Northern Ireland news

Marketing consultant to meet Ofcom today following Stephen Nolan clash over Jim Allister appearances

Marketing consultant Tim McKane challenged Stephen Nolan about the number of times TUV leader Jim Allister had appeared on his daily radio show. Picture from Twitter
Marie Louise McConville

A marketing consultant who challenged Stephen Nolan about the number of times a unionist politician has appeared on his radio show will meet Ofcom today to raise the issue.

Tim McKane, who has worked in marketing and communication for four decades, highlighted TUV leader Jim Allister's regular appearances on The Nolan Show during Tuesday morning's programme.

There was a short exchange between Stephen Nolan and Mr McKane on the issue, which was then shared widely on social media.

Mr McKane claimed that Mr Allister's regular contributions were disproportionate to the number of assembly votes he received.

He added that he appeared two or three times a week - which Nolan said was "not factual"

Mr Nolan said he found the comments made by the caller to be defamatory.

The exchange was removed from the show when it later appeared on the BBC Sounds website.

Yesterday, Mr Allister appeared on the show again.

Mr McKane told The Irish News yesterday that he "can't understand" why BBC NI does not keep records of appearances.

He said he raised the issue about Mr Allister's appearances on The Nolan Show with Peter Johnston, Director of BBC NI, in February.

He said that after he raised the issue, Mr Allister appeared on four shows in the following day - February 18,19, 23 and 24.

Mr McKane said he has been told it would be "a lot of hard work to find out" the number of appearances.

He added that he would be meeting communications regulator Ofcom today to ask it to "explain how there is oversight of the BBC and if the BBC Charter is also being followed".

Mr McKane said it was not an "anti Jim Allister" issue rather "this could be anybody".

"I was saying at that time about the number of votes," he said.

"I have spoken to Peter Johnston several times. Why are they having him on so often? I think is very serious."

Mr McKane, who runs Tim McKane Communications, said when the BBC has a particular politician on the show so often it gives them "credibility".

"People are being influenced," he said.

Mr McKane said he was "gobsmacked" that his comments had been edited out of the uploaded version of The Nolan Show after the clash and added that he was "completely not surprised" that Mr Allister had appeared on the show again yesterday.

A spokesman for BBC NI said: "We include a breadth of views and voices on The Nolan Show.

"It provides an inclusive forum for debate and holds decision-makers to account," he said.

"As part of this work, the programme routinely invites contributions from different political parties. Its journalism is impartial, independent and focused on stories that are in the public interest."

When asked about why Mr McKane's comments had been edited out of an online upload of Tuesday morning's Nolan Show, the spokesman added: "Programmes are sometimes edited before appearing on BBC Sounds.

"This is a routine process, based on relevant editorial considerations."

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