Sunday 18 August 2019

Lord Hall: BBC local radio can help fight fake news

The BBC has called off a planned £10 million savings target for local stations.

By Lucy Mapstone and Joe Nerssessian, Press Association

Regional radio can help fight the rise of fake news, the BBC’s director-general Lord Hall has said as he called off funding cuts for stations.

Local radio will enjoy a “renaissance”, Lord Hall promised as a planned £10 million savings target was cancelled.

Speaking at an event to celebrate the 50th anniversary of BBC local radio at Coventry Cathedral, he said changes in the make-up of England’s communities meant the broadcaster’s 39 local radio stations across the country were becoming more important.

Tony Hall (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

“I want to hear the sound of England as it changes. So while other media are becoming creatively less local, I want us to become even more so and to connect with our audiences in new ways,” he said.

“For many years the BBC has been reducing its investment in local radio. The development of new technology and the growth of smartphones has seen many people getting their local news, weather and traffic information digitally,” Lord Hall added.

“But the rise of digital technology has also seen the rise of fake news, not just on a global level but on a local one as well. That’s why the role of BBC local radio is actually becoming more important – not less.

“Local radio should be for everybody. It’s there to serve the Facebook generation every bit as much as the rest of us,” he added.

Further details over the calling off of the planned £10 million savings target will be confirmed next year.

PA Media

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