BBC North West Tonight is better than ITV Granada Reports for North Lancastrians

10th August 2021

This evening there were two more news- features about South Cumbria were on BBC North West Tonight– a news-feature about a Kendal-based Indie pop-group and another news- feature about wildlife at Foulney Island- just off the coast near Barrow-in-Furness. There was also a news- feature about the Isle of Man and two extensive news- features concerning Lancashire (Burnley and also Bamber Bridge, just south of Preston). That is close to 50% coverage of Lancashire, Cumbria and the Isle of Man which shows that BBC North West provides a more geographic spread of coverage across North West England than ITV Granada does- and the fact that there are potential 200,000 Cumbrian viewers in the BBC North West transmission area and also that BBC North West is competing directly with ITV Border Lookaround for half of the potential Cumbrian viewers of BBC North West Tonight might have something to do with it! ITV Granada has less pressure to please Cumbrian viewers as it’s transmission area does not extend so far into Cumbria. ITV Granada has just half the Cumbria- based viewers in it’s transmission area that BBC North West does, and naturally, if ITV Granada is the default ITV Region the default is not- by definition- ITV Border (although that need not stop viewers in those parts of South Cumbria or even in North Lancashire from getting ITV Border News programming).

The geographical profile of viewers in a TV Region will pressurise the News Programmers to cover the most favoured areas as well as those with a higher population. Accordingly, it means that BBC North West is going to be rather more inclined to cover Cumbria than ITV Granada- and it also covers Lancashire better. Last night, BBC North West Tonight featured the proposed coal-mine to be built near Whitehaven in West Cumbria (some 15 miles north of the transmission boundary) because BBC North West Programmers considered that potentially 200,000 Cumbrians in the north of the BBC North West transmission area might be interested in it because it is about Cumbria: Crucially the news- feature on the proposed Whitehaven coal-mine was within 30 miles of Millom, Ravenglass and Bootle (all within the BBC North West transmission area) where employment prospects would conceivably be transformed by the new mine, and BBC North West Tonight were right to cover it.

Thus, all things considered, it means that BBC North West Tonight provides more local and geographic- all round coverage for viewers who live in Lancashire and South Cumbria than ITV Granada Reports does. So, if you live in Lancashire you should watch BBC North West Tonight because that will provide you with more all- round local news-coverage. However, if you live in South Cumbria and northern Lancashire you should watch ITV Border’s Lookaround in addition to (or even instead of) BBC North West Tonight because it provides 50% coverage of Cumbria consistently. It remains the case, especially in view of the fact that there are periods of time when not even BBC North West cover Cumbria, that Programmers at BBC North West (as well as at ITV Granada) need to feel the pressure of northern competition from as many viewers as is practically possible. This will keep Regional News -providers clear that they need to earn the loyalty of their Cumbrian and North Lancastrian viewers by providing geographic- appropriate Regional News coverage.

Published by northwestisnorthwest

My name is Ian Pennell and I am a freelance Book-keeper: I live near Alston, in the North Pennines in north-east Cumbria. I have friends who live in northern North West England - near Lancaster (which is where I went to University and used to live until 17 years ago) and in other parts of Cumbria. I have two Website Campaigns that seek to promote more localised Regional TV coverage for large rural areas across the North of North West England and North East England. . A big problem is that the Regional Television Bulletins for the North West covers the southern third of the Region about 90% (plus a part of Derbyshire which is NOT the North West of England), covers the middle third of North West England poorly and covers the northern third of North West England not at all! When I was studying at Lancaster University, I used to watch BBC1 North West Tonight because it covered areas up around where I was brought up- in northern Cumbria as well as more immediately locally around Lancaster. Then I came home one day, turned on BBC1 North West Tonight wondering why they were silent on Cumbria and discovered why: Most of Cumbria had been chopped off the weather-map! . People living in the westernmost part of North West England (around St. Bees Head) have local BBC news on their televisions which is 90% about North East England! In rural and northern Northumberland too, Regional TV, as is received by viewers, tends too often to be Tyneside/ Wearside/ Teesside- focussed with little news locally. Communities in North Northumberland have strong links across the Border into south-east Scotland and towards Edinburgh but none of the Regional TV News- services serving Northumberland today ever goes across the Scottish Border for significant happenings of interest to North Northumbrians. I have also done walking in the area, including around the Cheviots in the past- and the Northumberland/ Scottish Borders/ East and Mid Lothian area is vast- but it is largely overlooked by mainstream Regional TV! . North Yorkshire, the largest county in England also falls in the gaps between coverage from BBC Look North (NE/ Cumbria) or ITV1 News Tyne Tees in the north of the county, and the Leeds-based BBC1 and ITV1 Regional TV- services in the south of the county: North Yorkshire is a huge, yet beautiful county, which I have visited and explored in the past, yet is poorly covered in Regional TV. . Based near Alston, near the Cumbria/ Northumberland boundary I am well-placed to discuss Regional TV in all these large rural areas, in which collectively some two million folk live, yet they are poorly covered by the Regional TV News- services set up to serve them. These huge areas are an hour to two hours' drive from where I live: North Lancashire and South/ West Cumbria are to the south-west, Northumberland and the Scottish Borders and Lothian are to the north and north-east, and North Yorkshire is to the south-east of my home near Alston. I am well-placed to draw attention to deficiencies in Regional TV coverage for folk in all these areas. The North Pennines, where I live, is arguably another large area that touches on the other three where Regional TV coverage falls through the gaps completely (and that is despite the North Pennines running north to south down the middle of the BBC1 NE/ Cumbria Region). . In two websites, one for northern North West England and the Isle of Man (a country in it's own right that does not have it's own TV service!), and another Website focussing on Northumberland, North Yorkshire and the North Pennines I make the point that Regional TV that informs viewers of important things in their local area is a Public Service, funding for which should be given a higher priority (and if necessary via statute through the BBC's Charter), than funding for Soaps, Films or Sport- which are for leisure. I also give viewers the tools to fight effectively for better- and more geographic-appropriate Regional TV where they live- and to seek it through alternative (often little-known) local TV services, some of which may only be available on the Internet.

One thought on “BBC North West Tonight is better than ITV Granada Reports for North Lancastrians

  1. There was lot news story in Isle of Man that not get on to bbc like election news and news on The climate report also on a levels and GSCE

    It’s always with the BBC a token gesture they just do a little bit to shut the people on isle of man up What is the bet UK got more news stories than the Isle of Man on BBC northwest service we get is crap bbc in Isle of Man

    not even covering the election on Thursday Parliament dissolves and and run up election probably starts on Thursday so bad Service we get for the Isle of Man

    Like on old and new MHK and still on bbc but still getting a crap service that doesn’t even cover the big news stories of the Isle of Man makes radio is doing way better than the BBC like more news story on manx radio and more talk on election then bbc

    wish we had a service like Gibraltar where they have their own bbc call GBC or l Republic of Ireland RTE It’s getting to the point that we have a BBC on the island or have own version of the BBC

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