I remember when the BBC`s Asian network was a twinkle in its creators eyes!
I was a member of the advisory council for the local radio ,for that BBC, when the proposal was put through to start such a radio broadcast. At the time I was one of the many who were opposed to the idea. I thought that creating separate radio stations was a divisive act for the communities, instead ,we said the mainstream programmes should cater for ALL.
But the corporation was concerned about its standing. With all the commercial stations catering for the Asian communities, they said, they will be left behind, and that was bad for their image.
So it came to pass and the station was born. I only have been listening since the last four years or so, or since |I have acquired a digital radio.
I have been impressed by its output. It has tackled some very difficult issues in its documentaries, and it plays some cool music some of the times.
And their phone in programme from nine in the morning is rather popular , and I became a regular listener, and lately have been a regular participant too. I would like to see this radio station flourish, and become a respected channel like radio four or Five. But that is unlikely if they don’t pay attention to detail.
I will explain.
What really at times irks me is that the station at times thinks that it is a an independent body, and the rules of decency, impartiality and fairness don’t apply to them. And I think it is also forgotten that it is a public service broadcaster, funded by the license fees.
About two years ago I remember on of the presenter made a remark about a criminal case which I thought was highly ir regular, I then wrote to the editor of that programme , and got a sort of explanation/ apology, I can not be more specific as it was a while ago and I don’t remember the exact details.
The Phone ins, seem to be an outlet for racists , sexists and bigots to come and do their stuff. In past I have phoned and challenged people for calling White women promiscuous, and other objectionable statements.
What I really object to is that they have the SAME person , who is known to make such statements again and again, sometimes on a daily basis.
There is a certain man who keeps emphasising that he is a school governor. If the archives of the programme were to be looked at, they will find many objectionable statements by him. But I would like to quote very recent examples.
On the 9th of February, I was part of the discussion about the author Salman Rushdie and the Fatwa on him some twenty years ago. This man came on air and said, if he was to meet the author, he will pull his tongue out and cut his hands off. I challenged him that he can not come on national radio and incite violence against another citizen. He just ignored me.
About two week ago he was on air again, this time about domestic violence, he said he has slapped his wife ,for insulting his parents, and he will do it again if she “behaved in that manner again”. I phoned and complained.
He was on air again last week, this time on immigration, he derided all European immigrants, and suggested that “Romanian people were the **** of the earth”.
I have written to the people concerned ,but not had any reply.
It matters because NO other station will get away by using such language, leave alone a publicly owned one.
By giving airtime to a person known to have such views, the station is reinforcing his beliefs.
The man claims to be a school governor, and expresses such extreme views on radio, what kind of an example is it to the young people?
The station has as much responsibility for airing such views so often.
This week the actor David Jason has been reprimanded for telling a harmless joke on the radio,why dont the people who quickly complaint listen to such outputs?
It is such attitudes which are having a negative impact on race relations.