News Archive

Here is a list of all the archived news items from 2005 to 2016.

Please note that this archive is currently being re-constructed, and is incomplete.

21/02/2020      Dorset Breakfast Radio Cut Back

What was originally called the Dorset Breakfast Show, but is now simply & irrationally called BBC Radio Solenton 103.8FM has been reduced from 06:30 to 09:00 to 07:00 to 09:00 weekdays. So now we get just 10 hours per week! This despite protests from DorBAG which the BBC has ignored and gone ahead anyway!

In 1993 Dorset had approximately 23 hours per week on 103.8FM! Then we had the cancellation of the 3 hour Big Dorset Brunchon Saturday mornings in August 2016

Dorset is continually having it’s programmes reduced! This is totally unacceptable.

18/10/2019      Meeting In London with the BBC in January

The meeting in London in January 2019 was attended from the BBC by Chris Burns and Jason Horton with Sir Oliver Letwin, Cllr Andrew Parry (Dorset Council), Rupert Best and Ken Pett from DorBAG. It was a useful opportunity to brief Chris Burns on the issues in Dorset, and it was agreed that we would arrange a further meeting in Dorchester with Chris Burns and an engineering expert from the BBC to discuss coverage of West Dorset and other issues.

Subsequently, after some various communications, Sir Oliver Letwin spoke with Chris Burns who asked us to wait until they had completed their investigations before any meeting. We are still waiting!

27/08/2019      Dorchester Studio named by Director General

A BBC radio studio has been named after a listener from Dorset who sent a thank-you card to his local radio station after his death. John Martin from Weymouth, a regular caller to BBC Radio Solent’s Breakfast in Dorset show, arranged for the card to be sent to the team in Dorchester.

BBC Director General Tony Hall cut the ribbon on the Dorchester studio where the show is broadcast on weekday mornings. The BBC news item with the full story can be found  at THIS LINK.

20/01/2019      Meeting with Chris Burns, Head of Local Radio in the BBC

Brief report on initial DorBAG meeting with Chris Burns, Head of Local Radio in the BBC, in London on 8th January, 2019.

Present at meeting: Sir Oliver Letwin, Chris Burns, Jason Horton (Head of BBC South), Rupert Best, Andrew Parry (DCC), Ken Pett.

Sir Oliver outlined the issues i.e. the diabolical history of “BBC Radio Dorset” (Copies issued at the meeting), the need for full radio coverage of the county, and a full county programme as per other counties in the south. The existing, but very short (i.e. only 2.5 hours per weekday), “Breakfast in Dorset” programme was praised, but we needed a full-day programme.

Chris Burns was clearly already fully briefed, and appeared keen to try and resolve the issues. It was agreed that she would:

  1. review the history document we gave her at the meeting.
  2. talk to BBC Distribution about whether DAB plus could help resolve the issue, and what the timeline might be (I very much doubt if this is feasible – it will be years away, unlikely to cover west and north of the county and the problem that those with existing DAB radios cannot receive DAB Plus anyway.
  3. invite someone from the Radio Technology Team to visit DorBAG, so we would have the opportunity to meet and explore the problem of coverage in the west & north (Sherborne) of the county.
  4. review the TSA’s of our existing services – this is the listener statistics system (which, of course, can only show current listeners in the centre and east of the county. Plus, I am not aware of much, if any, publicity to promote it. So am unsure of the worth of the exercise, but she has to start somewhere.
  5. set up a follow up meeting with DorBAG in Dorset in the summer.
  6. we agreed to send her a link to the Ofcom DAB coverage maps showing coverage of Dorset for local radio. As Sir Oliver pointed out, the white bits clearly show the lack of coverage! A link to these pages was sent to her after the meeting.

We will keep the pressure on and keep you informed. Do please let me know if you have any other issues, concerns, queries or suggestions.

Regards.  Ken Pett

20/10/2018      New opportunities for BBC Local Radio in Dorset?

As previously reported, Lord Tony Hall, BBC’s Director General, has moved Local Radio to join Local TV under the wing of Ken MacQuarrie (now Director of Nations and Regions) See the LINK here in order to give it more focus. Following a positive reply to Sir Oliver Letwin’s letter in the spring, Tony Hall asked Ken MacQuarrie to look into the Dorset issue (Tony indicated a degree of sympathy having read our diabolical history of dealings with the BBC!).

Since then, Ken MacQuarrie has replaced the departing David Holdsworth, who was “Head of English Regions”, with Helen Thomas, who has a new and bigger role – Director of BBC England. See this LINK. Note Helen is one of the BBC’s most senior and experienced executives in England and is currently leading the work to reinvent BBC local radio. Prior to that, she was in charge of regional and local programming in Yorkshire, the biggest BBC region. She was heavily involved in the BBC’s successful coverage of Hull UK City of Culture 2017. Perhaps more fertile ground for our case?

We initially understood that Helen Thomas & Ken MacQuarrie would be attending a meeting with DorBAG, but that has changed as Helen has now hired a new Head of Local Radio (a new post initiated by Tony Hall), Chris Burns. As a result Sir Oliver Letwin has arranged a meeting in Westminster with Helen and Chris on 8th January 2019. Oliver will be taking two or three DorBAG representatives.

We will obviously give an update after that meeting and hope we will be able to hold a DorBAG meeting with Helen and the Chris in the spring/early summer next year, by which time we would hope we will be making some real progress.

Tony Hall has been putting more focus on Local Radio to combat fake news see this LINK.

17/10/2018      BBC new Local Radio head announced

DorBAG had planned to have another meeting in the autumn with the BBC to move things forward, but several, hopefully positive, things have happened over the summer that have caused delays.   Ken MacQuarrie, Director of Nations & Regions, has now appointed Helen Thomas to replace David Holdsworth, (Head of English Regions).   Her responsibilities have been increased as reflected in her new Title of “Director of England”.

