Regional Television in North West England and Urban-Centric Sports Coverage.

8th April 2018

Dear Readers

Firstly, I hope all readers of this Site have had a happy Easter period; that you have been able to take some time off work to visit friends and family.  This is my first topic on here in over a week as I have had my brother home for a few days followed by a family friend who works in the Lakes.

As readers of this Site will now be aware, this Site has articles that critique Regional Television and news-provision in the North-West of England:  The northern three-quarters of the Region- i.e. north from Wigan- is poorly represented in news coverage; northern Cumbria also has BBC news-output from the North-East of England with coverage that is 85% about the North-East which is very unsatisfactory.  The Isle of Man, with its own Parliament (the Tynwald) and Government has no news-programming of its own and gets output from BBC North-West and ITV Granada, which often fail to mention the island at all in their bulletins.

Today, I wish to look at the Sports coverage, which with five minutes coverage on the nightly bulletins seems a little excessive in view of the fact that sports fanatics have Sky Television channels totally devoted to football, cricket, skiing, motor-sports- whatever takes their fancy. It is a measure of the urban-centric focus of Regional Television in North West England that the nightly sports coverage is dominated largely by the big four Premier League Football Clubs in Manchester and Merseyside: Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool Football Club and Everton’s goings-on at Goodison Park. Burnley, which is also in the Premier League, seems to get less of a mention. Occasionally you will also hear about Blackpool Football Club, Preston North End or Bolton Wanderers. Rugby also features from time to time, when you will get to hear about Sale Sharks (in the Aviva Premiership Rugby Divison). You may also hear about Caldy Rugby Football Club on the Wirral or Fylde Rugby Club near Blackpool- but these are in a lower league so are less likely to get a mention.

In the summer months cricket is offered covered, this tends to mean Lancashire County Cricket- based at Old Trafford (Manchester rather than Lancashire per-se) and Derbyshire County Cricket gets featured in North-West Regional Television because viewers in the north-west of Derbyshire (around Buxton) are within the broadcast area of North-West based Regional Television output. In the spring you also have the Grand National at Aintree in Merseyside.

The point that has to be made about the Sports coverage is that the main football, rugby and county cricket teams in North West England are in the main cities and towns in the south of the Region.  The top four football teams in the North West in the Premier League are in Manchester and Liverpool and the one North West rugby team in the Aviva Premier Rugby Division is Sale Sharks, Sale is on the Cheshire/ Greater Manchester border. Since most sports viewers in the North West of England tend to like football, rugby or cricket this does tend to slew the Sports coverage towards the urban south of the Region.  Cumbria and northern Lancashire, not to mention the Isle of Man, tend not to get a mention.

But there are sporting events that interest folk who live in Cumbria or in northern Lancashire though they are less likely to be into Manchester United’s goings-on at Old Trafford.  For starters these communities have their own rugby or football clubs like Morecambe Football Club or Kendal Town Football Club that they are liable to support. In summer there are local cricket teams like Netherfield Cricket Club (near Kendal) or Millom Cricket Club: None of this seems to get a mention in regional news output.

In addition to all this folk who live in northern Lancashire, the Isle of Man or South Cumbria who all get North-West Regional Television output have other sports activities, particularly in the summertime when you have local and county-level agricultural shows: Examples of these shows are the Westmorland County Show at Crooklands, just south of Kendal (this year it will be on 13th September) and the Great Eccleston Show in Lancashire (this will be on the weekend of the 14th to 15th July this year).  These local and country shows feature sports such as Cumberland and Westmorland Wrestling, horse show-jumping and (in the Lakes) possibly a fell-race too. A major fixture in early June is the Appleby Horse Fair in the Eden Valley of Cumbria, to which folk travel from far and wide; though it is a little beyond the transmission boundaries of either BBC North-West or ITV Granada, it is certain South Cumbrian viewers of both these North-West Regional Television programmes would appreciate some coverage of this important annual horsing event that will have relevance to them.

