The essential journalist news source


ANGRY protesters and MPs today slammed the BBC over cutbacks to 39 local radio stations - as the public were urged to join the fight by downloading a protest song.

The proposals by BBC bosses would force local radio stations to share content after 2pm and at weekends. The plans have been branded as discriminatory towards the elderly and disabled and have been criticised in Parliament.

Protesters today(Monday, July 3rd 2023)attended 10 Downing Street to hand in a petition which was organised by the National Federation of the Blind of the UK (NFBUK) and backed by over 220 local organisations and at least 40 MPs from across all parties (see list below).

The NFBUK, the National Union of Journalists and concerned musicians are calling up the public to download a song called'Need My Local Radio'by Scots-based singer Beldon Haigh. If the track gets into the download charts, protestors say the BBC may be forced to give it airplay. All profits from the song  - which can be downloaded at - are being donated to the NFBUK.

Andrew Hodgson, President of the NFBUK, said: "The NUJ, the NFBUK and more than 220 other supporting organisations are calling on all lovers of local radio and music to download Beldon Haigh's song Need My Local Radio, a tune of love and in support of the joys, value and place in the community of local radio - and a plea to the BBC to think again."

Singer Beldon Haigh, who was among the delegation that attended Downing Street, said: "As a musician I care passionately about the BBC,it's always held a special place in the hearts of the UK communities and given a means of expression to local musicians and other artists.It's been said in Parliament that the BBC is effectively trying to get rid of local radio. This would be a terrible loss for entire communities, especially for the vulnerable and the lonely. I've been told that people within the BBC may be scared to speak out so I hope this song is a way of giving a voice to everybody who is affected.

"Local Radio is a key part of the UK cultural eco-system and is worth investing into and protecting. The proposed cuts don't seem to consider that.  The presenters in these regions are much loved and cherished but that special relationship also appears to be under threat, all in the name of a perception of digital progress. I thought that the government was trying to level up Britain, but cutting back on local content and local presenters isn't levelling anything up. Quite the reverse in my opinion."

Sarah Gayton, Campaign Coordinator for the NFBUK, said: "Making these cruel cuts and changes to the daily schedules will isolate people who are already marginalised from society and disconnect them from what is happening where they live. The proposed changes will result in the afternoon and weekend shows being shared across regions, and late night shows being replaced with a national show, with many presenters losing their jobs. This will rip the heart and soul out of local public broadcasting."

Paul Siegert, NUJ National Broadcasting Organiser, said: "So far BBC bosses have been tone deaf to the criticism about their plans to try and kill off local radio so it's time to turn up the volume of the campaign. We are urging everyone to spend a pound and download the song. Let's get it in the charts and make it impossible for BBC radio stations to refuse to play it."

Campaigners say that the BBC - which traditionally purports to champion transparency - is guilty of secrecy and double standards over the proposals.

Sarah Gayton said: "The NFBUK asked for the BBC's Equality Impact Assessment and a Public Value Test on the proposed changes through a Freedom of Information request but the BBC said it was exempt from providing this information."

On May 25, 'Need My Local Radio' was uploaded to BBC Introducing. BBC radio stations were contacted and asked to consider playing it.

* You can download 'Need My Local Radio' via major platforms or by visiting or use the following QR Code:






Supporting MPs So Far:

Sarah Champion MP Rotherham 

Simon Fell MP Barrow and Furness

Helen Morgan MP North Shropshire

Bell Ribeiro-Addy MP Streatham

Dame Caroline Dinenage MP Gosport

Bob Blackman MP Harrow East

Emma Hardy MP Hull West and Hessle

Henry Smith MP Crawley

Robin Walker MP Worcester

10 Ben Bradshaw MP Exeter

11 Paul Blomfield MP for Sheffield Central

12 Claudia Webbe MP Member of Parliament for Leicester East 

13Ian Byrne MP Liverpool West Derby

14 Derek Thomas MP West Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly (St Ives)

15 Nadia Whittome, MP for Nottingham East

16Sir John Lewis MP, New Forest East

17Diana Johnson MP, Kingston upon Hull, North

18Wera Hobhouse MP, Bath

19 Kim Johnson MP,  Liverpool Riverside

20 Richard Foord MP, Tiverton & Honiton

21 Duncan Baker MP North Norfolk

22 Jo Gideon MP  Stoke-on-Trent Central

23 Tim Farron MP, Westmorland and Lonsdale

24 Rachael Maskell MP, York Central

25Andrew Lewer MBE MP, Northampton South

26Grahame Morris MP, Easington

27Peter Dowd MP, Bootle

28Zarah Sultana MP,  Coventry South

29Mick Whitley MP, Birkenhead

30Peter Aldous MP, Waveney

31Sir Peter Bottomley, Worthing West

32John McDonnell, Hayes

33Andy McDonald, Middlesborough

34Rebecca Long-Bailey, Salford

35Ian Byrne, Liverpool West Derby

36Mike Amesbury, Weaver Vale

37Emma Lewell-Buck, South Shields

38Robin Walker, Worcester

39Martin Vickers, Cleethorpes

40Valerie Vaz, Walsall South

Supporting Lords So Far:

