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Global radio remains stuck on one, restricted frequency

So, this week brought radio audience (RAJAR) triumph for LBC, but one thing our favourite broadcaster is not doing is Leading Britain’s Conversation on diversity, says Edward Adoo.

In this week’s RAJAR results, LBC Radio’s reach increased with record figures, yet it’s on air line-up remains stuck firmly with the same, narrow mould: middle class and white.

Various broadcasters are addressing their concerns on how to deal with making their output more inclusive with a number of pioneering initiatives with the BBC, Sky. Channel 4 and Premier Radio leading the way with key appointments in production, executive and on air teams.

Yet, Global radio – the UK’s biggest radio broadcaster and owners of LBC, XFM, Capital, Classic and Heart – have yet to announce any specific schemes to address what they will do to increase diversity across their output. Global have a lot of catching up to do.

Their brands reach out to a cross demographic in London, Birmingham and other major inner cities. Global listeners are not just middle class and white they are diverse but this is not reflective with presenters and behind the scenes with editors, production and back room staff.

The controversial rebrand of Choice FM to Capital Xtra did not work in Global’s favour with many key figures in the black community questioning their commitment to providing content for diverse audiences with Reggae, Soca and Gospel music shows axed. A loyal demographic and community were in effect pushed over the edge.

I highlighted my concerns to James Rea, news editor and LBC controller, and CEO Ashley Tabor on Twitter about the lack of BAME talent on LBC. I failed to get even a response. Nothing has been done so far to change their remit on diversity and make their output more inclusive.

When I have mentioned this to my friends they have laughed off my concerns & said “LBC is too blokey, white van drivers mainly listen. It’s not ethnic”. What does that mean? Ethnic talent can’t cut it too? Of course they can.

LBC should reflect the audience its serves. It may have been rebranded as a national network but still has a London presence with it’s a FM frequency. If BBC London and Radio 5 Live can offer a diverse output with presenters and content why can’t LBC?

This should be reflected in it’s output. I am fed up of hearing immigrant bashing by middle class White presenters on LBC. There are many high profile broadcasters who would fit the bill perfectly in fine style.

Sir Trevor Philips, Hardeep Kohli Singh, Adil Ray, Henry Bonsu, Charlene White, Jasmine Dotiwala and Claudia Liza Armah are just a few names that spring to mind.

No doubt those broadcasters would do a stern job hosting daily or weekly shows and be as good as their white counterparts, Nick Ferrari, Sheila Fogarty, Iain Dale and James O Brien. So why haven’t they and other BAME talent been given the opportunity to hosts key shows?

I am keen to find out what Global Radio have planned or to say about this. Hope they will finally follow the BBC, Sky, Channel 4 and Premier Radio’s footsteps in forming a strategic plan to increase BAME diversity across their networks. Let’s hope but wouldn’t place a bet on it.

Edward Adoo is a DJ and Broadcaster, writer on BBC Three Counties Radio Sundays 8 till 10pm and Mi-Soul Radio, Tuesdays 2 till 4pm


Sky TV Unveils New Targets to Improve BAME on Screen Representation

Sky today announces stretching new targets to improve the representation of black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) people across its entertainment channels. The targets are designed to ensure that programmes on Sky 1, Sky Atlantic, Sky Living and Sky Arts better reflect the diversity of Sky’s 10.7 million TV customers in Britain and Ireland.
In addition, as the fastest-growing source of investment in original British programming, Sky wants to play a leading role in making the television industry more accessible to talented people from all backgrounds.
Sky’s new targets address the diversity of talent both on screen and behind the camera. To drive real and sustainable change, Sky will work closely with companies from the independent production sector to seek out and nurture new talent.
By the end of 2015, Sky aims to achieve the following targets for the new programmes it commissions for its entertainment channels.

On Screen Portrayal

All brand new, non-returning shows on Sky entertainment channels will have people from BAME backgrounds in at least 20% of significant on-screen roles. This commitment covers all genres of programmes, including drama, comedy, entertainment and factual.


