Media / Talk of the Trade: Scots miffed

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The Independent Online
AS THE White Paper on the BBC approaches, the formidable Campaign for Broadcasting in Scotland has been busily lobbying MPs, lords and the Department of National Heritage for a renewed Charter agreement that ensures a fairer share of nationally raised budgets. The chairman, Nigel Smith, argues that the current metropolitan bias is not justifiable, but simply directing BBC departments to outposts of the UK, as happened when youth and religious programming was exiled to Manchester, doesn't work either. Nor is it simply a matter of ensuring a range of regional accents, or sending Radio 2 to Birmingham, as a report from David Hatch, special adviser to John Birt, suggested. On the ground, BBC Scotland reports that its switch from long runs of studio-based programmes is leaving it with less, rather than more, production: Rab C Nesbitt is its main contribution to schedules. Robert Maclennan, broadcasting spokesman for the Liberal Democrats, says: 'I believe the BBC needs a radical rethink of its regional strategy.' Which puts the ball firmly in the court of Ron Neil, BBC regional managing director.