In addition, Helen has created a new post – Head of “Local Broadcasting for England”.   This is the new role that Tony Hall had mentioned in his initial letter to Oliver Letwin.    We believe she already has a short list and we hope to hear soon.    The BBC, (Helen Thomas with the new hire), has agreed to a meeting with Oliver Letwin and DorBAG representatives in the House of Commons early January.     This meeting has potential to make real progress now they will have a Local Radio boss!

04/04/2018      Ken MacQuarrie to manage Local Radio for the BBC

Ken MacQuarrie, Director of Nations & Regions, has now been tasked by the Director General – Tony Hall – to also manage Local Radio for the BBC to add to his existing portfolio. In addition, Tony Hall asked him to appoint a Head of Local Radio very shortly with the aim of giving Local Radio more focus. There is still no news on this, although it is understood he is about to appoint a replacement for David Holdsworth, Head of English Regions. We are chasing to find out what is going on. DORBAG has great expectations from the new people responsible for BBC Local Radio Braodcasting – let us hope our faith is not misplaced!

Note: No news items were published between 2015 and 2018 due to a hiatus in web site server support.

28/11/2015      You can now listen to BBC Breakfast in Dorset radio programme on IPlayer!!

Great News!  The weekday BBC Breakfast in Dorset local radio programme  is now online on IPlayer – There is a temporary link  until January when the final version will be available.  In the meantime, just click on “See all episodes from BBC Breakfast in  Dorset” and you will get a list of recent dates to listen to.

This now means that everyone in the county of Dorset (and, indeed,  anywhere else), with access to the internet, can now hear the programme – many for the first time!!   The full version should be live by 4th  January, 2016.

We await with interest to hear in March 2016 the results of the BBC  Trust’s public consultation on local radio that closed on 28th September  this year (and many thanks to those of you who submitted your views).

DorBAG continues to fight for full radio coverage too!  Watch this space.

08/07/2015      BBC Trust launches new consultation on Local Radio!

The BBC Trust launched a new consultation on local radio on 6th July.   Deadline for responses online or by post or even phone, is 28th SEPTEMBER 2015.

Despite the uncertainty regarding the Government’s plans to curb the BBC’s finances etc., we must assume that it is most likely that this consultation will not be affected.

It is vitally important that as many residents of Dorset, and hopefully visitors too, will respond strongly regarding the lack of a BBC Radio Dorset station.   DORSET IS THE ONLY COUNTY IN SOUTHERN ENGLAND WITHOUT ONE!!  At the moment, we have a breakfast time only programme on weekdays (103.8FM) and a morning programme on Saturday mornings.

However, THESE DO NOT REACH ALL OF THE COUNTY!  IT COVERS ONLY THE AREAS AROUND DORCHESTER AND WEYMOUTH/PORTLAND!     WHAT IS URGENTLY NEEDED IS ANOTHER TRANSMITTER TO COVER THE REST OF THE COUNTY!   THIS WOULD TRANSFORM the service to everyone.   With another transmitter in place, we should then expect the BBC to give us a full programme i.e. all day as in Cornwall, Devon, Somerset, Wiltshire, Hampshire etc. etc.

Another key issue relates to the lack of News and Emergency announcements in the case of severe weather, major road traffic accidents or closures, or other major/serious events in the county, we all need to know!  You will have seen on TV many times a statement that you should “LISTEN TO YOUR LOCAL RADIO FOR MORE INFORMATION” when, of course, we don’t have one!  Please do respond and encourage everyone else to too.

07/06/2015      Did you know that the new 4G mobile phone system can interfere with your TV?

The following information comes from an organisation called at800, which has been set up under the auspices of the government and funded by the mobile phone operators to deal with any such interference. The method is to apply filters to the antenna system; exactly where, depends upon individual installations.

All frequencies/channels are liable to be interfered with: not just the upper 50s, as reported in the press, but the low 20s are equally vulnerable. This means that those receiving transmissions from Stockland Hill, Rowridge, and Cerne Abbas among others could be adversely affected too.

For those who are affected, at800 will protect the six main multiplexes, but not the new multiplexes being used for local services, nor any of the rebroadcast facilities established to overcome particular local areas where reception was either poor or non-existent. Equally there is no obligation to protect against interference from 4G devices in the home. If a computer, tablet, smartphone is causing interference, then the only remedy is to move outside the property, or stop watching TV!

When at800 are told by mobile phone operator that they are starting to operate from a particular site, properties deemed likely to be affected are sent postcards telling people what to do in the event of their reception being interfered with.  at800 are not told of any testing or commissioning transmissions.

Therefore, the most realistic advice we can offer is wait for the postcards, unless you receive unusual periodic interference, which might be attributable to work on the transmitter sites. In which case, contact at800. The website is, and the telephone numbers are: 0808 13 13 800 and 0333 31 31 8020.

17/04/2015      BBC Trust to issue a new Consultation on Local Radio

The BBC Trust has announced that it is to carry out a new Consultation on Local Radio this year!

This will give everyone the opportunity to have their say, and to emphasise that Dorset is the only County in the south of England without its own BBC Local Radio Station!   It is time we were no longer “underserved” by the BBC.

Watch this space for more news soon!

01/02/2015      BBC says it should ..

Below are extracts from an announcement dated 28th January 2015:

BBC News director James Harding said the BBC must ‘deliver on its mission to inform beyond broadcasting’  BBC News should increase both its local and global coverage and improve its digital services if it is to remain relevant, the corporation has said.

The BBC should “do more to provide local news that properly serves all parts of the UK”, according to a report titled ‘The Future of News’;  BBC News director James Harding said the need for the corporation to keep the public informed in an”exciting, uneven and noisy internet age” was”greater than ever”.  “The BBC is going to have to think about how to deliver on its mission to inform beyond broadcasting” he said.  “It has a singular responsibility to provide the best quality global news coverage to people in the UK and audiences who sorely need it around the world”  He said local news was suffering due to the decline of regional papers, at a time when devolution was shifting power away from Westminster.

