BBC Scotland faces budget cuts

BBC Scotland is facing £16 million in budget cuts;a fifth of its budget being cut in the next four years.

The cuts shall see popular, scottish programmes such as River City being taken off air in order to save funds. This has seen some backlash from BBC Scotland’s audience with social media site Twitter booming with angry tweets. One Twitter user argued: ‘I’m sad to hear about the cuts at BBC Scotland but they can’t cut River City, we’d be gutted!!’ while another tweeted, ‘I’d love to know just what they’ve  spent the £300k they were ‘gifted’ by Creative Scotland.’

BBC Chairman Lord Patten that there is more cuts to come, partly due to the freezing of licencing fees. He admited to focus on what they do best, some things need to go. BBC’s scottish audience now may feel that they have lost part of their routine;the love/hate show being watched by thousands loyally.  Losing shows such as River City, which has graced scottish television screens for nearly ten years, means that only english based soaps, such as Eastenders, will be avaliable; further alienating scots who consume everyday media that is dominated by english influence.Facebook has seen petitions put up in a bid to save the highly watched programme with over one thousand ‘likes’ in just a few days. They includes photographs of newspaper articles surrounding the show and a wall of comments from fans displaying their support such as, ‘SAVE RIVER CITY- ALMOST TEN YEARS!!! SAVE RIVER CITY!!’ When skimming down the page, other Facebook links had been added; appreciation pages of River City stating when it was first aired to many other ‘Save River City’ pages.There were also many posts about a friendly protest that was to take place outside the BBC building in Glasgow but has now been called off. But as popular as E-petitions may be, it looks like the cuts will go ahead. Although, Stephen McGinty in the Scotsman wrote that a senior executive at the BBC claims the show won’t be axed, but cut from 52 weeks a year to 40 with a break over the Summer. If this is true it may be the compromise that avid River City fans are looking for.

There are also rumours that overnight broadcasting on Radio Scotland will also be axed as will the scottish input into BBC2.In addition,there are expected job losses of 150 staff, reported on Sunday. This is a major worry with the current state of the economy. The majority of these jobs are said to be from departments such as human resources who aren’t as much in the limelight as higher positions in the BBC and make up 10% of current BBC Scotland staff.  All of these cuts are being put in place in order to reduce programme budgets by 20% and the annual cost of £2.4 billion.

With other entertainment shows and factual programmes in talks of being cut, these questions need to be asked: are they the right cuts to make?And if not, what will be cut next? Only Time will tell.

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