The General Secretary (GS) has written to the Controller of the English Regions at the BC following news that the Celtic Fringe radio programme will be taken off air at the end of this month.
In his letter the GS says that regional radio helps to ‘pull together communities’ and this could be no truer than what the Celtic Fringe radio programme does for the dispersed Irish community. The last show is planned to be aired on 29th December 2010 19:00-21:00 (BMT) and a link to listen live can be found at the bottom of the page. The full text of the letter can be found below.
Celtic League Branch Secs, members and newsgroup subscribers are asked to add their voices to this protest by writing individually to the `Controller English Regions’ at the address below:
Dear David Holdsworth
Celtic Fringe Radio
I was disappointed to hear that the BBC has decided to axe the above regional radio programme, which is to broadcast for the last time on 29th December 2010 on BBC East Midlands.
The Celtic Fringe programme has provided community radio for almost a generation of listeners. It has also provided regular entertainment to a wide variety of listeners from across the world and I first heard about the Celtic Fringe programme from a member of the League in Australia. It truly seems a shame that BBC English Regions sees fit to take off air a community radio programme that not only has a regional interest, but a global appeal too.
We are aware that BBC English Regions has undertaken a review of its evening programming in the East Midlands and that it has resulted in the decision that broadcasting hours will be extended, affecting the Celtic Fringe programme. However, as you yourself stated in the ‘BBC Local Radio in England Policy 2010-11’, regional radio is ‘an authentic local voice’ and we feel that the Celtic Fringe programme contributes in no small way to that authenticity. There are many thousands of people of Irish extraction in the Midlands and many more throughout England and the world, who are likely to have some attachment to that particular region. Listening to the distinctive BBC Celtic Fringe radio programme is a way that these people can reconnect with their community. Again in the BBC Local Radio in England Policy 2010-11, you said that regional radio helps to ‘pull together communities’ and this could be no truer than what Celtic Fringe does for the dispersed Irish community.
Moreover, Celtic Fringe provides an opportunity for new and emerging musical talent to receive valuable air time, ‘stimulating creativity and cultural excellence’, as clause 5.3 states of the BBC local radio remit under the BBC Local Radio service Licence as published by the BBC Trust issued 27 March 2009.
In our opinion there are numerous reasons why Celtic Fringe radio should be maintained. James Mckeefry has done a fantastic job with the programme and is a well-respected cultural figure for his work in this area.
We hope that BBC English Regional radio reconsider its decision in this instance and allow the show to continue.
CC Mark Thompson, Director General, BBC”
This article prepared for Celtic News by Rhisiart Tal-e-bot General Secretary
Celtic League. For follow-up comment or clarification contact:
Tel: 0044 (0)1209315884
J B Moffatt (Mr)
Director of Information