June 2010 - 1 Regional Audience Council BBC North East and Cumbria by dfsiopmhy6


									         Regional Audience Council BBC North East and Cumbria
        Tuesday 23 June 5.30 at BBC Newcastle from 5.30pm – 7.45pm


Present:      Hannah Eyres (Chair)
              Steve Ryall
              Venus Carew
              John Baharie
              Ben Newton
              Andrew Philpotts
              Lisa Oxley

Apologies:    Alan Coates
              Mark Freeman
              Jan Harris
              Veronica Alvarez
              Stephen Langley
              Tim Smith

BBC Representatives:
           Andrew Robson                    (Managing Editor BBC Newcastle)
           Carol Cooke                      (Public Accountability Manager)

The chair welcomed a new member to the meeting. There were six apologies for

There were two matters arising; Nick Francis did not send his apologies for absence,
as was minuted, as he had already resigned. Anne Scargill rather than Arthur Scargill
was interviewed for My Strike. The minutes were passed as being an accurate record.


(1) Radio 2 and 6 Music
Comments from the council included the following:
Radio 2
    • The station was universally popular due to the quality of presentation,
       interaction with listeners and the diversity of music over a 24 hour period,
       and was felt to be comfortable and conservative.
    • The three key daytime DJs were all either well known before coming to
       Radio 2 and have enhanced their profile since coming to Radio 2.

   •   The music was comforting, eclectic but bland and some members couldn’t
       understand why the station had such a strong, day time, listener base.
   •   People over 30 tended to listen to Radio 2 rather than Radio 1.
   •   The station has narrowed the music played so there was no heavy metal, or
       extremes of music.
   •   The station was not as serious and did not cover subjects in as much depth
       as Radio 4 but there were serious elements.
   •   Diversity, variety and the humour was good and Terry Wogan put a smile on
       people’s faces without being crude. The station was a halfway house which
       you could listen to when doing something else.
   •   Radio listeners tended to stick with one station until they had a life changing
   •   One member enjoyed Dermot O'Leary, Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand's
       podcasts, but felt the BBC was erring on the side of safeness.
   •   Members thought Zoe Ball was a good choice as a stand-in for Ken Bruce
       and had made the transition from Radio 1 to Radio 2.
   •   Lots of people don’t have broadband and found it difficult to listen online.
   •   Members felt local radio could be the natural home for Radio 2 listeners and
       that a regional opt out on Radio 2 could work well.

6 Music
   • Member didn’t know where to find the station.
   • People weren’t aware of DAB radio and judged that there was an information
       vacuum in that people don’t know about it, and most people haven’t heard of
       6 Music.
   • Music aficionados don’t listen to 6 Music as they don’t think about looking for
       different music on the radio.
   • Some members thought it was quirky and interesting, with good
       documentaries but largely inaccessible because it is on DAB.
   • One member suggested it was disingenuous of the BBC to say 6Music doesn’t
       have an audience, as it had a Q Magazine style audience.
   • Other members didn’t find it interesting and called it, ’A loud noise serving a
       minority interest group.’
   • A member wondered if the BBC was trying to be ‘cool’ and felt that ‘Cool is
       illegal file sharing, pirate radio, and ipods.’.
   • There was little or no effective marketing strategy or the marketing strategy
       based on defective market research. An Arab proverb was quoted, ‘If you
       wish to sell your goat first take it to market.’

BBC response
The BBC tries to keep audiences and think that links between local radio and Radio
2 could achieve this. Advertising of 6 Music is interesting, as it is mostly on Radio 2
and should really be cross promoted on other BBC brands.

Chair’s summary
Radio 2
Member felt that Radio 2 was a popular and comforting station with a fairly narrow
output which excluded extremes of speech and music. Good interaction with
listeners and humorous presenters produced a high quality station which could work
well as background music. There was strong diversity of music with some specialist
programmes and well known DJs who had a strong profile before coming to the
station. The station was well marketed. Joint advertising of BBC 2 and local radio
could add value for listeners and members suggested that a regional opt out, similar
to that on television news, could be enjoyable.

One member asked ‘Is the BBC trying to be cool. Cool is illegal file sharing, pirate
radio, and ipods.’, but some members found the station quirky and interesting, with
strong documentaries. People do not listen because 6 Music is on DAB and not
everyone knew that it existed or where to find it. The audience was reduced by
fiscal and technological conditions which dictated how people listened to 6 Music.

There was general agreement that the station enjoyed little or no effective marketing
strategy, or a marketing strategy based on defective market research. A member
quoted an Arab proverb – ‘If you wish to sell your goat first take it to market.’

(ii) Local Radio review - highlights from local radio link people
Radio Cumbria’s link person reported:
     • There have been highs and lows listening to Radio Cumbria but the positive,
        feel good character of the station shines through.
     • I visited the second Health, Wealth and Happiness tour held in Whitehaven, a
        direct response to the BBC 2010 research into audiences where the BBC is
        encouraged to 'Get Together' with people in the community to foster links,
        have fun and create projects of mutual benefit and interest. A large number
        of people attended, mostly listeners, but hopefully the radio station will gain
        new listeners. It will be interesting to find out about the general feedback. I
        would like to see more of these kinds of events.
     • I feel outside reporters could be more pushy with their questions. When
        controversial issues come up I noticed answers are not followed up with a
        challenging question e.g. in a recent report on BNP MEPs,
     • Radio Cumbria and Carlisle United lost a great and well loved character last
        week when Derek Lacey died. The tributes to Derek have been tremendous
        over the last few days. I didn’t know him personally but listening to his
        commentaries on Carlisle United matches, made me feel that I did know him.
        This is the mark of a good commentator. There were many funny stories but
        I particularly liked the streaker commentary, played several times over the
        last few days.