“The BBC needs to consider how it can better serve people in the cities, the regions and the four nations of the whole of the UK” said Harding. This must surely strengthen our case for a full BBC Dorset Radio Station?!

10/11/2014      BBC hopes to give Dorset a county-wide radio service for the first time

At a DorBAG committee meeting with the BBC recently, a BBC spokesman confirmed that they plan to bid for an expansion of the present Dorset Breakfast Radio programme, (103.8FM), to ensure it covers all of the county!  It is presently broadcast every weekday morning from 0630 to 0900 and on Saturday there is the Big Breakfast Brunch from 0800 to 1100.

At present, however, these excellent programmes, which come from the Dorchester studios, only cover parts of the county around Dorchester, Weymouth & Portland.   DORSET IS THE ONLY COUNTY IN THE SOUTH OF ENGLAND WITHOUT ITS OWN BBC LOCAL RADIO STATION!!  Neighbouring counties, i.e. Cornwall, Devon, Somerset, Wiltshire and Hampshire (Radio Solent) already have their own full service!   WHY NOT DORSET.

The above proposal is great news, although it very much depends upon the outcome of the BBC Charter review – due late 2015/early 2016.  The decision will also depend upon the BBC Trust.

We anticipate that there will be an opportunity for residents of the county to lobby the Trust, when it seeks comments on their latest plans. But it must be at the right time.   It is important to note that our last lobbying exercise resulted in the Trust approving the bid for  the new Breakfast Programme – which started on 8th July 2013.  So every input/letter can count!!

If you would like to help, please add your name and e-mail address to this web site using the link at the top of this page.   This will enable us to keep you informed of progress.  We will let you know when the time is right, and will also provide information to help you make a strong case.  This campaign needs as much support as possible, if we are to succeed – do please help us to help you.

12/03/2014      BBC and DCC both give interesting details of plans for Dorset

Brief Summary of Meeting with BBC and DCC on 7th March, 2014 -“ Key Points:

1)  BBC are looking to see if they can get the Dorset Breakfast Radio Programme (103.8FM 0630 to 0900 weekdays & 0800 to 1100 on Saturdays) online on the newly extended iPlayer and also on a new scheme to add local radio to Freeview TV.   If this is approved, it would give county-wide coverage for the very first time.   Of course, we are still working with the BBC regarding how to improve radio coverage across the county.

2)  The BBC Charter is to be reviewed in 2016  we might have an opportunity to lobby the BBC Trust, either directly, or via a Trust Consultation, to push for enough funds to give Dorset a proper county-wide radio station as per Cornwall, Devon, Somerset, Wiltshire etc.   We must win this!

3)  In the meantime, BBC Dorset has a new presenter for the Dorset Radio Breakfast Programme  Steve Harris.    He needs you to give him leads on new events/stories etc.

Contact details:
Office Tel:   01305 262

4)  Dorset County Council gave a very interesting, detailed presentation on the Superfast Broadband (fibre-optic) Project.  A few snippets:

  1. Prices from ISPs may not be much more than standard Broadband.
  2. New system should not slow down when multi-users (e.g. in the home, business etc.), and also the main system speed should not be adversely affected by e.g. early evening high loads.
  3. Important Note: users need to understand that they need to contact (or change) their Independent Service Provider (ISP) when the fibre service is available, and then order a fibre service in order to benefit from the new system. Many still mistakenly believe their speeds will go up automatically.
  4. Plans now are to achieve 99.9% of users who could take up Fibre optics broadband. More funds to top up scheme.
  5. There is also a £1 million fund set aside to help Small & Medium Enterprises (SMEs) maximise their benefits from using fibre optics. Links to access the business support programme can be found on the Superfast Dorset website along with all information on the project – LINK here.
  6. We won’t see the benefits of a clawback scheme from BT unless people take up the service that sees BT repaying money if take-up exceeds 20% of properties – this can be reinvested to push superfast even further across the county. It is estimated that Dorset will get something around £2 million if we get over 30% take-up (DCC’s target)!

03/07/2013      BBC names new reporter & launch date of the new Breakfast radio programme for Dorset

Julie Massiter has joined the BBC team in Dorset to manage and edit the new programme in the upgraded and enlarged Dorchester Studio.    It will be launched at 6:30 am on Monday, 8th July 2013, and will run until 9:00 am each week day. Julie has announced a new appointment – see below an announcement from Julie:

Meet Alina Jenkins, the voice behind the new BBC breakfast show in Dorset.

Breakfast in Dorset is a brand new local BBC radio programme dedicated to bringing you everything you need to start your day “ whether you are listening in the shower, on the school run, in the factory or office, on the farm, even on board one of the region’s fishing boats”. Presenter Alina Jenkins will host the show live from Dorchester, and she couldn’t be more proud.

I’ve been with BBC Radio Solent for 12 years working on early breakfast, afternoons, news and also presenting for both the regional and national weather teams. But I’m relishing this new challenge and incredibly excited to be involved. Dorset is an area my family and I have always loved and we are very much looking forward to living and working in this beautiful county. I’m working with a brilliant team and we are eager to get out and about and find the stories that matter to Dorset residents. I won’t just be in the studio either – I hope to get around the county as much as I can too. Whatever your story, we want to hear it.

Broadcast on 103.8FM, Breakfast in Dorset will cover Weymouth, Portland, Dorchester, Wareham, Blandford Forum and many of the villages in between.  The new show will be devoted to Dorset news, Dorset debate, and Dorset people ¦with the distinctive flavour and fun of local life.

Every weekday from 6.30am, Alina Jenkins and the team will bring you all the latest news, putting decision-makers, bosses and politicians in the spotlight to get answers to the questions you.d want to ask “ and hearing a vast range of the viewpoints and real-life stories that add to the richness of life in our county”. They’ll also let you know what’s happening in Dorset, give you the most up-to-date travel information and help you plan for the weather.