The Isle of Man also has similar rural shows and events like the Isle of Man Southern District Agricultural Show and (of course) the Isle of Man is well-known for the annual TT Races (26th May through to 8th June this year).

It would be great if both the BBC and ITV Granada in the North West of England would try to cover some of the more rural-flavoured sporting fixtures likely to be of interest to the more northerly viewers of their news-programming. It would be irksome for viewers in South Lakeland who might be interested in the Grasmere Gallop to have to contend with coverage of Lancashire County Cricket coverage at Old Trafford.  By the way, the Grasmere Gallop (a six-mile run round Rydal lake and Grasmere village) is on 2nd June this year.

During the autumn and winter months, when the football and rugby season is in full-swing, there are still small local football and rugby teams in Cumbria and northern Lancashire that could be touched upon from time to time.  In addition, the autumn months bring the hunting season to rural areas of the North West- these take place across Cumbria and Lancashire:  Hence a report on these hunts and the actions of hunt-saboteurs in trying to thwart the hunts in more northerly parts of the North-West would break up the endless sports-coverage of Manchester United, Liverpool Football Club and Everton Football Club.

Ian Pennell

 

#NorthWestTonight #BBC #northwesttonight #GranadaReports #Lancashire #Cumbria #IsleofMan #NorthWest #CountyShows #fellraces #Sports #hunts #foxhunting #Lakeland #TTRaces #ttraces #football #rugby #cricket #showjumping #Lakes #ApplebyHorseFair

 

 

 

Both the BBC and ITV still need to put resources into improving Regional News for Cumbria, Lancashire and the Isle of Man.

27th March 2018

Dear Readers

There are the beginnings of a concerted effort by the Manx Government to get much better coverage of the Isle of Man, which currently just gets the odd mention (if lucky) on BBC North-West Tonight or ITV Granada Reports. The situation of poor television coverage on the independent territory is being discussed by the Manx Government  in the Tynwald, their equivalent of the Houses of Parliament in the UK (http://www.three.fm/news/isle-of-man-news/iom-tv-coverage-to-match-uk/). Because of the Isle of Man’s unique situation it really needs its own opt-out programming from NorthWest Regional Television.

Lancashire and South Cumbria also need their own opt-out programming or (better still) to be part of a new BBC and ITV NorthWest Television Region that will provide much more localised and effective news programming for these areas. The odd mention on BBC North-West Tonight or on ITV Granada Reports does this entire area a disservice.

 

#RegionalNews #LocalNews #Lancashire #Cumbria #IsleofMan #Lakeland #TheLakes #notjustlakes #Tynwald #Manx #NorthWest

A small part of north-east Cumbria benefits from having NorthEast based TV.

26th March 2018

Dear Readers

As some of you will be aware by now, this Site is devoted to the cause of ensuring that Regional Television in North West England adequately covers all areas of North West England effectively in Regional News output.  Also questioned on this Site is the fact that a large area of Cumbria, including the extreme west of the county around St. Bees Head, receives BBC Regional News output from the NorthEast which, since Cumbria is clearly in the NorthWest and the vast majority of the news-coverage from BBC Look North is about the North East of England, must leave a good number of viewers unhappy with the offering of “local” news that tends to be 100 or more miles away from West Cumbria.

However, there is a small part of north-east Cumbria close to the border with Northumberland and County. Durham which is not really in the NorthWest of England since their local rivers drain eastwards into the River Tyne or the River Tees:  Either that these locations are close to the major catchment-divide between NorthEast and NorthWest and cities and towns in NorthEast England are within an hours’ drive and (in a number of cases) within 20 miles away.  The towns and villages of north-east Cumbria to which this set of circumstances applies- where rivers drain eastwards rather than west- include Nenthead, Alston, Garrigill, Midgeholme, Tindale, Coalfell along with a few farms several miles to the east of Brough close to the County Durham border.  In addition there are a number of communities within 20 miles’ drive of towns such as Middleton-in-Teesdale, Stanhope, Haltwhistle and Hexham (all in the NorthEast)- this would be considered really local to places such as Brough, Brampton, Warwick Bridge, Wetheral, Gilsland and Castle Carrock.  Together this makes up a sizeable number of locations, with a total population exceeding 20,000 people for whom events in Haltwhistle, Hexham or Middleton in Teesdale would be much more local than events in Keswick, Maryport or Cockermouth in West Cumbria (let alone Preston or Lancaster).

