RFL Urges Fans’ Campaign

THE RFL has called for Rugby League fans across the country to challenge the BBC’s proposed plans to introduce cuts to local radio services by responding to the BBC’s consultation by December 21.

The scale of the issue and the approach of the BBC were made apparent during a meeting of the All Party Parliamentary Rugby League Group, attended by RFL Chairman Richard Lewis and representatives of the BBC in London on Tuesday November 29, where the impact of the proposed cuts to local sports services was made clear. The proposals will affect BBC local radio provisions, which could have a very negative impact on local sports coverage.

The Group heard that the on-going consultation period outlined by the BBC focuses on the need for the BBC to make cuts to services whilst at the same time absorbing the cost of the World Service and S4C.

“The proposals for BBC local radio will have, potentially, a very negative impact upon all sport and on Rugby League in particular,” said RFL Chairman Richard Lewis.

“The RFL will be responding directly to the BBC in response to these proposals and we are urging all clubs, leagues and individuals to respond also.

“The consultation closes on Wednesday December 21 and I cannot stress enough the importance that every individual who cares about the sport to take part in the consultation and share your concerns with the BBC Trust.”

The consequences if these proposals are adopted will be:

  • Midweek Rugby League magazine programmes are likely to disappear as they generally are broadcast between 7.00pm and 10.00pm in the evening. This will mean that listeners will not have access to speak to and question their local club, RFL officials and those involved with the game.
  • The opportunity to have an opinion heard on local radio will almost certainly disappear.
  • In-depth discussion about sport locally will disappear.
  • Live commentary may be affected if there is a reduction in the number of commentators at games making it less likely that there will be a local flavour to the commentary.
  • There may be a reduction in the number of games covered if there are numerous games on the same evening or afternoon.
  • The removal of the Medium Wave transmission will mean that only one event will be broadcast at one time, for example, if there is a Premier League football game and a Super League game at the same time then the station will not be able, as they currently can, to broadcast one on FM and the other on medium wave. The Sports Producer will have to make a choice.
  • It is estimated that if these cuts are implemented up to 95 per cent of BBC London sports output could disappear.

Members of the public, who wish to find out more information about these proposals and to make comment can gain more information from www.therfl.co.uk/localradioreview or contact the BBC Trust directly at: Local Radio Review, BBC Trust, 180 Great Portland Street, London W1W 5QZ.

You can email: [email protected]

The deadline for responses is Wednesday December 21 2011 and more information can be downloaded from http://consultations.external.bbc.co.uk/bbc/dqf/

The picture shows Ray French MBE, Veteran Broadcaster, Charles Runcie, Head of Sport, English Regions, Ian Ramsdale, Producer & Broadcaster for BBC London and Richard Lewis, RFL Chairman.

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