To let them know your news please call on 01305 262512 or email

03/05/2013      Plans announced for the Dorset BBC Breakfast Programme to be Launched in July 2013!

At last positive progress on the re-launch of the FM radio breakfast programme for Dorset!

Below are extracts from the minutes of a committee meeting on 26th April, 2013 with Oliver Letwin MP, Jason Horton and Chris Carnegy of the BBC.

Dorchester Studio Expansion. A contract has been signed to expand on the ground floor to provide 3 additional rooms for a new Studio, an Operations Room and an Office/Reception area. The upstairs facilities are retained.

Studios will have the latest digital technology.   Main link (pipe) will be 10 Mbits/sec. Building work to be completed late May/Engineering work by late June.

Staffing: Chris Carnegy announced that Julie Massiter has accepted the post of Senior Broadcast Journalist and Team Leader for the Dorchester Studios.   She is expected to start work on 7th May. Interviews for the other three posts are in progress with decisions expected to be made by 3rd May.

The total number of staff for Dorset would be 5 fulltime plus the Political Reporter shared with BBC Radio Solent, the Dorset Web Site reporter and Simon Clemison – the Video Journalist reporter. In answer to a query, Jason Horton confirmed that the BBC does encourage work experience and would hope that it would be available in Dorchester sometime in the future. Launch Date/plans: Early July, 2013.   The Breakfast programme will be broadcast five days per week while the Big Dorset Brunch programme on a Saturday morning will continue.  Sundays will broadcast a standard Radio Solent output as before.

Other issues: There will also be a permanent satellite linked vehicle based in Dorchester. It was confirmed that there are no plans to increase the geographic coverage on FM (103.8Mhz), but the aim is to do so with the full launch of DAB.   BBC has already been consulted regarding requirements for Dorset.   Hope is for several transmitters to cover the county. Anyone can report to the Dorchester team on Emergency issues, who will try and give appropriate cover –  they plan to route local emergency information by Post Code to the appropriate radio stations e.g. BBC Devon, BBC Somerset etc.    Jason Horton will work with Dorset County Council and Dorset District Councils to ensure the Emergency Issues are addressed.

05/02/2013      BBC turns down outstanding offer!

Before Christmas, DorBAG became aware that the lease for the old BBC studio building in the back streets of Dorchester (opposite Argos) was coming up for renewal. The BBC was planning to renew the lease, and to upgrade the facilities to cater for the new staff and requirements, ready for the launch of the new breakfast programme due this summer. So Oliver Letwin MP, and a few representatives from DorBAG, met with managers from the BBC at the new Brewery Square development in Dorchester.

The management team at Brewery Square gave an excellent presentation of the site, the opportunities available for a prestigious new studio and also demonstrated the new Big Screen live. The BBC managers were clearly impressed. Subsequently a very suitable site was found in the main square near the Big Screen, which was available in the BBC’s time frame. This, we thought, would be an ideal opportunity to start from new, and have a very modern, high profile facility in the Square ready for the launch of the new programme.

Following a further meeting with the Brewery Square Management, the BBC were offered a deal such that the rent plus all the fitting out costs was basically the same as the BBC would have to pay for the renewed lease on the old studio, plus the upgrade that they have to do.

You would think that the possibility, at no extra cost, to move from an old back street building to a brand new one in the centre of a very prestigious square, ready to launch the new programme, would be a “no brainer”. An excellent opportunity to give the staff a much better facility and also have a much higher profile in the town. It would be a clear statement by the BBC to the people of Dorset that they care. But then, if you know the BBC, you will realise that nothing is straight forward.

Would you believe that they have turned down the offer, and have said they will extend the lease and upgrade the old building?

Words fail us!

29/11/2012      Latest meeting with BBC shows promise.

At a meeting with Jason Horton (Head of BBC South) and Chris Carnegy (Head of Radio Solent), on 23rd November, Oliver Letwin and representatives from DorBAG learned that:

1) Funding. The new Breakfast radio show for Dorset will get funds from 1st April, 2013, but expected launch will be June 2013 at the earliest to allow for hiring, training, additional facilities etc.

2) Hiring four additional staff will start early in the New Year with the hope they will be on Board ready for training in April.

3) Studies show that radio listening in Dorset is up 48% year on year with the Present Big Breakfast Show for Dorset (103.8 Mhz) on Saturday Mornings also increasing.

4) This programme will be an opt-out from BBC Radio Solent. Timing planned to go out from 7:00 am to 9:00 am every day. Rest of day will be the normal Radio Solent.

5) Oliver Letwin/DorBAG offered to help with the launch publicity.

6) Extended FM coverage to cover all of Dorset unlikely, but hope is that when DAB is extended, Dorset will have full coverage for local radio.

7) BBC investigating how to add new programme to BBC Dorset web site with means of recording if possible.

8) Those who watch HD TV and find they cannot get local news on HD – Original plan was to launch the more populous regions first – but that has yet to be achieved. So far, only London is served. So you have to switch from HD to normal TV if you want to watch the local news.

29/11/2012      DAB Reception Isn’t Easy!

In the UK there is growing pressure for a switchover to digital (DAB) radio to replace the current FM analogue services. One example of this is the increasing provision of DAB-capable car radios. However, be warned that having a DAB-capable car radio may not enable you to receive DAB stations in Europe. Nor may your portable DAB radio be able to receive DAB stations in Europe. This note explains why.

First, the technical bit:

* there are two standards for digital radio transmissions –  DAB and the more recent DAB+.

* Digital radio can be transmitted in either of two different frequency bands – Band III and L Band.

* Traffic reports (like RDS on FM) over digital radio are broadcast using a standard called TPEG.

* Most digital radios currently sold in the UK support only DAB on Band III. Eventually new models should support both DAB and DAB+ through use of industry-standard components, but this will not happen for some time.

