your own??

Seemingly not. July 5, and Perry Spiller ruined yet another Saturday morning show. Still no sign of the "Six Songs" game - and not even a hint of whether we'll ever hear it return. More than enough Facebook mentions - but not a clue as to whether we can e-mail.

While the show is undeniably a pale shadow of its superb former predecessor, hosted by Stuart George until January 2013, at least Den Siegertsz brought back a little of the "fun" we're promised, by reviving one of Stuart's old features, Six Songs In Six Seconds...

Maybe it's too much to expect that he'll ever allow us to do what Stuart always did, and contribute our own suggestions for this feature? My sister-in-law went to great trouble, trying to seek an explanation from Radio Stoke's management, but their arrogant, partial response barely scratched the surface of our dissatisfaction.

A dissatisfaction that it seems we're far from alone alone in experiencing. It's highly apparent that - almost six weeks after this thread was started - the promised response from BBC management has yet to materialise. Just how hard can it be??

I reckon that some 1200 views - and 20 or so replies - more than speak for themselves. It can only be sheer cowardice that has prevented Radio Stoke from providing a reasoned response, adequately explaining their total removal of all chances for listeners to request music, from this once-popular show. Burying heads deeper and deeper in the sand won't make this issue disappear, will it?

It cannot be official BBC policy, if the superior weekend output of Radio Merseyside is anything to go by? Neither can it be down to money, if Stoke can now afford to "double-head" BOTH weekend breakfast shows? Given that your programming is now so sub-standard, "out-of-area" listeners have now noticed, is there any sign of a meaningful management response on the horizon, please?


Northoftheborder

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Re: BBC Stoke, Listeners concerns.
« Reply #22 on: July 26, 2014, 02:43:23 PM »
Thanks Tiger, for approaching the BBC Trust's Alison Hastings, regarding Radio Stoke's systematic running-down of e-mailing. Although I referred to this issue earlier in this thread, in passing, I think Dennis already had it more than adequately nailed:
...my chief concern has to be the surreptitious conversion Radio Stoke has undergone recently. Barely two years ago, listeners still had a multitude of choices, if they wished to 'Be Part of It'. In subsequent months, a great many were either systematically abolished, or diluted to be little more than a frivolous excuse in self-publicity.

Prior to the change of management, listeners were still actively encouraged to email their contributions, with many presenters having a bespoke email address, such as paula.stoke@bbc.co.uk or stuart.stoke@bbc.co.uk etc. A similar arrangement existed for peak-time shows, i.e: breakfast.stoke@bbc.co.uk or drivetime.stoke@bbc.co.uk etc.

Again these gradually disappeared, to be replaced by a one-size-ought-to-fit-all studio.stoke@bbc.co.uk address. Although initially promoted, around a year ago, this seldom receives mention now, leading this observer to question why all emails appear to be routed toward a central production (or management) direction?
This seems to be unique to Radio Stoke, as far as I can see. Another comparison of Stoke v Liverpool is interesting - taking Sunday daytime for example none of Radio Stoke's presenters ever mention the existence of any form of e-mail contact. However, after three it's a networked show (Mike Wyer) across the Midlands, where - interestingly - Mike frequently mentions mike.w@bbc.co.uk !

Over at Radio Merseyside, each presenter will often give out their own bespoke BBC e-mail address. Perhaps more importantly, you don't have to listen too hard to notice that a fair proportion of Sunday morning contributions to Merseyside's shows are clearly announced as being sent via e-mail. It's something you'll seldom hear on Stoke. "Linda's been in touch" is vague and non-specific.

It's my considered opinion - plus many others I've spoken to - that Radio Stoke are deliberately marginalising the facility to e-mail.

Not only that, but the on-line listing is anything but clear. Clicking the section marked "contact" gives you: radio.stoke@bbc.co.uk
However - on those exceptionally rare occasions when they do want your e-mails - they always give out: studio.stoke@bbc.co.uk

These are incredibly rare occasions. Recently the Radio Stoke mid-morning show promised: "In The Hot Seat, Michael Jones - your chance to question the leader of Cheshire East Council". Around twenty minutes before this, Stoke's political editor appeared on the preceding show, to promote it. He implored us to ring in now and book your call, or you can e-mail us on studio.stoke@bbc.co.uk

When Perry Spiller came on air, it was a different story. In the first hour (before the phone-in) NO mention was ever made of the ability to e-mail. Similarly, during the phone-in, NO reminders of the e-mail address. I cannot recall hearing any e-mails read out.

The on-line billing reiterated that you could e-mail studio.stoke@bbc.co.uk. But the contact section sent you to radio.stoke@bbc.co.uk!

Confused? I am. No good e-mailing alison.hastings@bbc.co.uk. She never replied to what we sent.

radiolad

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Re: BBC Stoke, Listeners concerns.
« Reply #23 on: July 31, 2014, 02:21:34 PM »
Latest listening figures show number of listeners and total hours listened are the worst Stoke have had for the last 6 years.

Tiger

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Re: BBC Stoke, Listeners concerns.
« Reply #24 on: July 31, 2014, 09:32:55 PM »
Absolutely!

