The loss of our local radio station

What has happened to the erstwhile, much-missed Exmouth community radio station?  Having undergone two changes of identity recently, there is not even a mention of Exmouth in the name any more.

The station has become a poor man’s clone of local commercial radio, with adverts every few minutes, some of which, especially after the news, are so poorly produced that it sounds as though the lady has a speech defect.

We were told years ago that Bay FM/Exmouth Air was a not-for-profit organisation which was set up to serve the community.  So what is the money from all these extra adverts being used for, apart from new transmitters to serve places other than Exmouth?

What has our community lost so far?

1) The local news every weekday.  Bay FM/Exmouth Air was the only community radio station to broadcast the local news.  We’ve also lost the daily pollen forecast.  A lot of the local community suffer from hay fever and other allergies.

2) Similarly we had a Sunday evening programme for people with mental health problems, something from which a third of the population suffers.  Those people have been swept under the carpet because that programme has gone.

3) We’ve lost the Sunday country music programme because “Nobody in the community likes country music!”  Country music has one of the biggest followings in the world!  Seemingly not in Exmouth, though. 

4) The weekend night-time jazz programme went for the same reason.

5) Now, what was the most listened-to programme on the station, “Memory Lane,” has gone so that the paid weekday morning DJ could have a pre-recorded pop programme (so no interaction with any listeners,) in place of the more tuneful, mellifluous music that people of a certain age in our community listened to in their droves, reminisced about and enjoyed.  You could tell that by the number of messages and requests the presenter used to read out.  Much more than any other programme, except for competitions.

These former listeners are people who have worked hard all their life.  Some have served their town, (the biggest town in Devon) and in many cases served their country in the Armed Forces.  A large section of the community – but, like the others I have mentioned, not a good enough part of the community to be looked after by Exmouth Air.  Is it ageism?  “Too old and not enough spending power to bother with?”

That’s three different genres of music gone, along with the local news.  Replaced by what?  Pop music that will, for the most part, be forgotten in a few weeks’ time.

One wonders how long it will be before we lose the last two specialist programmes in the schedule, “Motown To Memphis” on Saturdays and “Let’s Go Back To The 60s” on Sundays.  Even now, with the latter, we never know who is going to present it and how long the programme will last.

The last female presenter has also disappeared from the station, too.  She was so popular and is much-missed.

We have lost a diamond of a community radio station and have finished up with a pale imitation of the commercial stations that bombard us at all times of the day in every part of the country.  How long before one of them swallows up what was OUR good-to-listen-to LOCAL radio station?

Finally, I should like to quote from a letter that the station owner and presenter, Mr. Andy Green, had published in the Exmouth Journal in August 2013:  “It is important to remember that everybody at Bay FM, myself included, is a volunteer…” and “However, we are not permitted to have advertising, so we do not compete with other media, spoken or written…”  Are those statements, apart from the name-change from Bay FM, still true?  If not, why not?

Yours sincerely, Dick Jameson.