Second, the geographical roll-out bit:

* The UK is committed in principle to switching over to digital radio (and shutting down the FM analogue network) in the next few years. The UK supports only the DAB standard on Band III. It has no intention of moving to support DAB+ as it sees no advantage in so doing.

* Very few other countries in Europe have made any commitment to roll-out of digital radio to replace FM, so digital radio services will be patchy for some years.

* European countries are implementing only the DAB+ standard variously on Band III and/or L-Band.

* A few countries have started implementing traffic reports using TPEG over digital radio but coverage is currently mostly in the pilot stages.

So what does this mean for you?

* Make sure that your new car radio (or DAB car radio adapter) is Dual-band (Band III, L-Band), is DAB & DAB+ compliant, and supports TPEG (the digital traffic reporting system). If it doesn’t it may well not receive digital radio stations in Europe.

* Make sure your new car radio also supports FM with RDS as much of Europe will still have patchy digital radio coverage and very little TPEG coverage for some years.

* If you already have a portable digital radio purchased in the UK it is unlikely to work in Europe.

* If you buy a new digital radio make sure it supports both DAB and DAB+ and is Dual-band if you expect to use it in Europe. For example, most PURE portable DAB radios currently sold in the UK support only DAB and Band III.

29/05/2012      Final Ofcom report  on

Final Ofcom report on their survey of reported Digital Terrestrial TV reception problems in Dorset. It includes DorBAG’s comments on the various sections to ensure a balanced view is presented.

View the pdf here.

21/05/2012      BBC announces new local radio station for Dorset!!

Many of you may have already heard that the BBC Trust has just approved  Jason Horton\’s (Head of BBC South and BBC Radio Solent) proposal to re-introduce a local radio station for Dorset  albeit a breakfast  programme on week days and only being transmitted from the Bincombe Hill  transmitter (see link to the BBC announcement – CLICK here).

It would be complimented by the existing Saturday morning programme “the  Big Breakfast Brunch”. It will start in 2013.   Whilst the news is very  welcome, it still means that there will continue to be (we believe)  many parts of Dorset NOT covered!   However, we are grateful for Jason  in supporting DorBAG’s demands and in getting us back at least  something, although we continue to make clear that we view this as the  first step in getting a full county local radio station!   We are  mystified why the BBC still will not give Dorset a full radio station  while the Channel Islands, Cornwall, Devon, Somerset and Wiltshire (all  near neighbours) all have their own stations.

The argument has been that the Dorset population is too small, but we  are the same size as most of the above.   Remember that we had 25 hours  per week of local coverage from BBC Radio Devon in 1996 (see the  history of BBC Radio Dorset) which is much more than we are getting this time round!   Best wishes,  The DorBAG Team.

17/04/2012      Latest transmitter power levels & frequencies for Rowridge & Stockland Hill

Latest transmitter power levels & frequencies for Rowridge & Stockland Hill after Meridian switchover from 18th April

04/04/2012      BBC Trust to decide on Local Radio Strategy and Dorset\’s bid

We understand that the BBC Trust is to meet on 26th April 2012 to decide on their Local Radio Strategy, following their online consultation late last year.   They will, we are told, also decide on the proposal from BBC Radio Solent, to re-launch an opt-out from Solent to cover East Dorset (which would nearly put us back to how we were in 1996!)   Only this time, the programme will only be dedicated to Dorset for Breakfast and Drive Times.

We view this as a beginning of getting Dorset back on the BBC’s map!   And we will continue to press for full coverage as already given to the Channel Islands, Cornwall, Devon, Somerset, Hampshire and wiltshire.   Surely, Dorset is now a very special case?

Watch this space.

13/12/2011      BBC Video reporter no longer based in Dorchester!

It seem that although the video reporter was appointed as the person, based in Dorchester, to cover news for Spotlight, he has now had his priorities changed such that he spends most of his time in Plymouth! Whilst he does a good job for Dorset, he is clearly handicapped by his other priorities from Plymouth management. This is yet another sign of how the BBC gives us resources, and then quiety removes them without any discussion! The same thing happened with other staff based in the studio in Dorchester! We hope the latest management will put a stop to this trend and rebuild Dorset’s resources as they should be.

12/12/2011      BBC Trust launched Public Consultation on Local Radio – have your say!  Deadline 21st DECEMBER, 2011


We have been informed that the BBC Trust is presently focusing heavily on reviewing Local Radio! To this end, they have posted an ONLINE consultation document on their thoughts, which only requires a little of your time to complete. We have been actively encouraged to respond by BBC management as they feel this consultation process could be of considerable help in Dorset’s cause, provided we respond in numbers! You should know that, finally, a bid has actually been made by the senior management to the Trust for the introduction of Radio Solent’s planned breakfast/drive by programme for Dorset. It has been suggested that support on this consultation will carry a lot of weight this time! (We know the present proposal to cover the existing Radio Solent range is not the ideal we want, but we must support Solent’s submission, which we hope will become the beginning of getting a system in the future that covers all of Dorset.)

Clearly, you do not have much time to respond to this consultation document, (it won’t take long to complete), which you can find at Link no longer exists (DEADLINE is 21ST DECEMBER!). This is an opportunity to have your say directly with the Trust. Obviously, the more comments we send in, the more weight they will carry. N.B. The first question asks which BBC Local radio station you listen to with tick boxes – you will see that Dorset is not listed, so if you don’t/can’t listen to a proper local BBC radio station for your area, please leave the page blank and move on to Question 2 (there are only 8 questions in all). Questions 2 to 8 give you the opportunity to comment on their proposals – this is your opportunity to have your say, including noting why Dorset doesn’t appear in any form in Question 1! Good luck and seasons greetings.

26/04/2011      DorBAG launches its Blog!   Have your say and tell your friends!

