Entertainment

BBC announces changes to local news services to ‘reflect diverse communities'

The shake-up will cover regions across England.

The BBC has announced cost-cutting sweeping changes to local news services to reflect diversity and “life in modern England”.

In the biggest leadership reshuffle in 50 years, the BBC will axe senior management roles as part of the mission to modernise regional coverage.

The BBC declared on Wednesday that “England is changing” and announced plans to refresh how the corporation operates across the nation.

Broadcasting bosses warned that significant demographics were not engaging with BBC content, and changes were needed to better reflect the diversity of modern England and pronounced regional differences in what audiences wanted.

Director of BBC England Helen Thomas said: “There are significant groups who don’t engage enough with what we do.

“England is changing and audience behaviour is changing too. This presents us with a challenge and an exciting opportunity.

“We’re going to reinvent and refresh what we do in England to ensure we reflect all of the country’s diverse communities while providing services in ways people want them.

“We will be about more than news, we will own local conversations and reflect life in modern England, recognising the different audience demands in different parts of the country and what that means for our output.”

The BBC has said its regional TV bulletins at 6:30pm are collectively the most watched news programme on UK TV. It also revealed that six million people listen to its Local Radio stations each week.

Scottish BBC platform for youth content, The Social, will be launched in England as part of a bid to reach other audiences, and allow young people to create their own content.

Radio stations will continue the work which has seen them given a quota for 15 hours of extra digital content per week, and better reflect topical local issues. Talent and content creation will be pooled across the BBC, with other areas of the corporation working to produce new material for regional audiences, it was revealed.

As part of the move, the number of senior management roles will be slashed from 11 to eight, with new regional roles replacing the former structure of 10 regional bosses in a bid to save money.

Ms Thomas said: “These changes will ensure we have a clear management structure. We’ll also be saving money as the number of senior managers will be reduced.

“Ultimately, this is all about providing a better experience for our audiences.”

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