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Author Topic:  Are BBC Managers "able" to answer simple questions?  (Read 10502 times)

Northoftheborder

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Are BBC Managers "able" to answer simple questions?
« on: August 18, 2014, 05:25:04 PM »
Perhaps you could term these the three "As"? Let's take a closer look at what it might mean!

Firstly, are you truly approachable? Some claimed they were "happy to hear our concerns, directly" to this Forum, but the fact that we ever had to ask (where to turn to) kind of speaks volumes! That we had to ask an outside body is cause for some concern, isn't it?

Secondly, are you amenable? It's one thing making the bold claim that you'll hear listeners' concerns, but experience has shown that those concerns aren't really listened to! It's almost like we don't have any genuine say in a service that we all pay towards.

Most importantly, are you truly accountable? BBC local radio, in particular, operates under a Service Licence that pledges to hold key decision-makers to account, but seems highly reluctant to ever allow us - the licence-fee paying stakeholders - to hold any of those making ground-changing local radio decisions properly to account.

Listeners could be forgiven for coming to the conclusion that the majority of these decisions are all "done deals" that cannot ever be questioned - never mind reversed! Standards seem to vary enormously from station to station, so have you any thoughts on this?

Rita

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Re: Are BBC Managers "able" to answer simple questions?
« Reply #1 on: August 18, 2014, 10:53:01 PM »
Hi again Northoftheborder,
As far as the Management of Radio Merseyside are concerned, I have always found them to be very approachable.  Over the years I have spent listening to the station (not that many by some listeners standards), I have sent in many emails to the station management, and the vast majority of them have been answered, though not always what I have wanted to hear.
I think they are amenable and do take concerns on board (and they have been very aware of mine).  But, I of course am not the only listener and all listeners have their own views about programmes and presenters, so with the best will in the world, they can't please us all, all of the time.  They do however make some changes and I suppose that depends on how much "feedback" they get and, of course, they have to accept the "All England Show", even though in this area I believe they have lost 30% of their listeners.  This was a decision taken out of their hands of course by the "top management" and there is little or nothing they can do about that, so I would say that is one of the "done deals" you are referring to.
I don't really know about the accountable part - at the end of the day, management in all walks of life generally make all kinds of decisions we don't particularly agree with, but have to go along with them despite our misgivings.
As you say, standards vary enormously from station to station, but I can only comment about the one I am familiar with.

Northoftheborder

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Re: Are BBC Managers "able" to answer simple questions?
« Reply #2 on: June 14, 2015, 02:55:22 PM »
Hopefully one of the BBC's senior regional managers will be able to answer a question (or two) later this week, as Radio Stoke have just started to promote this Tuesday's Perry Spiller mid-morning show.

Head of BBC West Midlands, David Jennings will be taking your calls and questions from 10:00 that morning. Let's hope they've allotted plenty of time - this is the first occasion I can recall a Head of Region appearing on Radio Stoke, in over four years!

The programme trail advises that listeners can also e-mail Radio Stoke with their questions. Strangely they've given out yet another e-mail address - this time it's: reception.stoke@bbc.co.uk - not one that's normally used in connection with phone-ins.

I hope this show proves better than earlier efforts, as previous "In The Hot Seat" outings have been patchy, with a curiously excessive amount of time spent on introducing the particular guest - thus reducing the actual amount of questioning time!

On a couple of occasions, the on-line programme billing has advised listeners they can e-mail one of these "Hot Seat" shows, however no on-air mentions were ever made of the facility to e-mail - and no e-mails ever appeared to get read out! Strange that, but maybe it explains why NONE of my sister-in-law's e-mails - to any of Perry Spiller's shows - have yet been successful.

So I sincerely hope this show will prove to be somewhat more all-inclusive, than the majority of Radio Stoke's recent offerings.

Let's just hope Mr Jennings isn't overwhelmed, by a huge volume of correspondence. That goes some way to explaining why I've not posted this on the "Radio Stoke Listeners' Concerns" thread. You'll know the one, with just shy of 10,000 views...

darcysarto

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Re: Are BBC Managers "able" to answer simple questions?
« Reply #3 on: June 15, 2015, 07:46:07 PM »
Hopefully one of the BBC's senior regional managers will be able to answer a question (or two) later this week, as Radio Stoke have just started to promote this Tuesday's Perry Spiller mid-morning show.