You will notice at the top of each page, we have added a link to the new DorBAG blog in order to obtain feedback and, hopefully, additional support. The BBC are continually stringing us along and it is time we had some real, positive action from them. The first blog relates to the unacceptable position on the present “plans” for BBC Radio Dorset. Please let us have your feedback, and also do tell your friends, neighbours and anyone else you think who would be interested, especially via Facebook and Twitter which is automatically linked to this blog.

15/02/2011      Digital UK announces switchover dates for the Meridian TV area


Viewers in the Meridian TV region will start the switch to digital-only television in February 2012, Digital UK announced today. Analogue signals will be turned off and Freeview coverage boosted to reach virtually all homes. More than 220,000 households served by local relay transmitters will then be able to receive digital TV free via an aerial for the first time.


Your switchover date depends on the TV transmitter you receive your signal from. It’s a two-stage process.

The  Hannington transmitter group, serving parts of Hampshire, Berkshire and Surrey, will switch to digital on 8 February and 22 February 2012.

The  Midhurst transmitter group, serving much of West Sussex, will switch on 29 February and 14 March 2012.

The  Rowridge transmitter group, serving parts of Hampshire, the Isle of Wight, parts of Dorset and West Sussex, will switch on 7 March and 21 March 2012.

The  Whitehawk Hill transmitter group, serving the Brighton area, will switch on 7 March and 21 March 2012 .

Switchover dates for transmitters in the eastern half of the Meridian TV region, including Kent and East Sussex, will be announced this summer.

11/02/2011      A brief History of the farcical situation regarding the BBC and its plans for BBC Radio Dorset

A brief history of BBC Radio Dorset on FM:

The history of the BBC messing Dorset about is horrific! A county wide station was planned for the early 1990s, but was cancelled in 1990. In 1993 a new part time station was launched as an opt-out from Radio Devon giving some 25 hours of dedicated Dorset news and events coverage. In 1996 it was closed, at least partly at the behest of the County Council would you believe(?), and was replaced by an opt-out from Radio Solent, as the DCC claimed the county look east and not west! Anyone who can manage to listen to Solent will know that, despite their repeated promises, we do not get anything like “25 hours of dedicated news and events coverage” and nor do we get “85% coverage”! We have had just one token gesture – the “Big Breakfast Brunch” on a Saturday morning launched in July 2009 on Solent.

In January 2006, Andy Griffee, the then Head of English Regions, announced a new plan to to launch a full Radio Dorset station on FM. In October 2007, we were told this plan had been cancelled due to “lack of funds” – (this is always the excuse despite the BBC having a budget of over £3 billion!).

In January 2008, Andy Griffee announced that Dorset would be given, as compensation for the cancellation of radio Dorset, one of the first “BBC Local” teams of five people, with one being the manager for Dorset based in Dorchester. In November 2008, the BBC Trust cancelled all “BBC Local” projects.

In October 2009, Jane McCloskey, the then Head of BBC South West announced plans to re-launch Radio Dorset (part time) as an opt-out from Radio Devon. It was going to have a modified Bincombe transmitter to at least reach all of east, central and north Dorset. In September 2009, Jane moved jobs and we are now told by the new Heads of BBC South and South West that there is a new plan to re-launch Radio Dorset as an opt-out from Radio Solent. (Are you still with us???).

However it appears that this new plan excludes any modification to the Bincombe transmitter, and it won’t happen for ages as they have to do a “Public Value” test as it might infringe on Wessex FM (how can it when we are demanding a full Dorset County station, while Wessex FM coverage is limited?). It is critical that Dorset does have a county wide radio on FM (we don’t have a single station covering the county today) if only to broadcast information on major emergencies and disasters. How often did we hear on TV news (when we had the snow this winter) to “listen to your local radio”? The BBC Trust has  to approve& this latest plan and apparently won’t even look at it until autumn 2011 as they are carrying some pilot radio programme schemes elsewhere. Why oh why don’t they run a pilot in Dorset??

This totally unacceptable and farcical situation is to be raised formally by DorBAG with the BBC’s Director General.

We will continue to press, not only for our own full county coverage of both Dorset news and activities on Radio & on Terrestrial Television but, in addition, and most importantly, for a consolidated Dorset-wide service that we can all access at the same time, anywhere in the county, by being folded into one BBC Region, and with appropriate/additional transmitter coverage.

28/01/2011      BBC Radio Dorset survey results and update on progress

At the DorBAG meeting with the BBC and Digital UK on 14th January, 2011, the BBC presented the outcome of their telephone survey for BBC Radio Dorset. In essence, they only covered that part of Dorset covered by Wessex FM, and not the whole rural county as previously promised! While all this was going on, the BBC management changed in the south west. The two new region managers have now changed the plan and are thinking of sourcing a partial, part time programme for Dorset out of Radio Solent instead of Radio Devon. While the managers said they want to implement their plan, it will (initially anyway, and if approved by the Trust) only be broadcast from the Bincombe Hill Transmitter between Dorchester and Weymouth, and therefore will only cover some of the eastern half of the county. We have made clear this is not acceptable and want it extended to cover the whole county. Not only that but we are thoroughly fed up with having changed and delayed plans all the time without the BBC actually doing anything. We will fight all the way to get a proper service for the county! BBC broadcast coverage slides can be downloaded below – you will notice many gaps in coverage in their slides!

Download Annex A

The BBC Trust has also added another hurdle in that they have to prove that this new station will not adversely affect Wessex FM – as the intention is to eventually cover all of Dorset, we cannot see why this might be a problem as Wessex FM focuses on the central area only

Further slides were presented at our request to show any BBC national transmitter coverage of the county. Download AnnexB1

and the BBC Local Radio coverage. Download AnnexB2

Finally, Digital UK provided slides showing the latest information on their Digital Switchover plans for TV – which includes the plans to switch the Meridian area in 2012/2013.