It is conceivable, therefore, that folk living in Alston, Brough or Brampton would not derive much benefit from being in a special Cumbria-only sub-region because they would lose coverage of locations across the border into Northumberland or County Durham that they would go to for shopping, visiting friends, going to auction marts (please bear in mind that many people living in these rural parts of north-east Cumbria will be farmers) or going to a pub-lunch. Furthermore, owing to the geographical situation it is in, the area Nenthead and Alston in the Cumbrian Pennines receive television programming from the Pontop Pike transmitter near Gateshead and not from the Caldbeck transmitter- so as things stand they could not receive NorthWest Regional Programming even if northern Cumbria was switched to receive a new NorthWest Television service dedicated just to Lancashire, Cumbria and the Isle of Man (not that folk living on Alston Moor would ask for it either)!

These areas of north-east Cumbria are the only areas that actually benefit from being in a North-East based Television Region; provided of course the regional news ensures rural areas of County Durham, the Tyne Valley and northern Cumbria were covered well. It is of benefit to these areas if they remain in the BBC (NorthEast/ Cumbria) Region, but that benefit is not very tangible if the Regional news-programming mainly focuses on the urban areas of Tyneside, Teesside and Wearside.  The regional programming has similarities to that of the North-West programming in that the urban areas are covered extensively along with Sport (which folk in towns and cities like) and little room is made for coverage of their rural hinterlands.  Northern Northumberland gets little coverage and viewers there do not get to find out about sitiations just a few miles over the Scottish Border, because of the cut-off in programming at the northern edge of the transmission area; this cuts through communities like Coldstream, Cornhill-on-Tweed and the areas around Berwick-upon-Tweed. Viewers in South Cumbria have similar issues with BBC North-West Tonight and ITV Granada Reports when they give little coverage of the area and no coverage of events further north into Cumbria!

Communities in the north-east of Cumbria, to the east of Carlisle, are within an hours’ drive of Newcastle and also Gateshead Metro Centre- to which folk can easily get on the train. People in north-east Cumbria go there for major shops, travel to hospital there and go that way en route to the airport (either to pick family and friends up/ take them to the airport- or to go on holiday themselves). People living in the above-mentioned communities of north-east Cumbria will also have family-members and friends living in Newcastle, western County Durham or in Gateshead who live within an hours’ drive.  It follows that folk in these areas have an interest in what goes on in those areas, probably more than what goes on in South or West Cumbria.

If it is deemed that northern Cumbria would benefit from opt-out programming of northern Cumbria in a new BBC North-West Region, this is not something likely to be of benefit to those in the very north-east of the county; infact it is something likely to anger them.  The relay-transmitters should then be tweaked to ensure these parts of north-east Cumbria continue to receive North-East Television output:  The onus then is on BBC Look North (North-East/ Cumbria) to provide more coverage of the more rural northern and western parts of their transmission area, with overlap into those parts of Cumbria no longer receiving their programming and northwards into the Scottish Borders.

