Parliamentary Rugby League Group Campaign forces BBC to review Local Radio proposals

Sent by Mark Ramsdale Ltd on behalf of the Parliamentary Rugby League Group,

Lord Patten today (25 January 2012) announced that he has instructed the BBC to review its proposals for Local Radio services.  He has also made clear to BBC staff that his decision was due to the undue effect on sport.  Today’s announcement comes on the back of the Parliamentary Rugby League Group’s campaign to highlight both the impact of the proposals and the way in which the BBC and BBC Trust conducted its review.

In particular the BBC Trust had asked the BBC to review three key areas:

    -To scale back plans for local radio to share programmes in the afternoon;

    -To ensure that local stations have “an adequately staffed newsroom”; and

    -To protect specialist content outside peak times – for example local sports or specialist music shows.

Specifically, the Trust has asked the Executive to find ways to scale back the proposed changes to BBC Local Radio and that “ways are found to continue to protect more specialist and distinctive local content out of peak. Alongside local news and information, the evening and weekend schedules of many local radio stations carry unique or specialist local content that is of particular value to their audience – for instance sports coverage that has a particular resonance in a particular area such as rugby league and football.”

After the BBC first announced the consultations, the Parliamentary Rugby League Group held a meeting in November 2011 with a panel of BBC executives, broadcasters and the RFL to discuss the issue and set in motion a course of action which has ultimately yielded the result today.  The Group worked to ensure other Parliamentarians were aware of the effect the cuts would have on their constituencies and other sports and, working alongside the RFL, put together a promotional campaign which saw rugby league fans submit the largest number of responses to the BBC in what has been recorded as the most responded-to Delivering Quality First consultation ever.

On hearing the news, Group Chairman, Member of Parliament for Leeds North West Greg Mulholland said “this is fantastic news for fans of all sport and particularly rugby league because of the importance genuine local radio plays in the game.  I am delighted that this Group of MPs has delivered this positive result for what is ultimately a very important issue for sports fans throughout the UK.

“We in the Group recognise that increasing budget constraints as well as having to absorb the cost of other services means the BBC is facing some tough choices.  But the proposals were ill-considered.  Therefore, I applaud Lord Patten’s decision today and we in the Group look forward to working with the BBC to ensure that fans will be able to enjoy local broadcasts of their favourite sports.”

More information about the Parliamentary Rugby League Group can be found on the Group’s website:

Lord Patten’s speech can be found here

The BBC Trust’s interim findings are here

The Group’s response to the proposals can be found at

To view the previous implications of the BBC proposals, visit

Daniel Andruczyk’s email:
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9 Responses to “Parliamentary Rugby League Group Campaign forces BBC to review Local Radio proposals”

  1. Chris Sanders says:

    If it wasn’t for the BBC there would be no Rugby League and go and ask Alex Murphy??He tells the truth!

  2. Chris Sanders says:

    We are talking about the early years when there was nothing around like Sky TV!From 1958 to 78 television saved Rugby League in the North of England.It created heroes and household names like,Alex Murphy,Vince Karalius,Alan Prescott,Neil Fox,Billy Boston,Tom Van Vollenhoven,Gerry Round,Alan Skene,Jan Prinslow,Rocky Turner,Eric Ashton,Tommy”the Pip”Bishop,Cliff Watson,Ray French,Alan Hardisty,Brian Bevan,Colin Dixon,Mel Reilly,Dai Watkins,Bev Risman and a host of other World Class players of that generation!It was an unlimited conveyor belt of talent that has never,ever been repeated in the British Game!
    We owe these Immortals a lot as GB Rugby League was top of the Pops and the game was rock solid!
    Those earlier Pioneers laid the foudations which has made our game Great!!

    • druzik says:

      Gawd … In those years all sports were jumping on the TV bandwago. You could apply that logic to Soccer, Union, Cricket etc…

      It was great that the BBC did jump on board, but one reason they did was that RL was a more national sport back then.

      Dropping names like that really does not push any point, only that you know former players names.

  3. Streetcowboy says:

    As an expat living in Malaysia, the only way I get British rugby league is on local radio via the internet.


  4. Crimpo says:

    Druzik – with all due respect RL was definitely NOT ‘a more national sport back then’ in England (let alone the UK). It was a classically regional sport with no presence outside its heartlands and it would be wrong to underestimate the value of those national broadcasts back then.

    • druzik says:

      OK, point taken. However I am not underestimating them, its just that TV broadcasting was not exclusive to just Rugby League. All sports were getting on the TV bandwagon, that was my point.

  5. Chris Sanders says:

    You are dead right Crimpo in that Rugby League wasn’t a National Game but Eddie Waring’s style of commentary on the BBC sold our game to a different audience and they were along with a host of fantastic players,the catalyst in turning our whole game around.
    They were the original pioneers!

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