DorBAG is planning the next steps of the campaign to force the BBC to actually deliver their promises and not continue to delay and prevaricate at every step.

Oliver Letwin MP is to write to Mark Thompson – Director General complaining bitterly about this continuing and totally unacceptable situation

20/11/2010      Status of Freeview digital TV reception in North Dorset

DorBAG has received several complaints regarding the quality of Freeview Digital TV reception in the north of the county. DorBAG believes that the transmission authorities have made some amendments as to which transmitter covers each area. This could mean that someone who was on the Stockland Hill (BBC Spotlight) or Mendip (BBC Points West) transmitters, or their relays, on analogue TV before switchover, and receiving a perfectly good signal, could now find digital reception is poor with signal breaks etc. Clearly there are grey areas where there are overlaps, and we would recommend to anyone with problems to go to and enter your post code, tick the “I am in the aerial installation trade” box to find which transmitter is recommended for your location. Of course, adjacent properties with the same post code sometimes find they have to tune to different transmitters due to obstructions in their “line of sight” to the transmitter. If in doubt, we recommend you contact a qualified TV aerial installer to verify the best option for you.

Those who receive BBC South Today are in the Meridian television region, for which digital switchover does not begin until 2012. Therefore any digital reception for them is presently a bonus and, unfortunately, poor reception can be expected from time to time.

13/11/2010      Watch out for Ofcom’s/BBC’s TV Reception Survey Van in your area during week commecing Monday 15th

Ofcom and the BBC are carrying out a survey of Digital TV (Freeview) reception in West Dorset, beginning 15 Nov 10 for a week  They are investigating some of the many complaints received by DorBAG on the quality of digital TV reception in their area. Many stated that their neighbours were also having problems. DorBAG has highlighted the areas most affected to Ofcom who have agreed to carry out a survey. So look out for a van with a TV aerial on a tall mast in your area.

Please approach them if you see the survey vehicle, and you have reception problems. Also. would you please tell your neighbours of this.

Even if all is now well, please tell them the detail of the problems you have encountered. Points to emphasise (if they apply) include having a **satisfactory analogue signal before switchover, particular times of day when reception is unsatisfactory, differential loss of programmes, for example loss of BBC but not ITV. We really do need to get Ofcom to understand that something has to be done. The status quo is not acceptable, and cannot be allowed to stand. It would be useful (again if it applies) to emphasise that people have been forced to abandon the terrestrial service, and resort to a satellite solution with the additional costs involved, where this is possible without contravening the provisions of planning regulations.

May we remind you that this is a technical survey. Ofcom have been warned of the fury of those being served by relays over the comparative paucity of programmes, and, especially, the loss of ITV 3 and 4 after the national retune. It will do no harm to mention it if you so wish, but this team has no influence on which programmes are transmitted on which multiplex. Be assured that we have the people who are responsible in our sights as well.

The DorBAG team.

** Ofcom stated before switchover to Digital TV that “anyone who can receive analogue today, will receive Digital after switchover”!  This clearly implied there was no need to change or update any equipment!

25/10/2010      BT are asking for residents to vote ONLINE for fibre optic broadband in their local town/village.

BT are asking for residents to vote ONLINE for fibre optic broadband in their local town/village. Even if you don’t think you need it now, you almost certainly will as broadband is used for more and more services, including TV and video! In addition, it is critical for local businesses, especially in rural areas, to have the same connection speeds as those in large towns and cities, if they are to be able to compete effectively. So please VOTE NOW

Link no longer exists to vote and also to see how many votes have been placed in your area. Good luck

27/09/2010      BBC et al plan to launch TV over the internet!

The BBC and other channel companies are to launch “YouView”. You will shortly be able to watch Freeview and other channels on your TV over the internet (assuming you have a reasonable Broadband link. However, you will have to pay £200 for another box that will convert TV on the broadband link to the TV. Apart from paying £200 for yet another box, you will need to consider if your broadband is fast enough, and also be prepared that, (depending on your broadband contract)you may have to pay for a  higher download allowance as video over broadband uses up your allowance very quickly.

However, it is an alternative way of accessing Freeview (including giving the ability to view programmes transmitted over the previous 7 days. For those with poor Freeview reception, this might be a useful alternative, although one might ask why the BBC is spending Licence Fee money on yet another (at least for some years) non-universal broadcasting medium.

See this LINK  for details.

28/06/2010      Brief news from meeting with BBC and Digital UK

A recent DorBAG meeting with the BBC and Digital UK chaired by OLiver Letwin MP produced so promising news and some not so promising news.

1) The BBC Trust has carried out a consultation on its strategy – the results are available at LINK no longer We are concerned at the “no more local” element to this draft strategy, but were assured that, at least for radio, Dorset would not be affected, should the BBC decide to re-introduce BBC Radio Dorset – even as a morning only programme. However, local TV news is not included in this exclusion! We must fight this!

2 The BBC has been working on more original local news& have added their material to Facebook, which has generated considerable interest, especially from younger viewers.

(Organisationally, you can see how important Dorset is presently considered by the BBC, according to this source HERE you need to scroll a long way down to find Dorset lumped in with Hampshire etc. etc!)

3) Summary report from DorBAG’s Digital TV reception problem questionnaire – to 31st May, 2010:

Total valid responses 95 (12 more were from areas that had not yet switched)

& 80 complaints about loss of ITV 3 & ITV 4

54 complaints about poor or no reception (11 occurred at switchover & 14 occurred after national retune)

The above data showed that:

  1. The loss of ITV3 & 4 on relays has caused much anger
    b. Poor or no reception reports after switchover or retune showed Ofcom’s promises were not fulfilled
    c A map has been created which clearly illustrates a strip of problems along the coast, and up the Frome valley in particular. Based on this sample data, Oliver Letwin suggested that perhaps as many as 50% of residents could, in reality, be having problems
    d. Agreed that a more detailed survey, followed by curative action was required. Oliver Letwin will write to the head of Ofcom requesting action.