As one travels westwards across northern Cumbria there is a transition in how regional output from (and largely about) the North-East of England is received by the local communities:  East of Carlisle, folk have an interest in what goes on in the North-East and will tend to watch BBC Look North, but west of the city there is comparatively little interest in any news-coverage that does not concern Cumbria. Viewers in Carlisle and Penrith- and points west watch ITV Border with its flagship evening news programme Lookaround; the English version of which covers Cumbria very well but (with the exception of the odd story about Berwick on Tweed or the western Tyne Valley around Haltwhistle in Northumberland) does not cover the North-East except for the joint Tyne-Tees-Border news in the mornings and at at weekends.  Most viewers of regional news west of Carlisle find coverage about the North-East of England something to be tolerated rather than appreciated.  By the time you reach Whitehaven, Egremont and south as far as Shap the fact that the BBC Regional news-service comes from (and is 85% about) North-East England will be positively infuriating.

However, this does not mean any part of northern Cumbria would want to be transferred to the BBC North-West Region as is; it was tried between October 1986 and September 1991 and it caused uproar.  Viewers in northern Cumbria are even less interested in 90% Manchester, Liverpool and Cheshire than 85% North-East being at the exclusion of their area.  The correct solution is for a new BBC North West Region covering just Lancashire, Cumbria and the Isle of Man, with two opt-outs for the Isle of Man and also for northern Cumbria within the main bulletins.  It is also possible that northern Cumbria could get opt-out programming from BBC North-East, although western Cumbria and immediately south of Penrith certainly identifies more as North-West and this would need to be reflected in opt-out programming with some (about 10%) overlap coverage southwards over Lancashire and northwards over the Scottish Borders.

However northern Cumbria receives new programming, some relay-transmitters need tweaking so that parts of north-east Cumbria interested in getting North-East news can continue to do so.

Ian Pennell

#Alston #Brough #Brampton #NorthEast #NorthWest #Cumbria #Carlisle #NECumbria #WestCumbria #LookNorth #NorthWestTonight #WestCumbria #ITVBorder

The NorthWest News that Lancashire and South Cumbria should be getting

Dear Readers

As you may be aware, this is a Site devoted to the critique (and hopefully) change of Regional Television in NorthWest England, with a view to improving it for Lancashire (including Rochdale, Bolton, Wigan and Southport) and South Cumbria.  So what should the regional news programming be for the area.  I would assert that something like:

Ten news items on the evening bulletins broken down with three news items exclusively for South Cumbria or northern Lancashire. Of the remaining seven news items, three would be devoted to Central and South Lancashire (including Rochdale, Bolton, Wigan and Southport), another three news items would be anywhere in the new NorthWest transmission area and one item would be overlap coverage of an area extending south to Crewe, north right up to the Scottish Border and eastwards to cover the western half of the Yorkshire Dales and the western-half of West Yorkshire.

For the shorter lunchtime and weekend news bulletins with five news items, one item will be devoted to South Cumbria, one to Central/ South Lancashire and two will be devoted to coverage of the transmission area generally.  The remaining one item will be the most serious news event happening across the entire NorthWest, extending from Crewe in the South to the Scottish Border, north of Carlisle and extending east into western North Yorkshire and West Yorkshire.

Regional Political and Current Affairs programming like Inside Out would also have a mix of programming according to geographical areas similar to above.

All of this would ensure that Lancashire and South Cumbria were much better represented with regional programming relevant to the communities in question.  The overlap zone would ensure better all-round news-programming for communities at (and straddling) the edge of the transmission areas.

The Isle of Man would have it’s own opt-out programming, the island being a special case as a country in its own right with its own Parliament (the Tynwald).  Almost nothing that happens in mainland NorthWest England has any direct relevance to viewers of Regional Television on the Isle of Man.

However, neither the BBC nor ITV will commit resources to creating new regional programming for Lancashire, South Cumbria or the Isle of Man without pressure being bought to bear on them.

 

#RegionalTelevision, #Cumbria #Lakeland #NorthWest #ITV #BBC #BBCNorthWestTonight #ITVGranadaReports #Lancashire #Wigan #Bolton #Rochdale  #Lancaster #Morecambe #Blackpool #LocalNews

Regional Television in the NorthWest of England: Hard Transmission boundaries cut across communities.

