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BBC to scrap £10m cuts to local radio, says Lord Hall

From BBC - November 8, 2017

The BBC is to scrap its plan to cut 10m from its local radio budget, in a bid to become "more local", director general Lord Hall has said.

Speaking at an event marking the 50th birthday of BBC local radio, he promised a "renaissance" for the broadcaster's 39 regional stations.

He said the savings target - previously announced after a review of the BBC's local services -had been cancelled.

The BBC will instead invest in local radio to boost creativity, he added.

Speaking at the event in Coventry, Lord Hall said local radio was becoming "more important, not less" and held a key role in battling fake news.

"I am a director general who believes in local radio," 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."

Facebook generation

With many of the radio stations operating on reduced budgets over the past decade, a number of distinctive local shows and presenters were dropped from their evening slots and replaced by a "shared broadcast" across all of England's stations.

A BBC statement said this show, currently presented by Georgey Spanswick, would be ending and there would be a return to "local programming".

Lord Hall said: "Local Radio is in the DNA of our communities. I think that is more important than ever.

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