What on earth is happening to my former employer the BBC?

It seems to keep shooting itself in the foot at an alarming rate.

I’m seriously worried that this great institution of ours is sailing towards some very choppy waters with plenty of icebergs.

Changes to news output, radio and axing much loved programmes is seeing listeners and viewers desert the BBC in their droves.

Some of these changes are forced upon the corporation because of actions by the Conservative government, but not all of them.

Take BBC Local Radio, once heralded by the former director-general, Tony Hall, as the jewel in the crown of the BBC.

It’s now haemorrhaging audience like never before. It’s not the fault of the hard-working staff, who’ve been treated really shabbily, it’s the BBC bosses who have no clue why local radio is so special.

Up and down the country they’ve axed much loved presenters and savagely cut back on local programming. This has resulted in a dreadful drop in audience figures.

East Anglian Daily Times: Mark protested local news cuts at BBC Radio SuffolkMark protested local news cuts at BBC Radio Suffolk (Image: Newsquest)
People like me and industry experts, warned this would happen.

We stood on the picket line to try and stop it but the bosses pushed ahead regardless.

Here in Suffolk figures out this week show our local BBC Radio Suffolk now reaches just 12% of its potential audience. That’s down from its heyday of well over 30% reach.

Yes, there’s more competition now but when commercial broadcasters have long since given up on local, why is the BBC following suit? It should be offering something distinctive and going more local.

Suffolk is different to Norfolk and has nothing in common with London, yet this morning the supposed local breakfast show comes from the capital.

Night times are even worse when we have national shows from Manchester and London.

The market share is down and those who do listen are listening much less.

Pulling away from local is creating an opportunity for smaller stations to pop up and fill that gap. Radio stations like Suffolk Sound, which is based in Felixstowe, are pulling in new listeners all the time.

Some have suggested this is managed decline and we’ll eventually see the BBC pull out of local radio. Others have said Aunty is abandoning its core older audience and is chasing a much younger one. I think it’s both.

Recent changes at Radio 2 back this up, with the departures of Ken Bruce (who’s piling on audience at Greatest Hits Radio), the late Paul O’Grady and the legendary Steve Wright.

I think the present DG has absolutely no idea of the importance of stations like BBC Radio Suffolk.

Look at how it was at the heart of the community during Covid and won many plaudits for its coverage.

At one point it was the Radio Academy radio station of the year and the best BBC Local Radio station in the country.

The BBC is abandoning the audience that wants to know what’s happening locally. They’ll argue it’s all happening online now, but where’s the companionship and fun reading a web page? It’s not all about news!!!

Almost daily I have people saying to me, “What’s happened to BBC Radio Suffolk? I don’t listen anymore”. It’s time the bosses who made these changes started listening to the people who pay their wages.

The BBC News channel seems as if it’s now aimed at the international audience and not a domestic one. When I flick it on, which is much less frequently than I used to, I struggle to find UK news on it. The news channel recently merged with BBC World News and the former seems to have come off worst. I now find myself watching Sky.

Locally, BBC Look East now, because of misplaced cutbacks, features places like Luton and Milton Keynes. That is not East Anglia. Again, people tell me they are now watching Anglia News instead. I don’t care what’s happening at the Corby steelworks!

East Anglian Daily Times: Mark misses DoctorsMark misses Doctors

Even my beloved daytime soap Doctors has been axed. For that time of the day it has great audience figures but even that is not enough to save it.

So, DG, Tim Davie, pause what you’re doing and listen to your licence fee payers. I know the media landscape is changing but don’t abandon your loyal audience.

Oh and bring back Doctors!