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REGIONAL AUDIENCE COUNCIL BBC West Minutes of meeting held on 14


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									              REGIONAL AUDIENCE COUNCIL BBC West
                  Minutes of meeting held on 14 April 2009

     Stuart Paterson                Chair
     Brian Warwick                  Local Radio link – Radio Wiltshire
     Kate Strong
     Doreen Baidoo
     Jenn Gollings
     Alison Hinch
     Ben Batley

      Mark Hurrell (part)           Editor, Local Radio
      Neil Bennett (part)           TV Editor, Points West
      Frances Bryant                Public Accountability Manager

APOLOGIES: Mel Poolton, Jonathan Charlesworth, Guy Withers, Emily Loveday
    Angie Carmichael, Chris Moore, Dr Michael Natarajan

1.    Welcome and introductions:
      Stuart Paterson welcomed everyone to the meeting, particularly new
      members Alison Hinch and Ben Batley. He thanked Mark Hurrell for
      standing in for Lucio Mesquita. Stuart informed members that Dr Abbe
      Hayward had resigned due to pressure of work and a replacement would be
      recruited as soon as possible.

2.    Minutes of previous meeting and matters arising
      The minutes were accepted as being a true record.
      Matters arising – one member objected to the phrase ‘long in the tooth’
      (page 3 Local Radio Overview) it was accepted that this was a personal view
      being expressed but it was felt nevertheless to be an ageist comment.

3.    Programme & Service Review
      Regional TV News (Points West and 8pm bulletin)
      Stuart welcomed Neil Bennett, TV Editor to the meeting.
      Neil briefly outlined his role as TV editor; managing a team of about 75
      people – operational staff and journalists. Many were multi-skilled, reporting,
      filming and editing their own pieces. It was one of the most successful
      regional news programmes in the country and he believed this was due to a
      good presenter line-up and the passion and dedication of the team.

Reviewing two specific days: April 7 & 8
      • In certain counties, particularly Somerset, some members felt neglected.
      • It was also acknowledged that the day’s events rather than geography
          should be the main driver of the news agenda.
      • There were some strong presenter stories and good informative reports:
          arachnophobia; pregnancy and asthma; Lucky punter who won £65K,
    although one member felt the dangers of gambling should have been
•   Members praised the sensitive reporting of two stories – Bristol fire
    incident covered by Sabet Choudhury and the death of a former
    presenter covered by Chris Vacher
•   Bristol was well covered but on the 8th one member described it as
    ‘Wiltshire night’, with Bristol feeling neglected. However, the programme
    had included a good range of stories – sport, culture, children of the 90s
    with just one reference to the financial situation.
•   One member was concerned that some reports failed to ask key
    questions – for example a report on the bus lanes ended with a
    throwaway line about the introduction of congestion charges. She felt
    fewer stories would allow for greater depth on certain reports.
•   One member had referenced the programmes to the public purposes and
    felt that these had been covered across the output each day (with the
    exception of the World to the UK).
•   The 8pm bulletin was praised for its ability to bring out the key facts in
    such a short time and one member felt one particular story (WSM wheel
    -v- Gloucester Docks Wheel) was clearer in the bulletin than it had been
    in Points West.

Members discussed the possible impact of sharing stories with ITV, and the
fact that despite ITV now covering the West and South West, the audience
was still strong. It was agreed members would review and compare the
output from the BBC and ITV at a future meeting.

Summary: Overall, members agreed Points West was a professionally
produced and well presented programme. Across the two specific days
reviewed, there were strong presenter pieces with a good balance of news
and lighter stories. Coverage across the counties was mixed with Bristol as
the main focus for many stories. The neighbouring counties sometimes felt
neglected but there was interest in stories that affected the whole region.
The programmes were considered to be diverse, but there were a few
examples where members felt fewer stories would have allowed for greater
depth, for example a report on bus lanes ended with a throw-away line that
implied this could lead to congestion charges, but this was not explored.

The 8pm bulletin contained relevant stories for the audience in the short
time given, clear and accessible.

Local Radio:
BBC Wiltshire: Brian Warwick highlighted the following from his report:
Community programmes were developing and making a real difference –
people were feeling associated with the station, particularly in rural areas.
There was particular praise for a programme on ovarian cancer, which had
been enlightening, informative and very sensitively presented, by a male

     BBC Somerset: Ben Batley agreed to be the new link representative for
     the station. A meeting with the Managing Editor to be arranged. Action: FB

     BBC Bristol: Updated report to be given at next meeting.
     There was continuing concern about the breakfast programme.
     [Withheld from published minutes under section 36 of the Act.]
     One member asked on behalf of a colleague if Black Echo could play some
     reggae music, it seemed the natural place, but it wasn’t being included at

     BBC Gloucestershire: Mel Poolton was not at the meeting, but asked to
     record her thanks and praise for the station’s excellent travel and weather
     coverage during the snow.