3) Digital UK:

  1. a. Bill Taylor advised that the switchover for the West is complete. Main issues related to retuning due, in particular due to interference from Wales.
    b. Overall he felt it had gone well.
    c. Next switchover will be the Channel Islands, with Meridian still scheduled for 2012

05/03/2010      BBC hires more staff for Dorset!   Notes on last DorBAG meeting with BBC & Digital UK.

DorBAG meeting on 26th February, 2010. Oliver Letwin MP chaired the meeting with guests Jane McCloskey – Head of BBC South West, Simon Clemison – BBC and Bill Taylor – SW manager Digital UK.

BBC: Simon Clemison was introduced as the new Dorset Senior Broadcast Journalist based in Dorchester. He will replace Emma Ruminsky who has moved to Plymouth, but will still be there to assist with the handover. Simon has extensive experience in the BBC and ITV where he was political correspondent and occasional main presenter for both Meridian and ITV West. He made a plea for everyone to give him news items & encourage others to do the same – let’s get Dorset on the map!

Jane McCloskey reported that they have now also appointed a bespoke cameraman in Exeter (Adie Francis) who would work into Dorset to support Simon, and BBC South has appointed a local Political reporter who will be split between Southampton & Dorchester, working mainly to BBC Radio Solent.

Complaints about the BBC Dorset web site weather pages are being looked into. Apart from the small number of Dorset towns listed for local weather forecasts, it was pointed out that the only video link for weather goes to Solent! Jane McCloskey agreed to investigate adding at least Spotlight’s video.

DorBAG welcomed these positive moves from the BBC, but continues to press for local radio and TV broadcast services for Dorset.

Digital UK:

Bill Taylor advised that the switchover for the West is only weeks away in two stages on 24th March and 7th April. This will affect parts in the North of the county. He believes that 97% of the population now have digital already, although he acknowledged that the figure is lower in rural areas.

Bill said that most people involved in the South West switchover were now sorted. Some TV sets were confused by more than one TV Transmitter covering the same area, and he knows that there are still some problems resulting from the re-tune last September. Most problems seem to be down to the re-tune and the loss of ITV3 and ITV4 on relay transmitters. It is considered likely that many remaining problems are down to the home equipment or the setting up of same.

DorBAG has set up an online/offline TV Reception Problem Report HERE which is already receiving a number of complaints. However, Bill Taylor said that Digital UK did not have the resources to handle further complaints as they were now focusing on the next switchover.

Oliver Letwin felt that DorBAG will need to talk to top management at Digital UK and Ofcom to try and get some resources allocated, as people with problems need someone to talk them through to a solution in each case. (This despite the fact that a committee member who approached the Office of Culture, Media and Sport was told to go to Digital UK!)

The Report Form can be completed online and there is also a downloadable/printable A4 copy for those without computers with a link at the top of the online form. For those without a PC who want a copy, they can ask a friend or neighbour for a copy, or they should be able to get a copy from their library (including mobile libraries), or town and possibly parish councils. The local press offices also seem very supportive & may be able to help.

It was pointed out that High Definition TV on Freeview is about to be launched starting with the West’s switchover. However, there are presently no Freeview HD set top boxes, or integrated TVs on the market.

Broadband/mobile coverage:

There are two high speed fibre optic trunk lines installed between Dorchester and Weymouth for the Olympics.

There is considerable interest in Hi-speed Broadband as illustrated by a high turnout at an Open Meeting in Ferndown recently. Many firms have indicated that they may have to move location to an area with hi-speed BB, if Dorset makes no progress.

CLA & the Dorset Chamber of Commerce are also involved in this issue

Ofcom appears to be looking at these issues nationally, but not locally.

There is an urgent need to equip all towns, and the question of rural coverage also needs to be addressed – High speed Broadband should be treated as an essential utility along with gas, electricity and water

It was pointed out that today’s youngsters are already using (where they can get coverage) mobiles for video etc., and so mobile coverage is also an issue.

Oliver Letwin said he would arrange a separate meeting on these issues in late spring.

14/02/2010      New ONLINE Freeview Report Form launched on this web site!

Still having problems with receiving Freeview after digital switchover?

The Dorset Broadcasting Action Group  (DorBAG) needs to hear from you.

DorBAG is still receiving complaints from parts of Dorset regarding reception problems with Freeview following digital switchover. The impression we have is that there are still quite a few viewers with ongoing problems and so, in order to quantify these problems, an online Report Form has been created – click on  TV Reception Report – where you can easily enter details of your own problems online. There is also a link (near the top of the form) to a printable version for those who require a hard copy – e.g. for residents without computers. The hard copy has a return postal address on the bottom of the form to Burton Bradstock Post Office (it will require a stamp.

This report asks for both, concerns at the loss of (without any warning or consultation) ITV 3 & 4 from local relay transmitters, and/or reception problems with one or more Freeview channels, whether they are intermittent, short term breaks, experiencing interference, or are permanently having a problem.

The intention is to formally raise these issues with the top management of the broadcasting authorities with a view to achieving proper resolutions of these problems.

However, you should notice that at the top of the online form, there are some tips on resolving reception problems which may help, and which we recommend you try first.

DorBAG cannot guarantee to ensure that all those individuals who complain about Freeview reception difficulties, will be responded to in every case although, if we can see a possible or obvious solution, we will try to help.

Even if viewers are not having reception problems, we hope everyone will complete the very short form complaining about the loss of ITV 3 & 4 channels on local relay transmitters. Surely it is totally unfair for those on local relay transmitters to not only receive considerably less channels than those lucky enough to be receiving their signal from a main transmitter, but to have recently had ITV 3 & 4 taken away as well? After all, they do not get a rebate on their Licence Fee!

The more support this Problem Report receives, the stronger the case we will have to press the broadcasting authorities to resolve these problems.

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