Former Radio York journalist turned BBC boss axes popular presenters from the station

3 Jul 2020 @ 6.15 pm
| News

BBC Radio York is facing major cutbacks as the corporation aims to make £25 million of savings.

Under the plans the BBC is to cut 450 jobs in its English regional TV news and current affairs, local radio and online news.

Look North will have just one presenter and Radio York will have just three daytime programmes.

A “simplified schedule” introduced on local radio during the pandemic, with single instead of double presenters and a reduction in the number of shows, will become permanent.

It means the Afternoon Show with Anna and Adam won’t be returning to Radio York.

The popular duo – Anna Wallace and Adam Tomlinson – had broadcast for many years.

Significant reinvention

Adam Tomlinson and Anna Wallace. Photograph: BBC

Regional documentary slot Inside Out will be replaced by a new investigative journalism programme, which will have six regional editions instead of the previous 11.

One of these will be produced in Leeds.

The cuts are expected to save £25m by April 2022.

The BBC has previously said it must save £125m this year because of financial pressures resulting from the coronavirus pandemic.

Helen Thomas, the director of BBC England, is in charge of the cutbacks. She was the first news editor at Minster FM and worked at Radio York too.

Helen said the corporation’s local and regional services were created more than 50 years ago, and “have changed very little and need significant reinvention”.

She said: “We are in the age of the Facebook community group and the WhatsApp neighbourhood chat. We must adapt to better reflect how people live their lives, how they get their news and what content they want.

“We’re going to modernise our offer to audiences in England by making digital a central part of everything we do.

“I’m confident we can evolve our local and regional services while improving our impact and better serving our audiences.”

Death by 1,000 cuts

Michelle Stanistreet, general secretary of the National Union of Journalists, said: “These are huge cuts which will inevitably have an impact on the BBC’s ability to sustain the breadth and depth of news coverage throughout England which truly reflects the diversity of the nation.

“The Covid-19 crisis has shown more than ever the need for an effective public service broadcaster and for trusted, quality journalism in an era of disinformation and fake news.

“We cannot allow the BBC to sleepwalk into a death by a thousand cuts, which will inevitably see people switch-off because they aren’t getting the service they want.”