     Members discussed the listen again facility on i-player for network radio and
     local radio. With local radio there were reports/features of long-term
     interest, for example the ovarian cancer report, but members had not found
     any archive material. Also certain programmes were not available after
     broadcast at all: members wondered who decided what was kept.

     Mark Hurrell explained that there was a limited amount of storage space
     available on the system, which did restrict the amount of archive material
     available. The decision as to what was put on the system was taken locally,
     but the importance of the web was recognised across the BBC and more
     investment was being made. Action: i-player specialist to be invited to future

4.   Reports
     Audience Council England
     Stuart highlighted the following two from the draft minutes:
     Helen Boaden, Director News had attended ACE. Recent changes had caused
     some concern to members - David Holdsworth, Controller English Regions
     now report directly to Helen Boaden; while the Controllers of the other
     three nations report to the Director General. Helen gave a very strong
     reassurance that she would not lose sight of England. She also stated how
     much she valued the reviews from the Councils.

     Children’s Consultation: ACE had welcomed the feedback from the Trust.
     This had been the first very clear recognition, within a final consultation
     paper, of outreach carried out by RAC members.

     Alison Hastings has asked members to keep a watching brief on Digital
     Switchover. Any concerns, successes etc. as the roll out takes place are to be
     reported back at meetings. The first switch was likely to affect the border
     between the West and South West (Stockland Hill 6 May 2009 and
     Huntshaw Cross 1 July 2009). The following link will help locate exactly the
     area covered by these two transmitters: http://www.digitaluk.co.uk/home
     Action: Representative from Digital UK to be invited to next meeting. (Bill
     Taylor, Digital UK will be attending the September meeting)

     ACE/RAC Accountability Year
     Members were given a copy of the new calendar outlining the transitional
     business year.

     Head of Region’s Report
     Mark Hurrell highlighted the following from Lucio’s report:
     Points West continued to do well, at a time when the commercial operation
     was struggling.

     Heart was now the brand for most of the commercial radio stations in the

     Inside Out had had a very good series. The Poem to Harry produced by the
     Features/Inside Out team won the Royal Television Society’s Nations &
     Regions documentary category.

     Recent events included School’s Report Day – both regional and network
     coverage in local schools; Comic Relief – the region’s local radio stations and
     tv linked for a world record attempt at joke telling. Members thought it had
     been great fun for all involved.

     Radio One’s Big Weekend was taking place in Swindon. Members felt
     applying for tickets via the web.did not provide fair access for everyone.
     Action: Frances to check if other applications were possible.

     BBC Wiltshire celebrated its 20th anniversary and name change.

     The announcement to move the Casualty Unit to Cardiff was made in March.
     Members expressed their disappointment with the loss of Casualty from the
     region, although one member’s wife was pleased that at least the series was
     continuing. There was praise for David Garmston’s interview with Caroline
     Thompson, BBC Chief Operating Officer on this issue.

     Major investment was being put into BBC Radio Gloucester for a newsroom

5.   Trust business & feedback
     Trust briefing paper – Network News Impartiality
     Stuart drew members’ attention to the subtle improvements made by the
     BBC following the Impartiality Report and monitoring carried out by the

     The other papers were noted for information.

6.   Outreach
     Plans had not been firmed up but would be circulated in due course.
     Members were being asked to bring two/three people from their social/work
     groups to this event which would be looking at pre-watershed programmes
     under the title of Generally Accepted Standards.

     Wednesday 20 May has now been agreed as the date for the Generally
     Accepted Outreach event to take place at BH Bristol.

7.   Burning Issues
     No issues were raised for ACE under the Public Purposes

     The following issues were to be raised with the relevant programme

     Comic Relief Special – Dangerous Love presented by Danielle Lloyd.
     A member expressed her great disappointed that the BBC/ Comic Relief had
     chosen to use Danielle Lloyd to front this programme. She recognised that
     the issue about women being abused was extremely important and should be
     highlighted. However, to have Ms Lloyd front a programme about bullying
     and abuse when she in turn had publically bullied someone else, and on a
     racial basis, she believed indicated that her behaviour on Big Brother in 2006
     had been condoned as acceptable by the BBC.

     Panorama – There was praise for the recent programme on Care Homes – a
     good example of investigative journalism. It would have made people think
     about the issues raised. While it was an excellent programme with real
     impact, it could also have caused fear for some people and therefore the
     member believed it needed to be put in context that the investigation
     referred to a few councils and was not representative across all local

8.   Any Other Business
     No issues were raised.

9.   Date of next meeting: Monday, 15 June (5.45 for 6pm)
                               Broadcasting House, Bristol
     Alison Hastings, BBC Trustee for England will be attending this meeting.

     Programmes for Review:
           BBC Radio 2 and BBC 6Music; and portrayal
                                       (more information to follow)

            BBC Radio 2 is on 88-91 FM, on DAB and is also available via
            Freeview, Freesat and bbc.co.uk - It also has a listen again facility.

            BBC 6Music is a sister station, bridging between Radios 1 and 2. It
            can be heard via DAB, Freeview, Freesat and bbc.co.uk.


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