BBC Humberside presenters and staff walk out to halt ‘savage cuts’ to local radio ‘lifeline’

David Burns radio show comes off air early and no Look North with Peter Levy as BBC strike starts.

BBC Humberside presenters and staff have walked out today (Wednesday, March 15) to stop what they said would be savage cuts to local radio. The move has seen radio shows and TV news programmed shelved for the day.

BBC Humberside presenters and staff in the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) started their 24 hour strike at 11am, taking a number of programmes off air. Andy Comfort, NUJ rep for the BBC in Hull, said he and others did not want to see services cut to the bone by sweeping cuts planned for local radio.

Corporation Nations Director Rhodri Talfan Davies said radio would remain a cornerstone of local life and plans to shift resources to its online operations would help connect with more people. The walkout comes after the BBC unveiled plans to cut back on local radio programmes in October.

It also coincides with a national trade union day of action on Budget Day. Workers including teachers and junior doctors are among those on strike.

The proposals would see dedicated local programmes end after 2pm on weekdays, after which content would be shared with nearby stations until 10pm. Stations would broadcast England-wide shows after 10pm and on Sunday afternoons, apart from sports commentaries which would remain local.

BBC Radio Humberside would share an editor with BBC Radio York and some programmes with the broadcaster’s Lincolnshire station if the plans go ahead. The weekend Great Outdoors programme would be among those lost to regional shows shared between Humberside, Leeds, York, Sheffield and Lincolnshire.

Around 48 jobs are expected to be lost across local BBC teams as a result of the proposals, according to the NUJ. In Hull, presenters and staff are set to picket outside the broadcaster’s Queens Gardens offices.