Head of BBC West Midlands, David Jennings will be taking your calls and questions from 10:00 that morning. Let's hope they've allotted plenty of time - this is the first occasion I can recall a Head of Region appearing on Radio Stoke, in over four years!

The programme trail advises that listeners can also e-mail Radio Stoke with their questions. Strangely they've given out yet another e-mail address - this time it's: reception.stoke@bbc.co.uk - not one that's normally used in connection with phone-ins.

I hope this show proves better than earlier efforts, as previous "In The Hot Seat" outings have been patchy, with a curiously excessive amount of time spent on introducing the particular guest - thus reducing the actual amount of questioning time!

On a couple of occasions, the on-line programme billing has advised listeners they can e-mail one of these "Hot Seat" shows, however no on-air mentions were ever made of the facility to e-mail - and no e-mails ever appeared to get read out! Strange that, but maybe it explains why NONE of my sister-in-law's e-mails - to any of Perry Spiller's shows - have yet been successful.

So I sincerely hope this show will prove to be somewhat more all-inclusive, than the majority of Radio Stoke's recent offerings.

Let's just hope Mr Jennings isn't overwhelmed, by a huge volume of correspondence. That goes some way to explaining why I've not posted this on the "Radio Stoke Listeners' Concerns" thread. You'll know the one, with just shy of 10,000 views...


Well good luck getting a question answered North.  I would love to predict an open engaging debate in which the listener and radio is the winner and everyone has wonderful listening ever after.

However I will gaze into my crystal ball and predict that the same old issues and bugbears will be aired and not a single thing will change... let us know how it goes, if I get chance I will tune my dial to Staffs..

Northoftheborder

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Re: Are BBC Managers "able" to answer simple questions?
« Reply #4 on: June 16, 2015, 08:00:32 AM »
Yes indeed, Darcy! If it's any help to you, this is the link to the show's webpage: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02swb5m

What someone once delightfully referred to as "Team Northoftheborder" got together at the weekend and composed an e-mail which was sent directly to Mr Jennings yesterday. We'll let you know how things "progress" but for heaven's sake, don't hold your breath!!

Dennis Marshall

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Re: Are BBC Managers "able" to answer simple questions?
« Reply #5 on: June 16, 2015, 12:20:02 PM »
It was of particular interest to hear 'the Cheshire Question' receive significant coverage during this morning's debate. I believe several other contributors to this forum to have agreed with my previous observations, that Staffordshire receives far greater coverage from Radio Stoke than neighbouring county Cheshire. Although several differing opinions were aired, it was noteworthy that Mr Jennings found himself unable to comment specifically upon why Cheshire fares so badly against Staffordshire.

Like it or not, it must be accepted that insufficient funding exists for the BBC to provide a stand-alone local radio service for Cheshire. This situation is unlikely to change in the near future, so it may be prudent for Mr Jennings to pay closer attention to Radio Stoke's overall programming, as their bias against Cheshire is overwhelming.

I also noted that Mr Jennings found himself somewhat out of his depth on occasions, when contributors cited a range of area-specific grievances. Would it not have been expedient for him to have invited Radio Stoke's Managing Editor Gary Andrews to co-host this long-overdue debate? Naturally, I would assume Mr Andrews to possess a greater knowledge of the two counties he is charged with providing local radio to. He was certainly conspicuous by his absence this morning. Such a missed opportunity.

Northoftheborder

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Re: Are BBC Managers "able" to answer simple questions?
« Reply #6 on: June 20, 2015, 02:49:26 PM »
It may be worth you following this link to another thread, Dennis:

http://www.bbclocalradioforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=1358.msg8089#msg8089


There's a sizeable event taking place in South Cheshire across this weekend. For the past 25 years Middlewich has hosted an annual Folk & Boat Festival, celebrating the town's rich industrial heritage and drawing upon the long-standing links between the production of salt, and the canal network developed to transport it. After so many years, this is of course a well-established and popular fixture.

Without any football sport to fill Saturday afternoons, Radio Stoke run "Summer Saturdays", promising to "visit your events across Staffordshireandcheshire". No apparent sign of any mention whatsoever, of Middlewich's event today.



Alisonthecase

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Re: Are BBC Managers "able" to answer simple questions?
« Reply #7 on: June 14, 2016, 03:42:49 PM »
Hello everyone, this is my first ever post. Why I felt I had to do so is rather upsetting, so I will try my best to explain things to you all.