1 Lord Cashman CBE

2 Claire Fox, Baroness Fox of Buckley

3 Lord Blunkett

4 Lord Holmes

5 Baroness Lister of Burtersett

6 Lord Smith of Finsbury, Master of Pembroke College, Cambridge .

Supporting Organisations So Far:

1 National Pensioners Convention

2 Access Committee for Leeds

3 Action Disability Kensington and Chelsea (ADKC)

4 Action Hampshire

5 Action on Disability London

6 Age Concern Liverpool & Sefton

7 Age Concern North Norfolk

8 Age UK Birmingham

9 Age UK Bolton

10 Age UK Bradford District

11 Age UK Gloucestershire

12 Age UK Lancashire

13 Age UK Portsmouth

14 Age UK Sandwell

15 Age UK Staffordshire

16 Alström Syndrome UK and Breaking Down Barriers

17 Atherstone District Gateway Club

18 Avon Talking Magazine

19 Avril Coelho Creations

20 Aylesbury Talking Newspaper

21 BaNES Third Sector Group (3SG)

22 Barnardo's Child & Family Centres, Peterborough and Cambridgeshire

23 Barnsley CVS

24 Bedfordshire Branch NARPO National Association of Retired Police Officers

25 Better Lives, Knowsley

26 Beyond Sight Loss

27 Blackburn and District Blind Society

28 BlindAid, London

29 Bolton Newstalk Sensory Centre

30 Boston and South Holland Talking Newspaper

31 Bowls Hampshire

32 Breathing Space

33 Bristol Older People's Forum

34 Bromley District Talking News

35 Buxton Talking Newspaper

36 Calderdale Forum 50 Plus

37 Camsight


39 CHAT2Us Gosport

40 Chelmsford Area Access Group

41 Chelmsford Talking Newspaper


43 Chippenham & District Talking Newspapers

44 Chorley Sightseekers

45 Chronic Illness Inclusion

46 Communities 1st

47 Community Action Malvern & District

48 Community Action Sutton

49 Connected Voice Newcastle upon Tyne

50 Copeland Talking Newspaper

51 County Durham Talking Newspaper

52 Coventry Resource Centre for the Blind

53 Craven Cassette (Talking newspaper charity)

54 Cross key homes

55 Cumbria CVS Council for Voluntary Service

56 Darlington Talking Newspaper Newspaper

57 Devon in Sight

58 disAbility Cornwall & Isles of Scilly

59 Dorset Blind Assocation

60 Durham Branch National Association Of Retired Police Officers

61 Earth Balance Shed, Bedlington

62 East Cheshire Eye Society

63 East Shropshire Talking Newspaper

64 East Sussex Vision Support

65 Eastbourne Blind Society

66 Eastleigh Mens Shed

67 Elmbridge Runnymede and Spelthorne Talking Newspaper

68 Esme's Umbrella (the charity dedicated to people who develop Charles Bonnet Syndrome after sight loss)


70 Evesham Volunteer Centre

71 Forest Sensory Services

72 Forest Talk, Talking Newspaper for the Blind in the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire

73 Friends Through Pain

74 Galloways Support Through Sight Loss

75 Goalball UK

76 Gosport Access Group and Disability Forum

77 Gosport Partners through Pain

78 Gosport U3a

79 Gosport Voluntary Action

80 Greater Manchester Coalition of Disabled People

81 Hackney CVS (Hackney Council for Voluntary Service)

82 Hackney Disability BackUp

83 Hambleton Community Action, Northallerton

84 Harrogate & District Community Action

85 Hart Voluntary Action, Hampshire

86 Havant Talking News

87 Wycombe Talking Newspaper

88 Headway Tamworth and Lichfield Brain Injury Support Group

89 Heart of England Mencap

90 Henshaws Society for the Blind

91 Herefordshire Federation WI

92 Humberside National Association of Retired Police Officers

93 Inclusion London

94 Inclusive Farm Northampton

95 Inclusive Norwich

96 Iscatape, Talking Newspaper in Exeter

97 iSightCornwall

98 Keighley and District Talking Newspaper

99 KickBack Recovery Community CIO

100 Kings Lynn Talking Newspaper association

101 Kingston Talking Newspaper

102 York Talking News

103 Leicester Disabled People's Access group

104 Lewes and District Talking Newspaper

105 Lincoln & Lindsey Blind Society

106 London Sports Club for the Blind

107 London to Morocco

108 Luton All Women's Centre

109 Macular Society

110 Maidenhead & District Talking Newspaper for the Blind

111 March Talking Newspaper for the Blind