All of Sky’s original programmes will have someone with a BAME background in at least one senior production role. This is aimed at providing more opportunities for people with BAME backgrounds to reach senior positions within the production community.


20% of writers* on all shows will be from BAME backgrounds in order to promote a greater diversity of voices in Sky programmes and scripts.


Sky will also be offering a 12 month placement within our commissioning team as part of the Creative Diversity Network’s Commissioning Leadership Programme.

Stuart Murphy, Sky’s Director of Entertainment said: “Sky is dedicated to making programmes that feel representative of every one of the millions of viewers that watch our content every day, whatever their colour. So we have tackled the issue with the same sense of ambition that we show in all other areas of our business, setting ourselves a set of tangible goals that will hold us to account. Our aim is to kick start a sea change in the on screen representation of ethnic minorities on British television. It’s an incredibly exciting time, and I am very proud that Sky is going to be at the forefront.”

Sky will continue to work closely with the CDN, which recently also unveiled its cross broadcaster plans.

Sky is the UK and Ireland’s leading home entertainment and communications company. Around 40% of all homes have a direct relationship with Sky through its range of TV, broadband and home telephony services.


Letter to BBC and other broadcasters: actors and writers call for action over diversity

Text of letter sent to: BBC director general Tony Hall, ITV chief executive Adam Crozier, Channel 4 chief executive David Abraham, BSkyB chief executive Jeremy Darroch and Philippe Dauman, chief executive of new Channel 5 owner Viacom

We the undersigned are writing you this open letter because together you are responsible for the most powerful broadcasting institutions in Britain and are therefore in a unique position to shape and form the future of British television.

We are dismayed at the poor numbers of Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) people both on our screens and working behind the camera

Today, only 5% of employees in our creative industries are BAME, despite BAME’s making up 12.5% of the total UK population.

In order to redress this imbalance, we believe that the training, mentoring and development schemes recently announced, although welcome, are not sufficiently radical to effect significant change.

We propose, therefore a solution that would almost immediately stimulate growth throughout the BAME creative community: a ring–fenced pot of money for BAME programmes.

The effect of this fund would be to engender and encourage television that would reflect one of Britain’s greatest strengths; our diversity.

Let us be clear about how this ring-fenced money would work. It is about quality of programming, not quantity: money is only spent when quality projects are identified – not to fill a quota. The major broadcasters have already set targets for the number of programmes produced outside London, and in the nations.

To increase ethnic diversity we are asking you to look at what has worked before and extend it for BAME communities. Ring-fencing money would not only guarantee results, but also create a more stable space for BAME talent on screen and behind the camera.

Signatories (to date)