23rd March 2018

Dear Readers,

A feature of regional television in the North West is that the area the broadcasters cover stop in the middle of significant communities at the edge of the transmission boundaries for the NorthWest’s main television news broadcasters BBC NorthWest and ITV Granada: These Transmission boundaries are (usually) hard borders, i.e. the regional news-service provides absolutely no coverage of events just a couple of miles over the transmission boundary outside the broadcast area.  This leads to communities at the edge of- and that straddle- the television broadcast area not being covered effectively.

Examples of such communities in North West England include:

  1. South Cheshire around Malpas, from where folk will travel to Whitchurch, just over the border into Shropshire. A little further west there are villages right on the Cheshire-Clywd (Wales) border; Higher Wych, Tallarn Green and Threapwood.  None of these areas are served well by BBC NorthWest and ITV Granada whose transmission boundaries cuts through these communities and when these broadcasters will not cover anything over the border into North Wales or Shropshire.

2. The area around Buxton in north-west Derbyshire.  Folk living here will never find out about events a little further south-west over the border around Leek in Staffordshire or to the south-east around Bakewell (still within the same county).  Derbyshire as a whole is not in the NorthWest, though Buxton is within the transmission areas of both BBC NorthWest and ITV Granada. To this point we must consider whether any part of Derbyshire is best served by being in a NorthWest-based television Region; if the High Peak area prefer output from the NorthWest the cut off of news in their community must still be addressed.

3.The Copeland District of Cumbria is disected by the northern transmission boundary to both BBC NorthWest and ITV Granada. The town of Millom receives the both NorthWest regional broadcasters as do nearby Duddon Bridge and Broughton in Furness.  However, just 20 miles up the A595 at Seascale, still in the Copeland District of Cumbria viewers get ITV Border and BBC Look North (NorthEast/ Cumbria). Neither Seascale or Egremont are covered by BBC NorthWest nor ITV Granada.

4. The Westmorland area of SE Cumbria is also disected by the northern transmission boundary of both ITV Granada and BBC NorthWest. To be fair on ITV Granada they do provide overlap coverage across those parts of the South Lakes that receive ITV Border for the benefit of viewers in places like Grange over Sands, Kirkby Lonsdale and Cartmel which receive ITV Granada.  However, BBC NorthWest is broadcast to towns like Dent and Sedbergh, in the south-east of Cumbria but it does not provide overlap to Tebay or Shap. Kendal, Kirkby Lonsdale  and Oxenhome are united with Tebay and Shap a little further north by virtue of their being part of the rural historic county of Westmorland and all these communities are intertwined by virtue of this fact and their relative closeness.

The Westmorland Gazette newspaper, based in Kendal, regularly covers Tebay, Orton, Ravenstonedale, Kirkby Stephen, Shap and Appleby (in Westmorland, as folk in the town like to insist), but NorthWest Regional Television transmission boundaries disect these communities so that some locals don’t know what is happening elsewhere in their own communities: Again, this is something that both ITV Granada and BBC NorthWest need to rectify.

5. The communities of Bacup, Rochdale and Littleborough in south-east Lancashire, which receive both BBC NorthWest and ITV Granada output are affected by the hard transmission boundary to the east of them. These communities will never ever hear about events in Ripponden, Todmorden or Hebden Bridge, which are only ten to 15 miles away but are over the transmission boundary into West Yorkshire for which news-coverageis strictly left to BBC Look North (Yorks) and ITV Yorkshire.

6. There is part of the Craven District in North Yorkshire that receives BBC NorthWest and ITV Granada output, taking in Ingleton, Settle and Bentham. These areas are hardly best-served by NorthWest Regional Television, which will never cover anything south-east of Settle or north-east of Ingleton; perhaps someone will one day rectify this and see to it that these communities get Yorkshire Regional output.

