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Home service is not Beeb all and end all

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Far be it from me to tell any other organisation how to advertise itself, but one always feels one has something of a stakeholder’s prerogative when it comes to the BBC.

After all we do all essentially pay a tax to fund it, so, no doubt spuriously, one can feel rather entitled to offer advice on occasion.

After all, it is the National Broadcaster and as such should be celebrated, of course, and supported, especially when Culture minister Nadine Dorries is reportedly making threats against its funding for having the temerity to hold a waffling PM to account on the Today programme.


But what has caught my eye, well, ear really, is the oft-repeated promo currently being played to death on BBC Radio Norfolk extolling the local nature of its staff.

One by one, familiar voices from the station (familiar to those that listen, that is) line up to say that the statement “Why are there no local presenters on Radio Norfolk?, is wrong.

It turns out that it is bursting with them. Sprowston, Stalham (several times), Gorleston, Thorpe are all name-checked among others, although it has to be said that in this inward-looking celebration of parochialism, West Norfolk seems conspicuous by its absence, but that is by the by.

I won’t go so far as to say the promo has irked me as such, although the fact I’m writing this may perhaps argue against that, I’ll concede, but it does strike me that it is all a bit Royston Vasey - Local Radio for and by Local People.

Leaving aside the fact that the whole point of BBC Radio Local Radio is that it doesn’t carry adverts (unlike the poor suckers such as Greatest Hits Radio, West Norfol Radio or KL-1 who need them to pay the salaries and rent) yet they insist on cramming airtime with ersatz ones such as this in what can only be an attempt to sound like their rivals, the stone in the shoe causing irritation is that this has obviously been done in an attempt to respond to some perceived criticism.

Has this come via a focus group or just from below the line comments on Facebook and Twitter?

Whatever, can I just say, perhaps rather crudely, come on BBC, grow a pair. What does it matter where your staff come from? And how on earth does that square up with your diversity pledges. Norfolk is 96.5 per cent white, well above the national average for England. Good luck with filling your diversity targets in Stalham.

I have now lived well over more than half my life in Norfolk and very wonderful it is too, but I like to think that it is where you are going and not where you come from that matters.

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