3 Counties and Stoke are showing shocking losses.

It is no coincidence that these are the 2 stations that have been flagged on this Forum as problems.

I hope that Alison Hastings, Laura Moss and Gary Andrews are feeling ashamed, and might now consider it proper conduct to answer emails correctly. Either way this is now a matter for David Holdsworth. perhaps he can explain why Laura Moss and Gary Andrews have ignored emails flagging concern.

Northoftheborder

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Re: BBC Stoke, Listeners concerns.
« Reply #25 on: August 01, 2014, 05:49:48 PM »
Today, James Watt was talking nonsense. Maybe that'll surprise few followers of this forum, but in actual fact Radio Stoke's afternoon host was asking his listeners to suggest songs containing "nonsense" lyrics. In itself, it was a fairly innocuous little topic, but it's a good description of why more and more listeners - who were previously loyal - seem to be thinking twice before tuning in.

James Watt (and anyone who actually admits to producing his six shows each week) ought to take a long, hard look at what they're offering in the name of "local" radio - and audience participation. In particular, why can't his weekend audience contribute music?

Six months ago, Radio Stoke management quietly removed the monthly Sunday programme "Your Hymn Requests" as part of some subtle schedule shifting involved in allowing us an extra three hours of James Watt - on top of five weekday afternoon appearances.

In its place, each Sunday morning now brings another dull, uninspired "James Watt Connection". Although my sister-in-law politely e-mailed the station's Managing Editor, asking if listeners could send their own (and including her own inventive idea) she didn't get too much joy.

Rather than force-feeding listeners a limited diet of material, that they think will appeal to them, why doesn't Radio Stoke allow listeners to submit their own suggestions to this feature? If the past month is anything to go by, that creative input is so desperately needed...

Rustey .

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Re: BBC Stoke, Listeners concerns.
« Reply #26 on: August 10, 2014, 06:25:50 PM »
Theres plenty of other nonsense still being broadcast on Radio Stoke. Sorry I never got round to posting anything on this proper thread (until now) but there was a reason! And not a month long holiday like their station boss either - I was quite poorly over the last three months. Not fully out of the woods yet - but I am trying to catch up with all the hard work Northoftheborder and others have been doing. I hope no one thinks it unfair if I highlight one name - but North seems like a very fair lady. Not someone selfish (just in it for themself) but a person who sees much more of the picture - and can also sense the damage already done by others. Is it OK if I remind you of (part of) something she posted on another thread?


Saturday broadcasting may well have escaped "peak" classification, so has no protection from management meddling, but it's an out-of-touch, foolish editor who starts tinkering with popular, well-established formats, desperately attempting to further their own career. Brownie points possibly, but listener satisfaction? A definite, resounding 100% no...
 
Anyone who doesn't understand that simple concept isn't fit for purpose, when it comes to deciding where to trim BBC local radio's budget. Far better instead to take a long, hard look at the so-called "performance" of your managers instead, as this is an area well overdue for reform. Looks like "too many chiefs, not enough indians" from where I'm listening (if that phrase is still acceptable)?

No wonder managers cowardly hide behind vague wording and woolly answers. As someone else said, they can't defend the indefensible, can they?

The last line cheered me up (when I was still a bit unwell) because I think she quoted me! But its such a really important point if you think about it. Is the real reason these managers do not want to reply - because they do not have any honest answers? Or any proper excuses for their rudeness (of not replying)? If any of them are about to return from their long summer break I hope the time away has done them good. Perhaps it gave them some space to think - about just how unfairly they treated all the listeners they inherited when they took the job on.

Because something is crystal clear - so many of those listeners have now deserted them over the last couple of years. It will be very interesting to see what these managers (and their bosses) have to say for themselves now. Actually this is not just about Radio Stoke - as it looks like other stations did even worse. Thats plenty to go on with for now - but I would like to remind everyone of the last few words I wrote for you (before I was poorly)


If you think its not that important whether local radio listeners can request music then fair enough - you are entitled to that opinion. Perhaps there are more important things going on in the world? But you ought to think very carefully about this - local radio should be just that. Serving their local audience - as they can do that so much better than any national station ever can. Or they ought to - wheres the harm in requesting one or two pieces of music every now and again? When I saw that the Managing Editor had told Northoftheborder that his idea of the 9.00 Connection was not to request music (but just to guess the link) it became so obvious that Radio Stoke do not care one bit what their listeners want to hear. So why is that? When I read all the lengths she had gone to (plus what Dennis wrote last week) it just looks more and more like they are running scared of an audience who clearly know far much more about music - than they do! As theres quite a few of us out there perhaps Radio Stoke really ought to start worrying - can it be possible to suppress that many listeners? The most clever of you can work out the last link (in the chain my friend built) while you think about this:

Just ten months after it was quietly got rid of - Radio Stoke have brought back Six Songs In Six Seconds (without a running theme) but still on a Saturday morning. Maybe only James Watt is thought to be clever enough to link music together? As it was just days after they arranged for someone from BBC Complaints to tell my friend that he could not directly contact anyone at Radio Stoke - he has no efficient way of finding out if listeners will be allowed to send in their own ideas. So perhaps it would be more use retuning to another BBC local radio station instead - as all the other ones in our area still let their audience Be Part Of It (and do not bully their listeners).