Actually this has been done on behalf of a close friend, who assists me in a voluntary capacity. I manage a small team of counsellors, and have known my friend for close on five years. Over that period we often found time to discuss BBC local radio, so she soon made clear how much she enjoyed a cross-section of music spanning almost five decades. In spite of this, she is only still in her mid-forties!

To be quite honest the BBC does not serve our part of the world (East Cheshire) too well with local coverage, but I have managed to listen to Radio Stoke on some Sunday afternoons. As this is my only true day away from work, it's just nice to have something to relax with! The late afternoon programme does not come from Stoke, I think it's shared with BBC Shropshire and BBC Hereford & Worcester.

During the last sixty minutes of his show, the presenter has what he calls "The Jukebox". In 2015, most of this hour of music could still be chosen by audience members. So my friend began to contribute a handful of music requests to this show early last year. Virtually all of them were accepted without any question, simply because she varied what she asked for! When reading out her requests, the presenter gave the impression that he was entirely happy with this state of affairs. Other listeners also got to have their musical say..

As 2016 dawned, our Sunday afternoon enjoyment continued. But we noticed changes were occurring, in particular a subtle reduction in the amount of listener requests. Despite this, my friend continued to participate until half-way through March. After a request failed to appear, she resent it a week later. Again nothing, so she queried it (via email) with the presenter. In his reply he politely explained that there had been some email "problems" but that he could forward her request to the presenter (who was to be covering the next fortnight) or that she could email the female relief host her own direct request. She chose neither of these options, but thanked him.

The next two programmes (with the relief presenter) were not too good. The first two hours were wasted on asking listeners to guess what year the music was from. Although she still ran "The Jukebox" the music choices were noticeably more "watered-down" than the regular presenter. On a positive note, most of the final hour's music was actually chosen by listeners. Wisely my friend asked for more mainstream music, as this presenter had previously struggled to "find" her a Kate Bush hit - somewhat incredibly from a 1985 Top 20!

When the regular host returned, my friend mischievously requested Communication Breakdown by Led Zeppelin! He seemed happy to play it. One week later, she revisited the request from March, which of course he had invited her to resend. But now he had changed his tune, claiming it was obscure. Other listeners have had far more obscure material played. This is where things start to deteriorate.

A week later I attempted to do something new to me, requesting this same piece of music for my friend. The prompt email reply asked me to phone BBC Hereford & Worcester (in office hours) to discuss this. I never knew 21st century music requesting was this complex!

Owing to pressure of work, neither me (nor my friend) could spare any time to phone them. She has never had to phone them before.

The following Sunday she tried to email this programme, but her email bounced directly back, with a clear "Sender Denied" message.

During the week I stepped in on my friend's behalf, enquiring why she had had her email blocked. Their Editor was of very little help.

Subsequently I learned that the presenter had also blocked my email. As a "new contributor" I find this turn of events extraordinary.

With some help I then found the email address of David Jennings, the Head of BBC West Midlands. Yesterday I emailed him, asking him to explain this astounding treatment of a loyal listener. I am still waiting for an acknowledgement, never mind any kind of reply.

Each of our emails remain blocked by this presenter, with very little likelihood of any progress. What did we ever do to deserve this?

Northoftheborder

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Re: Are BBC Managers "able" to answer simple questions?
« Reply #8 on: June 15, 2016, 01:33:53 PM »

Hello everyone, this is my first ever post. Why I felt I had to do so is rather upsetting, so I will try my best to explain things to you all...

...she tried to email this programme, but her email bounced directly back, with a clear "Sender Denied" message.

During the week I stepped in on my friend's behalf, enquiring why she had had her email blocked. Their Editor was of very little help.

Subsequently I learned that the presenter had also blocked my email. As a "new contributor" I find this turn of events extraordinary.

With some help I then found the email address of David Jennings, the Head of BBC West Midlands. Yesterday I emailed him, asking him to explain this astounding treatment of a loyal listener. I am still waiting for an acknowledgement, never mind any kind of reply.

Each of our emails remain blocked by this presenter, with very little likelihood of any progress. What did we ever do to deserve this?

Ahh, David Jennings. We e-mailed him, exactly one year ago this week (see reply #4) and are still waiting to get any response from him. So don't hold your breath, girls...

In all seriousness though, welcome to the forum Alison (and friend) and I'd really love to wish you both the very best. It's a bizarre story, that borders on the unbelievable, but what you have to remember - above everything else - is that (when it comes to music) BBC Radio knows best. That's why so few genuine request opportunities remain.

