Rochdale MP Paul Rowen has been joined by Liberal Democrat Colleagues including fellow Greater Manchester MPs Mark Hunter (Cheadle) and John Leech (Manchester Withington) in the fight to save local BBC community radio programmes in Greater Manchester, including "Gaytalk" - currently the BBC's only regular lesbian, gay & bisexual community programme.
"Gaytalk" has now been running for ten years as a weekly half-hour show with news from the local and wider LGBT communities. Other shows in danger include popular Jewish show - "It's Kosher", and Irish show - "The Parlour" which has been running for 21 years. Ironically, there was a huge celebration at last year's Manchester Irish Festival when the UK's longest running Irish Show celebrated its 20th Anniversary.
Paul Rowen MP said, "I am concerned that these shows are under threat, GMR has done a great job for many years catering for community and specialist shows in the Greater Manchester area. If we lose these 3 shows then I fear that GMR will lose part of it's identity. They claim that they will incorporate the 3 shows into their normal schedule under the name "Citizen Manchester. I believe this sends out the wrong message to the people of Greater Manchester and that this looks like happening at the BBC is worrying."
Paul continued, "Coming from Irish Descent I have regularly tuned into The Parlour and the influence of the show in the Irish Community is immense, I am sure that amongst the Jewish and Gay community the influence is similar. BBC GMR should stop looking at listening figures and continue their great tradition of being a Public Service to all communities in Greater Manchester." He has tabled an Early Day Motion in the Commons to draw attention to the issue.
GREATER MANCHESTER RADIO'S COMMUNITY PROGRAMMING CUTS
Rowen, Paul: That this House notes BBC Greater Manchester Radio's (GMR) decision to cut several long-running and successful community programmes including The Parlour, Gaytalk and It's Kosher; further notes that at 21 years old The Parlour is the UK's longest-running Irish show; recognises that such specialist community programmes provide an important service to the people of Greater Manchester; deplores GMR's plans to cut these programmes; and urges the BBC to reconsider its decision.