Time to complain to BBC North West and ITV Granada about poor Regional News Coverage of Lancashire and Cumbria.

9th March 2018

Dear Readers,

As you may now know, this Site is a Critique of Regional Television in North West England, with particular regard to the northern three-quarters of the Region: In other words it is that part of the North West of England and the Isle of Man that is north of the M62 Corridor.  On both ITV Granada Reports or BBC North West Tonight local news coverage of Lancashire, Cumbria and the Isle of Man is (on average) less than 25%  in what is otherwise very Greater Manchester-Merseyside dominated news coverage.

I have explained on recent posts on this Site how Spending per Capita on Regional Television by both ITV and the BBC is less than the national average in the North West (see here: https://northwestisnorthwest.blog/2018/02/11/itv-regional-television-investment-in-the-north-west-is-also-poor/ and here: https://northwestisnorthwest.blog/2018/02/10/the-bbc-spends-less-on-regional-television-in-north-west-england-than-elsewhere/ )  and I have pointed out how the BBC can make £3 million in savings per annum (see here:  https://northwestisnorthwest.blog/2018/02/13/some-people-are-very-well-paid-in-the-bbc/). It would be possible for the BBC and ITV to commit more money to Regional Television in the North West without any diminution of of their other programming operations. Furthermore, they do not need to pay directors over twice the salary of the Prime Minister to fill the directorship-vacancies with  the right talent!

I have also made the valid point in recent posts that the BBC had to make annual savings of over £400 million per annum during the period of the Conservative/ Lib Dem Coalition Government between 2010 and 2015.  They did achieve these savings without, it must be said, any serious diminution of their programming- so it is a stretch to say they cannot today find just 1% of the savings made then.  The point is that both the BBC and ITV can made savings when their backs are against the wall, cutting middle management and back- office functions as required.

However, neither the BBC in the North West, nor ITV Granada will free up the funds and make it available to improve Regional Television for the more northerly parts of the North West- i.e. Lancashire, South Cumbria and the Isle of Man unless pressure is bought to bear.  People living in the North West are already suffering from the soaring cost of living and the Annual Tax on owning a television will rise to £150.50 per annum per household from next month, so the money cannot come from further increases in the TV License Fee! However, changes to Regional News Programming in the North West will only happen when scores of you, dear Readers of this Site, write to the BBC and ITV Granada to complain about the lack of proper coverage of the whole of the  North West of England.

To complain about  BBC North West Tonight the man to write to is:

Mr Aziz Rashid;
BBC Head of Regional and Local Programming for the North West,
Quay House
BBC Media City UK
Salford Quays
M50 2QH

Aziz Rashid’s Email is: aziz.rashid@bbc.co.uk


To complain about ITV Granada Reports and their lack of coverage of Lancashire, Cumbria and the Isle of Man contact:

Lucy West
Head of News for ITV Granada,
ITV Granada,
Orange Tower,
Media City UK,
Salford Quays,
M50 2EQ

Email Contact: granada.reports@itv.com

Lancashire, Cumbria and the Isle of Man require their own BBC North West Region, separate from the regional programming that serves Greater Manchester, Merseyside and Cheshire; complete with opt-out programming from small sub-regional suites based in Carlisle and the Isle of Man (see details of how this should be here: https://northwestisnorthwest.blog/2018/03/07/the-bbc-north-west-region-that-lancashire-and-cumbria-should-have/  ). Northern Cumbria would be transferred to the new BBC North West Region where it would be served by special opt-out programming from Carlisle, which would include mornings, evenings and weekends.

This can all be achieved at a cost of £3 million per annum overall since once this new BBC North West Region is set up news-gathering can be shared with the Manchester/Liverpool programming and extra Cumbrian-sourced material with the BBC North East/ Cumbria Region and travel costs for reporters in the smaller BBC Regions will be reduced. There will be the one-off capital costs of setting up editing suites and the new studios in Lancaster, Carlisle and Douglas (on the  Isle of Man).  For ITV Granada, opt-out programming for Lancashire and South Cumbria and for the Isle of Man should be implemented from ITV Granada.

However, if it is too much of an ask for ITV Granada to provide opt-out news for Lancashire and South Cumbria the entire South Cumbria and northern Lancashire area would be better served by being transferred to the ITV Border Region- with ITV Border being severed from its tie-up with ITV Tyne Tees: This would improve local news-provision of the area immeasurably since northern Lancashire and South Cumbria would (with these areas  included in the ITV Border Region) be in a TV Region with a population of just 1.5 million people compared to being in a TV Region with a population of almost seven million people (with South Cumbria and North Lancashire included), as they are in the ITV Granada Region. I have also made the point that viewers in South Cumbria and northern Lancashire would find Cumbrian news-coverage (which ITV Border covers very well) more relevant and local than the Manchester, Liverpool and Cheshire news that so dominates ITV Granada Reports (see here for more on this point: https://northwestisnorthwest.blog/2018/02/25/whats-local-to-north-lancashire-and-south-cumbria-journey-times-and-distances-to-different-parts-of-north-west-england/).

If you live in South Cumbria or northern Lancashire, currently get ITV Granada Reports and think your locality would be served better if northern Lancashire and all South Cumbria is in the ITV Border Region then write to:

Michaela Byrne;
Head of News and Programming for ITV Tyne-Tees Border
Television House,
The Watermark,
NE11 9SZ.

Or Email: btvnews@itv.com

You can also write to the address just above if you live in Cumbria and get  ITV Border, and dissapprove of the tie-up with Tyne-Tees that has led to you getting North East programming at breakfast time and at weekends:  You probably suffer enough of that from BBC Look North, with its 85% coverage of the North East!

The fact remains that neither the BBC nor ITV Granada will do anything about Regional News Programming for Lancashire and Cumbria if people do not write in and complain. Only a concerted effort by over one hundred people will move the dial.

Ian Pennell


#itvgranada   #itvborder    #cumbria   #lancashire    #northwestengland   #lancaster  #isleofman  #northwest  #bbcnwt  #BBCNWT  #SouthCumbria  #NorthLancashire  #Carlisle  #Kendal   #Morecambe  #Cumbria  #Lancashire

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