UK Radio: Shameful Regional Bias

 Those of us involved in the world music scene have long known that we're low on the priority of governments and other decision makers when it comes to the arts or media. It follows that any bias in that most wonderful of media formats, radio, affects us even more.  

So, finding out that the sheer scale of regional bias in distributing the money generated from the annual licence fee just adds insult to injury.  And if - like us - you come from the the heartlands of the English Midlands, it couldn't be worse.

Get this: the Midlands area (which for licence fees purposes includes East Anglia) has 25% of the UK population, yet receives less than 2% of BBC operational expenditure.  That's a mere 2.5% of BBC overall budget to service one quarter of the UK's population.The lowest 'in-region' expenditure per licence fee payer.  No wonder there's so little programme making in the Midlands and so many job losses.

We hand over a whopping £912 million every year and get back... less than £100 million.  The balance - over 800 million (just think if that got to stay here!) - goes to the BBC centre.  The Midlands contributes more to London than anywhere else - even more than the money raised from London itself!  

And yet - and here's the killer figure - The BBC spends an outrageous £895 per licence fee payer in London and a shameful, totally unjustifiable £16 per licence fee payer in the Midlands!  £895 versus £16.  Really?

Ok, maybe you don't live in the Midlands, so you think it's not a problem for you.  Take a look at the regional figures below: 

LONDON - £895

WALES - £125






Feel better now?  Didn't think so.  So what can you do?  Complain.  The Campaign for Regional Broadcasting Midlands are off to Westminster on Tue 19th March for a meeting with the West Midlands Labour MPs.  They're asking the public to write to their MPs and get this injustice put onto the agenda. Here's a link to a site to find out your MP and email them:  

They're also taking a petition to Tony Hall (the new Director General) and Lord Patten (Chair of the BBC Trust) and asking for people to sign it and to spread the news to their friends.  The petition is at  Alternatively contact the Campaign for Regional Broadcasting Midlands here:

BBC expenditure directly affects radio expenditure and that affects what the public get to hear.  World music wins or loses by the decisions taken in London.

[Facts and figures taken from the Campaign for Regional Broadcasting Midlands and]