Tiger

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Re: BBC Stoke, Listeners concerns.
« Reply #27 on: August 12, 2014, 09:22:53 PM »
I have had a reply from Gary Andrews, regarding listener complaint to him. The reply is here. And the chain.

Dear Tamsin,
Sorry for the delay in replying, I have been away on leave. I am not aware of any listener complaints to BBC Radio Stoke that remain unanswered or unaddressed.

An exception to this would be the occasional situation where we will have already responded on a number of occasions about the same issue and we then consider the matter resolved. If the individual continues to correspond on the same subject we would let them know that that we consider the matter closed.

It is untrue to say we exclude email contributions, however - as with all contributions- we exercise editorial judgement and don't always use them on-air.
Sincerely,
Gary Andrews

_________________________________

Dear Gary Andrews,

I would appreciate your comments.


You advised me previously that you were happy to respond to personal
complaints made by BBC Stoke listeners. I have been informed that those
complaints remain unanswered and unaddressed. That is of concern.


Therefore, I request that you explain why listeners to BBC Stoke have been
unable to contribute to live interactive programs by email.


I expect a full answer, that explains editorial policy to exclude some
contribution by email. And if that is not possible a reason to be given.


BBC local radio must fulfill it's duty as a public service broadcaster and
that includes providing an interactive forum.


Thankyou for your time and care in this ,


Tamsin Vincent

BBC Radio Forum

http://www.bbclocalradioforum.co.uk/index.php


****************************************************





Northoftheborder

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Re: BBC Stoke, Listeners concerns.
« Reply #28 on: August 13, 2014, 04:49:57 PM »
...Is the real reason these managers do not want to reply - because they do not have any honest answers? Or any proper excuses for their rudeness (of not replying)? If any of them are about to return from their long summer break I hope the time away has done them good. Perhaps it gave them some space to think - about just how unfairly they treated all the listeners they inherited when they took the job on...

Thanks for the kind words, Rustey, and welcome back! I hope you're on the mend now, my love. Since you posted that, we've got our eventual reply from Gary Andrews. Let's take a closer look, at a couple of things:


...I am not aware of any listener complaints to BBC Radio Stoke that remain unanswered or unaddressed...

Hmmm. On the first occasion my sister-in-law directly e-mailed Gary Andrews, she was accused of contacting the station "numerous" times. In addition, her questions weren't exactly answered fully, either! Which is interesting, viewed in the context of the Managing Editor's own words:

Quote
An exception to this would be the occasional situation where we will have already responded on a number of occasions about the same issue and we then consider the matter resolved. If the individual continues to correspond on the same subject we would let them know that that we consider the matter closed.

It is untrue to say we exclude email contributions, however - as with all contributions- we exercise editorial judgement and don't always use them on-air.

Therefore, you don't me to tell you that Radio Stoke are obviously only answering half the question, aren't they? Then - when you re-approach them - they are using the old "matter is now closed" routine.

Unfortunately, it IS true to say that e-mailing is being marginalised.

Dennis Marshall

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Re: BBC Stoke, Listeners concerns.
« Reply #29 on: August 14, 2014, 05:44:27 PM »
Sorry for the delay in replying, I have been away on leave. I am not aware of any listener complaints to BBC Radio Stoke that remain unanswered or unaddressed.

That, I am afraid, is very much open to interpretation. Personally, I have yet to receive a reply to my complaint lodged with BBC Audience Services at the end of May. I questioned why so many basic errors continued to occur so frequently, during Radio Stoke's day-to-day output, also asking why their coverage of parts of South Cheshire is either non-existent, or wildly inaccurate. All I have received to date is an off-the-shelf, semi-automated reply from BBC Complaints, dated June 14th, stating:

"...we believe it may now take more than 20 working days before you receive our reply..."

Additionally, a former work colleague approached me some months ago, with differing concerns about Radio Stoke's attitude to their listeners. As Andrews' has persistently kept a cowardly low profile, she had no option but to also approach BBC Audience Services, early in May. To date, this issue has not been responded to, save for the obligatory:

Thanks for recently contacting the BBC. We aim to reply to complaints within 10 working days (around 2 weeks) and do so for most of them but cannot for all. The time taken depends on the nature of your complaint, how many others we are dealing with and can also be affected by practical issues such as whether a production team is available or away on location.

This is to let you know that we have referred your complaint to the relevant staff but that it may take longer than 10 working days to reply. We therefore ask you not to contact us further in the meantime. If it does prove necessary however, please use our webform, quoting any reference number we provided. This is an automatic email sent from an account which is not monitored so you cannot reply to this email address.


Between us, we can only speculate that there is an exceptionally large volume of complaints (regarding Radio Stoke) to be dealt with. Whilst a manager's month-long holiday has not helped, both our complaints were lodged long before that holiday commenced.


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