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smart maconie 'I know how good Radio Cumbria is and how valuable and valued it is in this big, wild county' declare my hand immediately. This column will have absolutely no pretence at objectivity since I am completely and unashamedly partisan about the subject of it, which is radio. I'm biased. I love it. I : about six digital radios in the house so that I can listen r>ed, in the bath and all points in rtr.veen. Give or take the odd thing on 35C4, Only Connect and The Killing i i y . I could happily never look at a T V : . At least that way I'd be sure of r.tver unexpectedly coming across >_~on Cowell, Jeremy Clarkson or


Hartsop. But what links many of them is a great local radio station that provides a dedicated and focused backdrop to daily lives for at least some of their day. A n d at times of both crisis and celebration - the devastating floods of recent years, Carlisle United's triumphs - it really comes into its own. So I think the axe being swung at BBC local radio in general - and at Radio Cumbria in particular, since they are CUMBRIA facing cuts substantially deeper than most - is being wielded shortsightedly and maybe immorally. When the Prime Minister declares that he finds the thought of cutting the BBC 'delicious', that tells you everything you need to know about just how fairly, objectively and reasonably these decisions are made. I don't find it delicious. I find it backward and damaging.

: : r:s Johnson and ruining my tea. A l l kinds of radio too. Speech and —, highbrow and lowbrow, the "X^rld Service and, thanks to the :.-:emet and those smart cookies at rple, podcasts galore and the treasure r ". e that is National Public Radio in America. In fact, there are only two

A n d though Cumbria county councillor Liz Mallinson meant well when she attacked the cuts, I'm kind of disappointed at some of her reasoning, which is that the B B C is spending too Employees at BBC Radio Cumbria on the picket line outside the Annetwell Street, Carlisle, much money on foreign coverage to the studios in July during a protest over detriment of home communities. "Why, compulsory redundancies for goodness sake, is the B B C sending a team out to Greece to cover the debt crisis? H o w much does that cost? It's : 1:1 see that these stations have a job to about time the BBC reshaped what it do and do it to the delight of many. does with money." Also, I don't listen to a lot of B B C I'll tell you why Councillor. Because '. real radio but again, that's no the Greek debt crisis threatens to engulf reflection on the quality of local radio, us all. World events impact on us, ana ust that I'm a peripatetic soul who's even if they don't we should know and never in one place long enough. But I care about them whether we're in .•now how important local radio is and Whitehall or Whitehaven. Local doesn't in particular how uniquely brilliant have to mean small-minded or parochial. BBC Radio Cumbria is. I know this It can mean engaged, informed but personal and intimate. because Gordon Swindlehurst has told me many times. And it should be preserved. Go to Save BBC Radio Ally joking. I've appeared on many Radio Cumbria Cumbria on Facebook to find details about the BBC's shows in recent years with a whole host of presenters consultation procedures and how you can make your voice including the shy and enigmatic recluse that is Gordon heard. Swindlehurst and I know how good it is and how .•ends of radio that I don't really listen ::• a great deal, and that is more to do ith me than any failing of theirs. I i :n't listen to many commercial pop networks as, to be honest, there're too —any adverts for Autoglass windscreens and not enough obscure h-ban progressive rock for me. But I


'Set against the most beautiful countryside in England are people leading many different lives... what links many of them is a great local radio station'

valuable and valued it is in this big, wild county. It's a county of contrasts. Set against the most beautiful countryside in England are people leading many different lives, from teenagers in Workington to pensioners in Grange, from retired butchers in M i l l o m to sculptors in

Writer and broadcaster Stuart Maconie copresents Radcliffe and Maconie on 6 Music. He lives in the midlands and near Penrith. His new book Hope and Glory has just been published

December 2011


DQF Article  

Article by Stuart Maconie making the case why the cuts to local radio are so misguided

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