NEWS RELEASE

RELEASE DATE: 6 MARCH 2009

Plans by the Local Radio Company to produce local news for ten stations, from a central “hub” have been condemned by the Chartered Institute of Journalists as “shoddy and damaging cost-cutting”.

TLRC has begun a consultation exercise about the proposals – which would effect its ten southern stations as far afield as Hastings and Dorchester to Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire, and could see the loss of up to 12 jobs.

Chairman of the Institute’s Broadcasting Division Paul Leighton – formerly a Head of News at Aylesbury – described as “specious nonsense”, the Company’s claim that the move would “make the local news sound more closely integrated with the rest of the station’s output”.

He said “The growing use of “news-hubs” by independent radio stations as a form of cost-cutting undermines locally accountable editorial responsibility and can only damage genuinely local news coverage. What’s more it clearly runs counter to the intentions of Parliament when it first agreed to the establishment of independent local radio”.

The Institute – which has members throughout the independent sector and the BBC – is calling on OFCOM to investigate whether stations served by news-hubs are meeting the Format obligations to which they signed up, or are fulfilling their responsibility to provide a decent service of local news.

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Notes to Editors:

Formed in 1884, the Chartered Institute of Journalists (CIoJ) is the world’s oldest established professional body for journalists, and a representative voice of media and communications professionals throughout the UK, Ireland and the Commonwealth.

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