I was disappointed to read the letter from ‘Dick Jameson’ concerning the radio station where I volunteer, with its inaccurate depiction of East Devon Radio.
To pick up the points raised…
- The recent name change was quite deliberate in that we wanted listeners in the wider community who were not actually Exmouth residents to feel we were their station too. Our original name (Bay FM) didn’t mention Exmouth either, so it was a strange criticism to make.
- There are simply not advertisements ‘every few minutes’. During the day there are two ad breaks per hour of around 6 ads of about 40s each – that is around 8 mins per hour, much less than on television. There are no adverts at all in the evenings or during most weekend programmes. However, these ads support the local businesses and the economy in our community, something of which we are proud and we should welcome and not criticise, surely?
- There is also an implication, presented without any evidence, in the comment on ads that there may be some financial impropriety. There are rules and regulations around how much advertising revenue can be raised and I can assure Mr. Jameson that we work within them.
- The short local news bulletin only went out during part of the day and was actually quite brief. A far more comprehensive service is now provided on our website where there are myriad local news stories available all day every day and are in far more in depth and stories are regularly read out by our presenters.
- The pollen forecast was dropped some years ago. Local TV weather forecasters do not now include it either.
- Some of the comments on programming are clearly a matter of taste, although there are factual inaccuracies. Clearly the list is intended to paint a picture of specialist weekend programming being cut back – I have been on the station for over 8 years and there has never been a Jazz or Country programme at the weekends in that time, and the programme talking about mental health was many years ago and only went because the presenter could no longer commit to the station. The weekday Country programme wasn’t dropped – the specialist presenters could no longer travel the considerable distance to the station. I would also be very interested to know how Mr. Jameson knows the number of listeners and messages each programme receives! Memory Lane certainly had a loyal audience, mainly on line, but the presenter decided to leave, thus depriving his audience of the show. To be clear, this was his choice – he resigned live on air.
- It is true that certain genres do not have a specialist programme, and Mr. Jameson mentions Country specifically, but we also do not have a specific specialist show for many other popular genres – folk, blues, reggae, brass bands, musical theatre, rap, indie, heavy metal, punk, lounge, acoustic, garage, hip hop, psyche, prog, new wave, easy listening….but we do have shows that focus on the 60’s, the 70’s, the 80’s, Rock n Roll, Soul and Motown, Rockabilly, and Rock. Other shows will present a mix of all of the genres mentioned above, as well as local events and gig news. You will search in vain for these shows on a commercial station, which makes the assertion that we are simply a ‘pale imitation’ of them somewhat ridiculous. Clearly, not every station will appeal to everyone, and there are plenty of alternatives, but I am proud of our diversity compared to other pop stations.
- Presenters have always come and gone from the station, and this is true of all stations from time to time. At the end of the day, we are all volunteers here who give our time and energy because we love what we do, but sometimes work or other life events intervene and people choose to move on – it is almost always sad when that happens.
- The quote from Andy Green from way back in 2013 regarding advertising reflected the situation 8 years ago when the rules around Community Radio stations were quite different to today, and were true then but are no longer true for today. We also used to get grants from the public purse via local government, which we no longer receive, and some people objected to that! A radio station costs money to run – I wonder if Mr. Jameson has a suggestion as to alternatives?
- I would be more than happy to meet Mr. Dick Jameson and discuss the station with him from a volunteer’s point of view, as he is clearly a long time listener. Mr. Jameson also clearly has an affinity, not to mention a particular knowledge of, and affection for, the Memory Lane programme – it is a real pity that the presenter sadly decided to leave because of a proposed slight change in its broadcast slot.
In any event, I trust this has answered the criticisms and I look forward to the station developing and growing further as an important part of our community.
Yours sincerely, Nigel Tant (Exmouth)