I wonder if maybe this "experienced" music presenter resented receiving consistently good requests, many perhaps outshining music he put into the first couple of hours? You've given enough clues to help give me a good idea who this is, so I reckon I know whose show you mean. If I'm right, it's declined massively over the last six months.

One crucial fact (that we might never get to the bottom of) is this: Is this decline management-led (I believe it most likely is) or is it down to lax presentation/production?

Having read that a listener has had her e-mail blocked was enough of a shock to me. But when I then read, if I've got this correct, that her friend [Alison] then went to her aid - and got her own e-mail inexplicably blocked too - is incredible, quite beyond belief. Suppressing e-mail contributors? Just how low can BBC radio management stoop??

Alisonthecase

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Re: Are BBC Managers "able" to answer simple questions?
« Reply #9 on: September 25, 2016, 07:36:46 PM »
It's been a good three months, so I reckon it's time I got back in touch and updated you on how this bizarre issue has progressed. Just a quick reminder of something I wrote, back in mid-June:


With some help I then found the email address of David Jennings, the Head of BBC West Midlands. Yesterday I emailed him, asking him to explain this astounding treatment of a loyal listener. I am still waiting for an acknowledgement, never mind any kind of reply.

September's nearly over, but there's been nothing from Mr Jennings. Not one email. Clearly the concerns of licence-fee paying listeners in his region are of the utmost importance to him, aren't they? Northoftheborder was correct!

Not too long after my first ever forum posting, there were a few "interesting" changes to the Sunday afternoon show. A much greater number of listeners got to choose music, during the final part of the programme. Strangely this last hour is no longer referred to as "The Jukebox". Instead the presenter tells us: "Now it's time for a few of your suggestions". Who knows, is this the 21st century way of referring to what we all used to know as "requests"?


Each of our emails remain blocked by this presenter, with very little likelihood of any progress. What did we ever do to deserve this?

When I last checked (a week ago) this was still the case, so my assertion that there wouldn't be any progress has also proved to be the case. Over three months later, it looks highly unlikely that we'll ever be unblocked, doesn't it?

In actual fact, a further two listeners have now had their ability to email this show blocked. Last Sunday, my friend's niece politely pointed out that it was "time this was all sorted out". This weekend (when she tried to request, I'm sorry suggest, a well-known song) her email bounced back, with a standard "Sender Denied" message. The presenter never bothered to address her concerns, nor did he ever warn her of the possibility of this action taking place.

Back in June (when we'd both become aware that this presenter had blocked our emails) a former work colleague volunteered to help us out. He'd had to stand down from his job a while ago owing to poor health, in fact he's not at all well. But as he'd kindly offered to assist us both, he emailed the show explaining simply that it was his first ever request - on behalf of two friends. But his message was completely ignored, as were the following two emails.

Having waited a while, he recently tried to email the show once again. This time, his email generated a response. Yes you've guessed it, a message stating "Sender Denied". For goodness sake, what has BBC Midlands come to?

You may contend that the BBC are only reacting to my posting on this public forum. Giving them a bad name, you might say. But I was only forced into doing that, after they blocked my friend - who'd previously sent a variety of successful requests to this presenter. Then they blocked me, after I'd sent my first ever request to this show. Now they've blocked my friend's niece, plus our friend who's very poorly indeed. How many more of us will be blocked?

Where will this all end? Every one of us was only trying to stand up for ourselves, or for friends that we cared deeply about. Well you would, wouldn't you? What on earth ever happened to "Be Part Of It"?


Northoftheborder

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Re: Are BBC Managers "able" to answer simple questions?
« Reply #10 on: September 26, 2016, 02:38:16 PM »
It's been a good three months, so I reckon it's time I got back in touch and updated you on how this bizarre issue has progressed...
 
September's nearly over, but there's been nothing from Mr Jennings. Not one email. Clearly the concerns of licence-fee paying listeners in his region are of the utmost importance to him, aren't they? Northoftheborder was correct!

I told you so, Ali! In my book, Jennings displays the depths of his arrogance. Cannot bother acknowledging a concerned e-mail. Mind you, perhaps the reality of his staff's behaviour has rendered the ultimate boss of BBC West Midlands speechless; they say that the truth hurts, don't they David? Another question which you cannot answer??

Maybe you ought to e-mail David Jennings, reiterating your concerns Ali? After all, you've related how events have now taken a distinct turn for the worse:

Quote

In actual fact, a further two listeners have now had their ability to email this show blocked. Last Sunday, my friend's niece politely pointed out that it was "time this was all sorted out". This weekend (when she tried to request, I'm sorry suggest, a well-known song) her email bounced back, with a standard "Sender Denied" message. The presenter never bothered to address her concerns, nor did he ever warn her of the possibility of this action taking place.

