Rising Coronavirus cases -and attendant lockdowns affecting Manchester, Liverpool, parts of Cheshire and (mostly) South Lancashire have dominated headlines on BBC North West Tonight. Extensive coverage of the Inquest into the May 2017 Manchester Arena bombings also takes up extensive air-time on both BBC North West Tonight and ITV Granada. And (Coronavirus restrictions permitting) Sports coverage has increased with the start of the Football and Rugby seasons!
Meanwhile, in Cumbria, a man in his seventies has died after being found beside the A595 near Egremont, in West Cumbria, two penguins were stolen from South Lakes Safari Zoo (this was reported on BBC Look North, which is North East based) and the A590 main road linking Barrow-in-Furness with the M6 is getting a revamp. All quite important news for folk living in South Cumbria (someone local could be related to the poor chap who died after a mishap on the A595 near Egremont, which is not far from Millom, Duddon Bridge and Corney Fell- all locations that get BBC North West programming).
However Granada has not covered Cumbria for a fortnight- just look through their Twitter feed (https://twitter.com/GranadaReports ) and a look through BBC North West Tonight’s Twitter feed shows a similar (though less total) disregard for Cumbria. Annabel Tiffin did at least have a piece on the outdoor- swimmer in Ullswater the other day and there was also a very brief bit of coverage on a council meeting in Kendal regarding plans for a new coal mine in West Cumbria, where some protesters turned up. That aside, there’s been nothing on Cumbria for a fortnight!
Our North West Regional Television broadcasters need to re-acquaint themselves with a map of England and see where the North West Region is: It certainly does not stop at Kendal and there is another forty percent of the Region north of that line. It might not be part of their “Patch” but North, West and Central Cumbria are in North West England and, if our North West Regional News broadcasters advertise as covering North West England they should cover the Region in its entirety- not just the part of North West England where the big cities are and not even just the part of North West England in their transmission areas.
It is really dismissive of Cumbrian viewers of their programmes for BBC North West and ITV Granada not to cover all of Cumbria: Why should those viewers not find out what is going on across their county on their so-called local television news? Other BBC and ITV Regions provide overlap zones so viewers at the periphery of the respective transmission areas get better all-round coverage and news about their counties. For instance, BBC Look North (Yorkshire) covers all of North Yorkshire in its news-output despite this Regional News programme only being received in the southern third of North Yorkshire. Likewise BBC Look North (North East/ Cumbria) covers all of Cumbria in its news-output, even South Cumbria, despite the fact that only North and West Cumbria can receive BBC Look North (North East/ Cumbria) programming. BBC Look North (North East/ Cumbria) also covers virtually all of North Yorkshire, despite the programme only being received by viewers in the northern half of North Yorkshire.
Regional Television broadcasters in the North West should follow suit- and stick an overlap zone across northern and West Cumbria so that their Cumbrian viewers get news across their county. Such a move will also improve North West Regional Television for viewers in northern Lancashire who would then get proper all- round coverage of locations of interest to the north of them as well as to the south.