Correcting the cut-off in these, and other, transmission-edge locations of the NorthWest will require more resources for Regional Television in the NorthWest;  this again comes back to the subject of splitting the BBC NorthWest and ITV Granada Regions. This will require additional resources to be directed towards Regional Programming in North West England, a subject that I have covered on this Site recently.  In the meantime, communities in Cumbria, near the Lancashire/West Yorkshire border and in South Cheshire will only continue to  suffer from poor all-round coverage of local communities; which is something that viewers living in the likes of Warrington or Manchester tend not to suffer from.

Ian Pennell

#BBCNorthWest, #ITVGranadaNews, #ITVNewsBorder, #Cheshire #Rochdale #Littleborough #Kendal #Sedbergh #Westmorland #Cumbria #Millom #TheLakes

Two serious incidents in Cumbria in one day, one involving a death, not reported on NorthWest Regional Television.

19th March 2018

Dear Readers,

Earlier today there were two serious incidents on the northern transmission boundary of both BBC North West Tonight and ITV Granada: The first incident was that of a man who fell 200 feet to his death whilst scaling the mountain of Helvellyn in the Lakes(http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-cumbria-43455530). The second incident involved a little four-year old girl sustaining life-threatening injuries when her family’s car crashed on the A591 near Windermere. The little girl was taken to hospital where she is in a critical condition (http://www.thewestmorlandgazette.co.uk/news/16096232.Four_year_old_girl_left_in__critical__condition_after_A591_crash/).

A look through the online news-feeds of both BBC North West Tonight and ITV Granada Reports shows that none of these items were covered as there is no mention of them on either the Twitter or Facebook news-feeds.

This is annoying for South Cumbrian viewers of these NorthWest Regional Television Bulletins because it is quite likely that the man who died on Helvellyn and/ or the little girl now fighting for her life in hospital lived in their communities. If a man died on Winter Hill near Bolton or a child suffered life-threatening injuries on a major road in Manchester you can be sure that would be covered. But South Cumbrian viewers are treated as second rate, possibly because of the relative inconvenience to them of getting reporters up to Cumbria, so they don’t get coverage of even quite serious news about the county. The other thing BBC North West Tonight and ITV Granada hate doing is reporting on anything beyond their transmission boundary, which makes for very poor all-round news-coverage if you live somewhere like Kendal or Sedbergh.

It is clear that viewers in the north of the North West Television transmission areas get poorer coverage, even at times allowing for the lower population of South Cumbria and northern Lancashire compared to Manchester or Liverpool. This is completely unacceptable and it is time that both the BBC and ITV (which has a monopoly on Regional News given that the BBC is the only competition) rectified the poor news coverage that more northerly areas of North West England get.

#NorthWestTonight #Cumbria #A591 #LocalNews #Cumbria #NorthLancs #Windermere #Helvellyn #RTA #Lakeland #ITVGranada #Kendal #Sedbergh #ManDies

Even South and Central Lancashire get poor coverage from NorthWest Regional Television.

19th March 2018

Dear Readers

The county of Lancashire covers a sizeable area, and folk from an even wider area, taking in Barrow in Furness in the north and folk living large towns like Southport, Wigan and Bolton to the south most definitely consider themselves to live in Lancashire and do not identify with a modern-named urban conglomerate called “Greater Manchester”.  This large traditional county of Lancashire, leaving aside the major urban areas of Manchester and Liverpool along with the immediate surrounds covers a large area, with a population of two and a half million people. However this large area in which folk consider themselves to live in Lancashire gets 25% of news-coverage on BBC North West Tonight and ITV Granada Reports. Rarely does Lancashire -including the Furness Peninsula, Wigan, Bolton, Rochdale and Southport get more than 25% of regional news coverage and, very often, it is hardly even mentioned. This is an indictment of regional news coverage across a huge (and populated) swathe of the middle of the English North West.