Back in June (when we'd both become aware that this presenter had blocked our emails) a former work colleague volunteered to help us out. He'd had to stand down from his job a while ago owing to poor health, in fact he's not at all well. But as he'd kindly offered to assist us both, he emailed the show explaining simply that it was his first ever request - on behalf of two friends. But his message was completely ignored, as were the following two emails.

Having waited a while, he recently tried to email the show once again. This time, his email generated a response. Yes you've guessed it, a message stating "Sender Denied". For goodness sake, what has BBC Midlands come to?

I'll tell you what. Bullying listeners into submission, that's all it is. Abhorrent, inexcusable behaviour, that wouldn't be tolerated in the 21st century workplace. Somehow though, BBC West Midlands reckon it's acceptable to exclude (seemingly permanently) any listeners who dare to fight their own corner, conveniently forgetting who pays.

But you're wrong, claiming that only four listeners have been blocked from e-mailing this particular presenter. I know of at least one other listener who's had this treatment meted out to them, after trying to extract the reasoning behind his discriminatory treatment of her politely-worded e-mail suggestions. This began at the end of last year.

I'll refrain from giving any more details as I intend to fully support this listener, in her campaign to unearth a credible answer from the management of BBC West Midlands.

Sounds like fighting talk, but I'm not expecting any more progress than you've had, Ali! However, the more of us that stand up for ourselves the better, wouldn't you say?

Quote
You may contend that the BBC are only reacting to my posting on this public forum. Giving them a bad name, you might say. But I was only forced into doing that, after they blocked my friend - who'd previously sent a variety of successful requests to this presenter. Then they blocked me, after I'd sent my first ever request to this show. Now they've blocked my friend's niece, plus our friend who's very poorly indeed. How many more of us will be blocked?

Where will this all end? Every one of us was only trying to stand up for ourselves, or for friends that we cared deeply about. Well you would, wouldn't you? What on earth ever happened to "Be Part Of It"?



Please don't despair, Ali. Now is not the time to give up. I've only just heard someone play Bob Marley's song Get Up, Stand Up. As Bob sang: "don't give up the fight"...

Alisonthecase

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Re: Are BBC Managers "able" to answer simple questions?
« Reply #11 on: November 27, 2016, 06:16:25 PM »
Thanks for your words of encouragement Northoftheborder, but I'm not quite so sure I can share your optimism. Something is telling me it's now too late for any listeners, to try and have their say.

If you read my previous post two months ago, you will have seen that my friend's niece emailed the presenter in question. Having written that it was "time this was all sorted out" all he ever managed to do, was install a block upon her emails to him. Exactly the same unfriendly treatment that her auntie, me (and a friend of ours) had all received. No reply, no warning of what was about to occur. Quite frankly, what a cowardly course of action.

Unfazed by all of this, she waited a few weeks before sending a short but polite email, to a presenter at Radio Stoke. Although this chap didn't reply, he passed her email on to someone who did. The same day, too!

Their assistant editor Alistair Miskin asked her to provide more details, so that he could either discuss her concerns, or pass them on to someone who knew more than he did. She replied, informing him that this was a show carried each Sunday by Radio Stoke, but which she thought came from BBC Hereford & Worcester. Alistair responded promptly and politely, confirming that he had forwarded her email to the BBC H&W management team.

At last! Perhaps a BBC manager will be able to answer a simple question - Alistair Miskin undoubtedly did as much as he could. However, over a fortnight later, we have yet to see any response from BBC Hereford & Worcester.

We listened to the show at the centre of all this controversy, last Sunday. During the final hour, where once there had been something like 45 minutes of music requests, we heard just two listeners' names directly linked to music played. This weekend's show was worse still, with the presenter plumbing the depths of "misheard lyrics". Would it really be too hard to accommodate an hour of listener requests? Or don't we matter to you, any more?

No wonder BBC H&W have been so reticent to respond to my friend's niece. I could always ask them myself but, somehow, I hardly think it's worth my while. Far better instead to retune to another part of BBC local radio.

Looking upthread, I see that Northoftheborder started it all off, just over two years ago. She was right all along, wasn't she? BBC managers aren't able to answer simple questions. At all. How sad, for us mere listeners.


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