Mayor invites BBC Chiefs to discuss proposed Radio Foyle cuts
11 January 2023
The Mayor of Derry and Strabane, Councillor Sandra Duffy, has written to the Director General of the BBC, Tim Davie, to invite him to the city to discuss plans to cut services at BBC Radio Foyle.
Mayor Duffy has also sent a letter to the BBC Chairman Richard Sharp, stressing the important role of BBC Radio Foyle in the local community.
The move follows a public meeting led by the Mayor in the Guildhall last week, which was attended by hundreds of supporters opposed to the proposals to cancel Radio Foyle’s Breakfast Show and hourly news bulletins, with the loss of eight staff.
The issue was also raised at yesterday’s monthly meeting of the Governance and Strategic Planning (GSP) Committee, where members expressed disappointment that there has been no response to the request to meet with interim Director of BBC N. Ireland, Adam Smyth. The Committee passed a motion commending the cross party and cross community support and strength of feeling that was expressed for Radio Foyle at the public meeting hosted by the NUJ and Derry Trades Union and facilitated by the Mayor. Council will now officially write to Tim Davie and Rhodhri Talfan Davies – BBC Director of Nations – to express concern at the proposed cuts to Radio Foyle, advising them to reconsider the plans and as a minimum, hold a public consultation on the proposals. An invitation will now be issued for both to attend the GSP Committee meeting in person.
Mayor Duffy said that she hoped a visit to the City would provide an opportunity to show the strength of feeling behind the campaign to reduce programming at the station.
“This is the next stage in the campaign to retain staff and services at Radio Foyle, and one which I hope will show the senior decision makers at the BBC that the entire City and District are standing in solidarity on this issue.
“Nowhere will you find a media team as embedded in the local community as the one at Radio Foyle and I want the Director General to see for himself what that really means to the BBC audience. We are bombarded daily with regional and national news content, but Radio Foyle have a pivotal role in refining and breaking that information down in a local context, and focusing on the issues that really matter to local people.
“The Breakfast Show in particular is a flagship programme that has acted as an institution for the people of Derry and surrounding areas for many years, providing a vital platform for conversations around business, politics and current affairs. I look forward to a speedy response from the BBC Chiefs, and I hope that they will take this opportunity to hear all sides of the argument before making a final decision.”
Mayor Duffy is encouraging people to sign the petition now available online and to do all they can to put pressure on the BBC to immediately reconsider their decision, protecting jobs at the station and providing certainty and reassurance to workers and their families.
You can sign the petition online at https://www.megaphone.org.uk/petitions/save-bbc-radio-foyle-oppose-cuts-to-jobs-and-programmes?share=d23feaf6-bc89-45a9-ba01-3b64fd7115a2