BBC Newcastle’s link person reported:
   • Since our last RAC meeting we have seen high drama in our local sporting
     arenas, incredible stories surrounding expenses and the continuing credit

   •   I loved Charlie and Alfie’s attempts at GCSE French. It was a moment of high
       comedy and I admired Alfie’s pluck in trying to pull the wool over the
       examiners eyes by singing a French song he’d learned.
   •   The last few days have been significant by the invasion of Sunderland by Take
       That and Oasis). The coverage was great and the chat was fun…it’s taken
       our minds off elections and having moats cleaned out.
   •   Mike Parr has left us for Cumbria, though, not before I got my chance to be
       part of the phone-in hour. I followed our Chair, Hannah, into the studio a
       couple of days after she got up early to join the team for the whole show. I
       hadn’t realised quite how the show worked with people delivering pieces
       from separate studios. Really impressive and fast. I think his replacement
       team has moved in seamlessly. Mike was a big act to follow and the
       partnership between Alfie and Charlie is inspired
   •   Andrew informs me that “Alfie and Charlie @ Breakfast” are doing well so
       far and bedding in with excellent listener feedback.

There was no report from BBC Tees.

Head of Region’s Report
Members received the report before the meeting. Andrew Robson highlighted some
main points as follows:
    • Radio RAJAR figures were highlighted. BBC Tees figures were not so robust;
       there has been a change of name and is still work to be done.
    • Look North was doing well and the web sites were performing well.
    • There have been some big stories such as MP expenses, economy, swine flu,
       flights from Newcastle airport.
    • Changes on Radio Newcastle breakfast show are working well.
    • Mick Parr starts on R Cumbria soon.
    • Jeff Brown was covering for Carol Melia and was doing well.
    • BBC Tees was reviewing their Big Night Out event, which was for families
       and older people.
    • The Politics Show debate came from Maryport.
    • Digital Switchover promotion continued.

Audience Council England (draft Minutes)
The chair went through the minutes and emphasised the links between the RAC,
ACE and the BBC Trust, and suggested that members keep a note of any regional
programmes which merit a wider audience.
Action Carol to ask Phil Roberts to recommend programmes made regionally.
There were no programmes currently but that he would keep Carol informed.

ACE Induction Day
A member who had attended the day said that he found it extremely useful and felt
that the day made members feel valued and also more able to contribute.


Portrayal Project – discussion document.
Comments from the council included the following:
   • A member felt that it was not important for the BBC to represent the whole
       audience in drama, whereas it was important for news, and felt that it was
       better to be truthful to the story than to the audience.
   • There was not enough integration of diversity and the diverse values which
       inform our lives.
   • Values, attitudes to life and the way in which people interact were not
       represented in dramas; friendliness and cooperation were missing.
   • Members felt that people from the north were portrayed on television with
       stereotypical attitudes and responses, with the noisy sex/ASBO clip being a
       good example. Street interviews merely reinforced this and were far from
       representative of the north east community.
   • Another member pointed out that good drama does not stereotype.
   • Some members felt that soaps were not of such a high quality and so could
       include story lines featuring people from different ethnic groups.
   • BME factual broadcasting presenters could reflect the region.
   • Until Brookside there was very little representation of lesbianism and one
       member said it was refreshing to see life on screen, as she was living it.

Chair’s summary
Members were not sure why the BBC was looking at portrayal and hoped that it was
not tokenism but a desire for a natural portrayal of the world we live in. There was a
distinction between portrayal in news, sport and drama.
Portrayal in news meant finding a strong story which naturally reflected the region
and it was felt that the Look North team performed fairly well in representing the
north east
Members felt that there were distinct differences between drama and soaps, in that
good dramas needed to be truthful to the story so that regimes and policies did not
overrule the drama. Soaps were not felt to be of such a high quality and the writers
were thus able to introduce diversity and different characters without damaging the
drama. Integrated drama which illustrated issues, attitudes to life, and the way in
which people interact with friendliness and cooperation, seemed to be missing.
One member said she was pleased to see a piece on Look North about a gay rugby
team. It was refreshing as it meant that there was another take on sport. Members
felt that it was valuable to see yourself portrayed if you are part of a minority
audience, and that people commissioning programmes should not always commission
in their own image.
One member said there was not enough integration of diversity and the values which
accompany it. In real life we don’t live in our little areas but of necessity get involved
with diverse groups of people.

Generally Accepted Standards.
The chair gave a brief summary of the event.

Several people expressed a positive reaction to the Reith Lectures and Occupation.
Some members felt that coverage of MPs’ expenses has been too extreme.

8. Date of next meeting/outreach event Tuesday Sept 15 2009 Newcastle.


[We aim to make as much of the minutes available as possible. However, there will be
times when sections of the minutes will be withheld from publication. These will be kept to a
minimum and clearly marked.]


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