How did it come about and what is it aiming to achieve?
The Dorset Broadcasting Action Group (DorBAG) was originally formed as WEDBAG (West Dorset Broadcasting Action Group) after Oliver Letwin MP had been inundated over a long period of time with complaints regarding a wide range of Television and Radio problems in West Dorset. The problems were principally, but not exclusively with the BBC. Over time, JIM Knight MP joined because of concerns in Dorset South and Weymouth & Portland in particular, and so WEDBAG became SWEDBAG by adding “South & West (at the beginning). Following the joint letter by MPs to the BBC to win back ‘BBC Radio Dorset’ from right across the county, and full support from the County Council, it has become clear that many of the issues are common to residents in all of the county of Dorset to some extent or other – hence this has eventually led to the broadening of the Action Group’s charter to represent Dorset as a whole with a corresponding change of name to the “Dorset Broadcasting Action Group” (DorBAG).
The main issues were, and in many cases still are:
• Poor or no reception of Freeview (digital) channels – now much improved
• Lack of ownership by the BBC of the county of Dorset – still very current!
• Inadequate or total lack of local programmes for local news, events coverage etc. on both radio and TV covering all of the county – partial radio solution so far
• Lack of a properly funded/managed/equipped Dorset studio for dedicated Dorset full-time news/events programmes on TV. Now updated and expanded with a staff of 9
• Poor reception of some National BBC Stations – no change
• Poor or no reception of the only ‘local’ BBC station, Radio Solent (officially it goes no further west than Abbotsbury!) – the same
• Breakfast programme each weekday and Saturdays, but not a full time radio station for Dorset. Ongoing
• No plans by BBC to extend FM – waiting for DAB to expand, but no plans yet! New plan is to stay with FM unless DAB really takes off.
• Poor or no reception of the new digital radio (DAB) & not enough channels with little or no local BBC content –same
• Little or no information on what’s happening on DAB – and for Dorset in particular – no news so far
Because of the sheer number of complaints, and the fact that the BBC didn’t seem to want to know, it was originally decided to form an Action Group to bring pressure to bear such that Dorset would have satisfactory solutions to all its problems, once and for all. It seems that everyone is still totally fed up with being in a ‘Black Hole’ as far as the BBC in particular is concerned, and the unbelievable history of BBC’s promises and subsequent cancellations are just more examples of the BBC’s total neglect of this county. Having said that, we have made progress with an upgraded and expanded studio in Dorchester with a new team added to run the weekday Breakfast programme. This is a very good start.
Over time, the committee has become increasingly concerned and very interested in the development of Superfast Broadband in the county with an emphasis on rural communities. With the placement of a contract with BT in July 2013, we still wait with interest to hear just who is going to get this new service and who is not. – Still true but progress is now moving forward – see “Latest News”