112 MertonVision

113 Middlesex Association for the Blind

114 Mothers' Union Diocese of Leicester

115 My Sight Notts

116 My Sight Team Yorkshire Coast Sight Support

117 My Sight York

118 My Vision Oxfordshire

119 N-Vision, Blackpool

120 Nantwich Show

121 National Association of Disabled Staff Networks (NADSN)

122 New Earswick Disabled Swimming Club

123 Newcastle Vision Support

124 Northampton Mencap

125 Northern Academy of Performing Arts, Hull

126 Nottingham Community and Voluntary Serivce

127 Nova Wakefield District Ltd

128 One Westminster

129 Open Sight Hampshire

130 Otley & District Talking News

131 Outlookers

132 Oxford & District Talking Newspaper for the Blind

133 Oxford and District Amateur Radio Society

134 Oxford Talking Newspaper (Oxtalk)

135 Oxfordshire Community and Voluntary Action

136 Paston Farm Community Foundation

137 Plymouth & West Devon Talking Newspaper

138 Pocklington Lodge TA Committee

139 Pontefract and Castleford Talking Newspaper

140 Possibility People

141 Redditch Assocation for the Blind

142 Ringwood & Fording Bridge Talking News

143 RNIB

144 Rossendale Talking Newspaper

145 SACMHA Health and Social Care, Sheffield

146 Sandwell Talking News

147 Sandwell Visually Impaired (SVI)

148 Secretary, Gosport Older Person's Forum

149 Sheffield Mencap & Gateway

150 Sheffield Royal Society for the Blind

151 Sid Vale and East Devon Talking Newspaper

152 Sight and Mind CIC

153 Sight for Surrey

154 Sight Support Derbyshire

155 Sight Support Hull & East Yorkshire

156 Sight Vision Support

157 Silver Voices

158 Solihull Borough Talking Newspaper

159 Soundwaves talking newspaper

160 South Lakes Talking Newspaper Association

161 Southampton Area Talking Echo

162 Southampton Sight

163 Southport Talking Newspaper

164 St Albans & District Talking Newspaper

165 Support 4 Sight

166 Surrey Coalition of Disabled People


168 Talking News Federation

169 Teentalk CIC

170 The Blaydon Shed

171 The Burton Street Foundation

172 The Dawlish and Teignmouth Area Talking Newspaper (Hear and Now)

173 The Meerbrook Park Users Trust

174 The Partially Sighted Society

175 The Plough Arts Centre. Great Torrington, Devon

176 The School of Artisan Food, Nottinghamshire

177 Thomas Pocklington Trust

178 Vision Norfolk

179 Vision Support, Chester

180 Vista Leicestershire

181 Visually Impaired in Camden

182 Visually Impaired Society of Richmond

183 Voluntary Action Sheffield

184 Voluntary Action Swindon

185 Voluntary Support North Surrey

186 Volunteer Cornwall

187 Volunteer Link Up (West Oxon)

188 VONNE Voluntary Organisations' Network North East

189 Wakefield District Sight Aid

190 Walsall Society for the Blind

191 Wandsworth Blind Bowling Club

192 Warwickshire Bowls Association

193 Waveney Words

194 Weston Retired Bowls England

195 Wiltshire Federation of Women's Institutes

196 Winchester and District Talking Newspaper

197 WinVisible women with visible and invisible disabilities

198 Wirral Society of the Blind and Partially Sighted

199 Witney Talking News

200 Woking Talking Newspaper (1988) Association

201 Women in Rural Enterprise WIRE

202 Worcester Talking Newspaper, (Worcester News and Equipment Services for the Blind)

203 New Milton & New Forest Talking Newspaper

204 Greenstede Talking News

205 Havering Talking Newspaper

206 Windsor Talking Newspaper (RCN 271879)

207 Reading's Talking news

208 Rugby Talking Newspaper

209 St Edmundsbury Newstalk

210 Greenwich Talking Newspaper Association

211 Kenilworth, Warwick and Leamington Spa Talking Newspaper

212 BDAN, Bedford and District Audio News

213 Birmingham Talking Newspapers for the Blind and Visually Impaired (BTNBVI)

214 Vision Support Barrow and Districts

215 Trowbridge Talking News

216 Talking News Islington for the Blind

217 Wallingford & District Talking Newspaper

218 Disability Rights UK

219 Guide Dogs for the Blind Association

220 Hertfordshire Federation of WI's

221 Eastbourne Talking Newspaper Association