An Open Letter to the BBC Trust in response to the Delivering Quality First proposals.

Dear BBC Trust,

In most countries, the indigenous music, songs and dances of an area are seen as a part of regional and national identity. They are well-promoted, encouraged and supported as a vital part of the culture. In England, it seems that folk music is dismissed a something of interest only to a small group of enthusiasts, ‘hippies from the hills,’ ‘the knit your own museli brigade.’ But it flourishes – perhaps flourishes all the better from being out of the eye of major commercial interests. There is plenty of commercial music broadcast on the radio, there is very little folk music in comparison. Very little. And we need to keep what we still have left.

With the planned changes to BBC Local Radio, we are told we will lose those local evening radio programmes which do such a great job of letting the listeners hear local music as well as music by performers coming to our area, often live performances in the radio station’s studio; along with a thoughtfully chosen selection of other folk music on record, news and interviews. One such is Radio Shropshire’s Sunday Folk, which is presented by Genevieve Tudor and syndicated to Radio Hereford and Worcester and Radio Stoke. A great many folk music radio shows have already gone from other stations, I know that a number of listeners now enjoy Gen’s show via the Internet, having lost their own local shows.

I hope there is some point in my writing to you, asking you to reconsider the ending of all genre-music programmes on BBC Local Radio, even if this means moving the best of these programmes to daytime positions to allow the evening switch-off you are planning. Far from being mere fillers, vital, grass-roots programmes like Sunday Folk allow people in these four counties – and, increasingly, a nationwide and world-wide audience through the Internet – to stay in touch with what is going on. It is good for the area, good for small local businesses and charity events in this largely rural area, it is good for morale and for social-contact. It’s also very pleasant and enjoyable listening, of course, providing a fine introduction for those new to the genre, the folk music lovers of the future. Above all, Sunday Folk, its presenters and its audience feel like family and friends. Please don’t take it away from us.

10 Responses to “An Open Letter to the BBC Trust in response to the Delivering Quality First proposals.”

  1. Sunday Folk is the only BBC radio show I listen to and I do this on iplayer.
    I read the live facebook discussion, I know some of the musicians who are guests, I send event information to the show and I feel part of a large group of friends.
    Here in South Cheshire, this is the folk show we have known and loved for years and it brings together a larger community than the BBC intended or are even aware of and extends it outside of the show. Genevieve is seen, heard and recognised in a lot of places for broadcasting folk.
    If you have to make changes, then this is a show that should be rescheduled, not cut.

  2. Terrence O'Keeffe Says:

    I have been listening to Radio Shropshire since Radio WM decided to cancel the networked Folk music programme (by the late Richard Walker). I discovered by accident that I could receive Radio Shropshire direct, as I could Radio Derby, due to my position in Solihull in the West Midlands. I also discovered a loyal band of other listeners to Folk music in the West Midlands. Getting Folkies to listen to a radio programme is quite a feat, as this type of music is usually enjoyed as a live performance.

    Genevieve Tudor’s Sunday Folk is such a remarkable programme that I feel it would pass muster as a National network programme. Whatever, it is very short-sighted to bring it to a close.

  3. suetortoise Says:

    If anybody wants to write to the Trust on the subject of these proposals, the address is:
    Delivering Quality First
    BBC Trust
    180 Great Portland Street

  4. Thank you for this Sue
    I hope you’ve posted it to the DQF!

  5. I listen to folk music over the internet (Mike Harding, Frank Hennessey and Genevieve). Surely this licence payer is entitled to five hours a week of the music he likes?

  6. Anne Lennox-Martin Says:

    Gen’s programme has been an important part of the life and heritage of the Shropshire, West Midlands and UK Folk music scene for many years. Gen herself has been steeped in all things folk for as long as I can remember and before.
    She is not just a presenter but an active participant in events and sessions and her knowledge and understanding brings the music to life as well as her interviews with national artists passing through.
    This is the LASTshow you should consider cutting.
    Anne Lennox-Martin

  7. Thank you Barry and thank you Anne…
    And Sue, I’ve sent your excellent Open Letter to Andy Boddington who is keen to save folk music on the radio…

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