But it is to Central and South Lancashire, including the former industrial towns of Rochdale, Bolton, Wigan and Southport that I wish to draw attention to. This area also includes Preston, Chorley, Skelmersdale, Blackburn, Burnley and Rossendale but excludes Blackpool, Lancaster and Clitheroe or Nelson. The population of this area alone is around two million.

This area of South and Central Lancashire gets little regional news coverage on the two television broadcasters responsible for Regional News Programming across the North West. If you go through the news reports you will see that Preston, Chorley, Wigan, Bolton, Rochdale, Skelmersdale, Southport, Blackburn, Rossendale, Accrington and Burnley get about 20% coverage (another 10% will cover the Isle of Man, northern Lancashire or South Cumbria) on a good day. That is, out of about ten news items on (say) North West Tonight there will be two items concerning this large area of South Lancashire with a population of two million people.

The ideal for local news for folk living in an area like this would be 80% news coverage from within 15 miles with the remaining 20% coverage from further out and up to an hour’s drive away; in the case of Central and South Lancashire the outwards zone will extend south as far as Crewe and northwards up the M6 as far as Penrith in Cumbria. To the east it will extend across the south-west Yorkshire Dales and as far as Leeds, though in the interests of preserving North West Regional Identity the overlap zone could stop at Bradford.

The news they get on BBC North West Tonight or on ITV Granada Reports at present is nothing like this: There might be 20% coverage for locations in Central and South Lancashire, with the remaining 75% (the news items from the Isle of Man or Buxton in Derbyshire will be irrelevant) being news mainly about Manchester and Liverpool and immediate surrounds. Of course folk living in these areas of Lancashire do travel to Manchester or Liverpool to go on major shopping trips or to go to pick friends up from the airport, so folk in Central and South Lancashire will have some interest in what goes on here. Nevertheless, they are much less likely to get news about Blackpool or the Lake District (and would hear nothing about the North Lakes), which are still locations people from Blackburn or Wigan would travel to on a day out in the summer.

People who live in towns like Rochdale or Burnley are within an hour’s drive of the towns of Halifax and Bingley in West Yorkshire, but the regional news that these folk get would never cover those West Yorkshire towns since there is a hard transmission boundary that runs along the border between Lancashire/ Greater Manchester and West Yorkshire. This leads to people living on either side of this transmission boundary not hearing about even quite serious situations only a few miles away. This really is something that Regional Television has to address so that folk at the edge of their transmission boundaries get much better all-round coverage.

That said, despite some interest in news from outside their area, folk who live in this large area of Central and South Lancashire will be more interested in what happens in their locality, as indeed most people are. Whilst it would be prohibitively expensive to ensure that all folk in this large populated part of Lancashire get 80% coverage of events within 15 miles of them; there would be a way to make the news much more local to this area. It would be done if either ITV Granada or BBC NorthWest split their Region and provided separate programming for Lancashire and South Cumbria, from which opt-out programming could be provided for the Isle of Man. This would lead to an immeasurable improvement in regional news provision in Central and South Lancashire.

Even for locations like Bolton and Rochdale, in which folk identify more with Lancashire than Manchester and Liverpool (though the new Regional Programming would overlap south to include some Manchester and Liverpool news): Their being part of a new TVRegion broadcast to just Lancashire and South Cumbria (with separate opt-out programming for the Isle of Man, and for northern Cumbria if it joined) would lead to towns like Wigan, Bolton and Rochdale getting much more coverage.

Unfortunately, this is something that viewers in Lancashire will have to fight for because neither the BBC nor ITV Granada will spend an extra £3 million a year plus £1 million set-up costs for a new BBC or ITV NorthWest Region; unless pressure is brought to bear upon them.

Ian Pennell

#Lancashire #Wigan #Rochdale #Bolton #Southport #Skelmersdale #Preston #BBC #NorthWest #ITVGranada #NorthWestTonight #Rossendale #Blackburn #Accrington #Burnley #Chorley #Leyland #Ormskirk #Upholland #Leigh #LocalNews