BBC responds to radio host's accusation of 'censoring' cuts criticism
Local radio has been hit by recent cost-saving measures.
The BBC has responded to a controversy over a recent broadcast by Radio Norfolk host Sophie Little, who branded recent cuts to local stations as "ableist" and "ageist".
The presenter was kicking off the final edition of her series Treasure Quest, when she made an impassioned speech against the recent cost-cutting measures that would lead to a reduction in exclusive station output.
"These cuts are unbelievably unfair to those who need local public service broadcasting the most," said Little. "Those who are lonely and isolated; or those who are unable to leave their house; or unable to use the internet; or unable to pay for broadband or smart devices."
She continued: "Those who... truly rely on it to keep going. And if you think that sounds dramatic, I wish you could be privy to some of the conversations I've had with listeners in recent weeks. They have reduced me to tears."
In June, BBC director general Tim Davie defended the changes to local radio as being "the right thing", but admitted they are "very difficult and unpopular" (via BBC News).
The archived version of Treasure Quest on BBC Sounds does not include the aforementioned excerpt, prompting Little to share on X (formerly known as Twitter) that "the BBC have decided to cut out something I said on my final radio show".
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She accompanied the message with a recording of her speech from the radio archive account Aircheck Downloads, calling it "censorship of [her] words" in a follow-up post.
RadioTimes.com reached out for comment from the BBC on the cuts to local radio and Little's social media post.
A BBC spokesperson said: "All 39 BBC Local Radio stations including Radio Norfolk will continue to provide local programming throughout the week.
"We are passionate about serving local communities but Local Radio is just one of the ways we reach our audiences. We are modernising our local services so that however licence fee payers choose to get their local information, we’ll be there across radio, television and online for many years to come.
“Part of this programme has been edited since broadcast for editorial reasons and this is made clear on the programme’s BBC Sounds page."
The description of this Treasure Quest episode on BBC Sounds reads: "Sophie Little, Julie Reinger and you take on the Questmaster's clues for the very last time after 15 years of Treasure Questing. This programme has been edited since broadcast."
Speaking to a House of Commons committee in June, Davie said of the proposed cuts to local radio: "We understand and are listening and have already made some adjustments to our plans to make sure we're making the right choices with very limited money."
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