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BBC cuts: What does this mean for Wales?

Today, BBC Wales made cuts, the result of a report called “Delivering Quality First” that affects the whole BBC.

In the DQF report, as its been dubbed, BBC Wales will need to deliver a savings of 16 percent over the next five years. That’s £10.7m by 2016-17.

Addressing BBC Wales earlier today, Rhodri Talfan Davies, Director of BBC Cymru Wales, said that they’ve conducted “a root and branch review”.

Approximately 120 posts will close over the next five years, while 20 new posts will be created – a net loss between 86 and107 posts.

Mr Davies says that they will need to deliver most of the savings in the first two years — between 2012 and 2014 — because of the extra responsibilities the BBC will have to take on afterwards.

What will change in Wales?

Mr Davies talked about wanting to “encourage a wider range of perspectives and voices in our journalism”.

Here are some of the plans laid out to accomplish this:

  • A new weekly flagship programme will launch in 2012 on BBC One Wales with “a wider Welsh public life agenda”. The programme will replace Dragon’s Eye next autumn and be produced by the independent sector.
  • ‘Week In Week Out’ will have its budget protected, but independent producers will be invited to contribute
  • Two new reporters will be appointed to cover politics.
  • The Wednesday afternoon edition of am:pm broadcast on BBC Two Wales, and live afternoon coverage of the Spring Conferences will be under review.

Mr Davies pledged “There will be no scope cuts in our daily news services – that is, we won’t be cutting a minute of output”

Economics and Culture Correspondent posts will be created, as well as an additional reporter for the South Wales Valleys.

The number of off-peak programmes broadcast on both Radio Wales and Radio Cymru over the five year period will be reduced, although the stations will “continue to showcase new Welsh music, invest in drama and comedy, and commission weekly arts programmes.”

In addition, investment in long-form documentary and feature programming on Radio Wales and Radio Cymru will reduce by up to 25% over the period

Why cut at the BBC?

The cuts came about after the Licence Fee settlement last year. After discussions between the UK Government and the BBC, it was agreed that the Licence Fee should remain at £145.50 until the renewal of the BBC’s Charter in 2017.

The agreement with the Government also meant the BBC would fund extra broadcasting-related activities including:

  • The BBC World Service and BBC Monitoring
  • Taking over the funding of S4C
  • Support for a new local television service
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