Did you know that Dorset is the only county in the south of England without its own BBC Local Radio Station! Unlike Cornwall, Devon, Somerset, Wiltshire, Hampshire etc. And several of our neighbouring counties have similar populations to Dorset!
This is totally unacceptable!
12 August 2020 New Chairman for DBG
In August last year, Chris Burns, the lady in charge of BBC local radio in England, told Sir Oliver Letwin, in the strictest confidence on the phone, that she had submitted a bid for a full BBC Radio Dorset! He was assured a couple of months later by Jason Horton that it was in the system, but it would take time. This was great news! However, the reason we have had nothing to say since then, is that we have been waiting to learn the outcome. Months went by with no news. Sir Oliver Letwin stepped down as Chairman of DBG as he was no longer an MP. Still we heard nothing nor would they tell us anything. But it was clear the bid had been rejected before or at around the time Covid 19 came along (very convenient).
We now have a new Chairman in the form of Chris Loder, the new MP for West Dorset. He is very keen on the issue of local radio, or the lack of it! The first thing he did was to simplify the name of DorBAG to the Dorset Broadcasting Group (DBG).
Because of the Norovirus, we have had two small meetings by video during which time he has been exploring/understanding the situation and reviewing all possible actions. This process continues, and he has already been in communication with both Chris Burns and Jason Horton. He has made clear he is determined to get us full local radio! Watch this space!
25 February 2020 BBC Survey by Chris Loder MP
Chris Loder, the new MP for West Dorset, is concerned that BBC services used by rural communities -such as local radio and the Red Button – are threatened, and that the focus on online delivery is mis-directed. He has set up an online survey (link here) to seek your views. DBG is contacting him to encourage him to support its long-running campaign for local radio in West Dorset, and to update him on recent discussions with the BBC.
DBG’s aim is to convince the BBC that it must provide a full-time, countywide Dorset BBC local radio station, partly as a resilience measure in the event of emergencies and partly to strengthen and sustain communications and promote the County amongst ourselves and to the outside world.
The Dorset Broadcasting Group (DBG) is Chaired by Chris Loder MP with an Executive Committee comprising Dorset County, Borough, District, town and Parish council representatives, Dorset Federation WI, Dorset CLA, Dorset Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Dorset NFU, Dorset LEP-REG plus a number of other group representatives & experts.
The BBC has treated Dorset with total disdain over the years and seems to have no intention of resolving the problems to the residents’ satisfaction.
However, some good news is that, following the appointment of Jason Horton as Head of BBC South, & with pressure from DBG, things changed. In July 2013, Jason launched an excellent “Breakfast in Dorset” programme from 06:30 to 09:00 each weekday. A new team was established in Dorchester’s upgraded and expanded studio to produce the programme. The programme is broadcast from the Bincombe Hill transmitter (between Dorchester & Weymouth) on FM (103.8FM). It is also transmitted on Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) as well as being carried on BBC IPlayer & Freeview Channel 734. But most of West Dorset, i.e. west of Dorchester, cannot receive signals from any of the transmitters, FM or DAB!
And it is an early morning programme only, unlike other counties. After that, it reverts to BBC Radio Solent, which covers (mostly) Hampshire, the Isle of Wight and East Dorset. So it is not a full-time dedicated station for Dorset, and it does not cover all of the county either.
DBG is an a-political community initiative.