28th September 2023
Regular readers on this website will realise that this Website campaigns for better, more localised Regional TV in the northern half of North West England: This website encourages folk who live in Lancashire and South Cumbria to fight for more local Regional TV news with the tools that they have. One way of doing this is by watching the Regional TV programming that exists that is more geographic-appropriate.
PRESTON CITY CENTRE ON A HOT SUMMER’S DAY. VIEWERS OF REGIONAL TV LIVING IN PRESTON AND ON THE FYLDE COAST WOULD BE BETTER WATCHING BBC1 NORTH WEST TONIGHT FOR THEIR REGIONAL NEWS AND THAT’S TV LANCASHIRE FOR REALLY LOCAL NEWS. VIEWERS SHOULD NOT WATCH ITV1 GRANADA REPORTS WHICH STRUGGLES TO GET NORTH OF THE M62 CORRIDOR. PHOTO TAKEN IN JULY 2003 COURTESY OF IAN PENNELL.
BBC1 North West Tonight
Both BBC1 North West Tonight and ITV1 Granada Reports cover areas north of Preston poorly. However, BBC1 North West Tonight does cover Lancashire better than ITV1 Granada Reports, and it covers Cumbria too. On the other hand, it is rare that ITV1 Granada Reports has a full-on news-feature about Cumbria. This is indisputable, and a trawl through the Facebook feeds of ITV1 Granada Reports and of BBC1 North West Tonight indicates how much news from north of Preston each produces. Two nights ago, BBC1 North West Tonight had a major piece on Leighton Moss, near Carnforth in North Lancashire. There was also a mention of the South Lakes Safari Zoo, near Ulverston last night on the programme. One typically goes days without hearing of anything from north of Preston on ITV1 Granada Reports.
To that end, it means that if one lives north of the M62 corridor viewers should watch BBC1 North West Tonight. That’s if they want a more local news-service. This is not to say that BBC1 North West Tonight is ideal for viewers who live north of Preston. However, one stands a higher chance of getting news within fifty miles of one’s home from BBC1 North West Tonight!
This is useful for folk living in and around Preston or on the Fylde Coast to know: These parts of Lancashire can get That’s TV Lancashire (Freeview Channel 7- website here: http://www.thats.tv/lancashire/), with ten minutes’ news just about Lancashire. However it’s hard for folk to break the habit of a lifetime: That sit-down-and-watch Regional news at tea-time is ingrained. Also, a short ten-minute programme might not be folks’ idea of good Regional news. Nevertheless , folk still have ways to communicate to programmers their viewing needs through action, not just words. This means that Lancastrians should watch BBC1 North West Tonight not ITV1 Granada Reports for local news. This BBC1 Regional TV service is unmistakably North West, and recognises the regional affiliation towards Manchester that many Lancastrians have.
Choices for viewers in Lancashire
North Lancastrians have stronger links with Cumbria and the Lakes, which BBC1 North West Tonight fails to recognise: Folk living north of the River Ribble would prefer a more Lancashire-Cumbria flavoured Regional news-programme. Indeed, from somewhere like Carnforth both BBC1 North West and ITV1 Granada can seem very Manchester/ Merseyside-focussed. Viewers here could switch over to ITV1 Border Lookaround with a clear view north for their aerial: ITV1 Border Lookaround has lots of news about Cumbria: This, combined with the Lancs Live website might be better for getting more geographic-appropriate news in North Lancashire.
Viewers in central Lancashire
Further south near Preston, switching to Regional TV that covers Cumbria and southern Scotland, but not Lancashire appeals less. The ability to boycott regional TV to strongly convey to programmers that locals want better depends on alternatives. It also depends on where folk live. On the Fylde Coast and around Preston BBC1 North West Tonight is the most local half-hour Regional TV that there is. Here viewers should watch this Regional TV which typically has two or three news-items about Lancashire each night.
However much they may want news about Lancashire and some about Cumbria, Prestonians still have links with Manchester. Manchester is just 30 miles from Preston and half an hour away by train. The credible course of action for folk living near Preston would be to watch North West Tonight, not Granada Reports. Viewers should also write to programmers to demand more local news-coverage. They should explain that’s why they don’t watch ITV1 Granada Reports. If programmers don’t respond positively then there’s That’s TV Lancashire one can watch. That would ram the message home to Regional TV programmers. This, of course, depends if one is prepared to give up the half-hour Regional TV viewing!
The ideal for Regional TV is 80% within a half-hour drive of one’s home and 20% of news from places up to an hour’s drive away. For Preston and the Fylde coast, much of Cumbria but also most of Greater Manchester is within an hour’s drive. It follows that BBC1 North West Tonight provides the wider area coverage that That’s TV Lancashire doesn’t: A combination of the two is likely to provide the best mix of geographic-appropriate local and Regional TV news.
Watching Regional TV and putting pressure on Regional TV Programmers
It is, therefore, possible for Lancashire viewers to help themselves to good all-round local news coverage and put pressure on Regional TV producers. As far south as Chorley it is possible to completely turn off ITV1 Granada Reports and still get local news. Those who don’t mind just a ten-minute Regional TV programme can just watch That’s TV Lancashire for local news, and boycott BBC1 North West Tonight too if it’s not local enough. All this, in addition to writing in and involving the local MP, puts pressure on broadcasters. Producers for ITV1 Granada Reports would be more sensitive to such pressure since fewer viewers means less advertising revenue. A potential loss of one million Lancastrians would concentrate minds in the ITV1 Granada newsroom in Media City!
ITV.Plc will not easily be persuaded that they need to ensure ITV1 Granada Reports covers Lancashire and Cumbria more. That’s because three-quarters of viewers who live in the ITV1 Granada transmission area live in Greater Manchester, Merseyside and Cheshire. Programmers would want to retain the viewers in the urban south of north West England. The solution that is required is for an opt-out from ITV1 Granada Reports to cover Lancashire and Cumbria better. But only if everyone who lives north of the M62 Corridor switches to BBC1 North West Tonight is that likely. Faced with the potential loss of almost half their viewers (and a fall in advertising revenue), ITV1 Granada may decide to invest in a 15-minute opt-out from within ITV1 Granada Reports. This would provide Lancastrians and south Cumbrians with much more localised news-programming. That, in turn, will increase the pressure on BBC1 North West Tonight to cover Lancashire and Cumbria better.