Troy Titus Adams

Simon Albury

Kenton Allen

Kwame Kwei-Armah OBE

Amma Asante

Marianne Jean-Baptiste

Sanjeev Bhaskar OBE

Juliet Blake

Alan Bleasdale

Gurinder Chadha OBE

Lolita Chakrabarti

Act for Change

Chris Chibnall

Ron Cook

Dominic Cooke CBE

Daniel Craig

Allan Cubitt

Richard Curtis CBE

Stephen Daldry CBE

Russell T Davies OBE

Gregory Doran

Nadine Marsh Edwards

Jennifer Ehle

Idris Elba

Marianne Elliott

Barbara Emile

Daniel Evans

Sir Richard Eyre CBE

Julian Fellowes

Dexter Fletcher

Aminatta Forna

Michael Foster

Neil Gaiman

Lucy Gannon

Rupert Goold

Tony Grisoni

Charlie Hanson

David Harewood MBE

Lenny Henry CBE

Harry Hill

Sally Long-Innes

Terry Jones

Asif Kapadia

Kanya King

Sarah Lam

Baroness Doreen Lawrence

Adrian Lester OBE

Phyllida Lloyd CBE

Matt Lucas

Lisa Makin

Tony Marchant

Simon McBurney OBE

Jimmy McGovern

Jed Mercurio

Courttia Newland

Bill Nighy

Rufus Norris

David Oyelowo

Ashley Pharoah

Lynda La Plante CBE

Stephen Poliakoff CBE

Lucy Prebble

Hugh Quarshie

Beverley Randall

Ian Rickson

Alrick Riley

Kristin Scott Thomas

Geoff Small

Elaine C Smith

Lord Alan Sugar

Meera Syal MBE

Emma Thompson

David Tse

Indira Varma

Sally Wainwright

Matthew Warchus

Emily Watson

Richard Wilson OBE

Benedict Wong

David Yip

Pat Younge

News Radio Television UK

BBC pushes for diversity on air

The BBC has announced plans for greater black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) representation on and off air.

“The BBC should be giving talented people a chance wherever they come from,” said director general Tony Hall.

The BBC will put £2.1m into a fund intended to help BAME talent, on and off screen, to develop new programmes.

BBC targets call for around one in six people (15%) on-air to be from BAME backgrounds within three years – an increase of nearly 5%.

The 15% target would be across all BBC television output including news, drama, comedy and documentaries.

Lord Hall said BBC News had set local targets in London, Birmingham, Manchester and Leicester to reflect the population.

‘All backgrounds’

“I want a new talent-led approach that will help set the pace in the media industry,” said Lord Hall, who was speaking to members of Creative Access at the BBC’s Elstree Studios.

“The only reason we’re here is to make great programmes that people of all backgrounds think are important… and for that we need to employ people that have got ideas,” he added.

Simon Albury, chair of the Campaign for Broadcasting Equality, welcomed the BBC announcement, calling it “a huge step forward”.

“The BBC has announced a very substantial package of initiatives, which will drive significant and welcome improvement in BAME representation at all levels,” he said.

However, he expressed disappointment with the Diversity Creative Talent Fund of £2.1m, saying it was a fraction of the BBC content budget “of £1,789.1m”.

Friday’s announcement also included a series of targets for staff representation off-air, to be achieved by 2017.

The BBC said it would launch an Assistant Commissioner Development Programme to train six Commissioners of the Future to work in comedy, drama, factual, daytime and children’s programming.

It will include a 12-month paid internship, aimed at bringing in young people from diverse backgrounds.

But Lord Hall told reporters: “We’re not guaranteeing a job at the end of it.

“I’m certain they will get a job either at the BBC or elsewhere – but what I’m saying is we want to make a difference here to finding great talent and backing them.

“I’ve seen it work in the arts. If it doesn’t then we’ll look for other things.”

Incorporated into the 2017 targets is also a new senior leadership development programme providing six people from BAME backgrounds with experience working at the top level of the BBC – including a placement with Lord Hall himself.

“It’s going to be very competitive – it’ll be open to people inside and outside the BBC and we’re hoping to have a broad range of people,” he said.

The BBC said it hopes BAME representation at a senior level will almost double over six years, increasing from the current 8.3% to 15% by 2020.

The corporation will also take on 20 graduate trainees from BAME backgrounds, as part of its work with the Creative Access Programme – a charitable organisation which seeks to improve the representation of the ethnic minorities in the media.


The BBC is also bringing together a group of experts, including Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, comedian Lenny Henry, Asian Network presenter Nihal and Lady Benjamin to form an Independent Diversity Action Group, chaired by Lord Hall.

“I think the group will be tough-minded,” said Lord Hall. “But it’s good to have people who are there to support you, but also say you can do better here.”

Delivering a lecture to Bafta in March, Lenny Henry said funds should be set aside to boost the presence of BAME people in the broadcasting industry.

He put the presence of those from BAME backgrounds in the creative industry at 5.4%.

He described this as “an appalling percentage because the majority of our industry is based around London where the black and Asian population is 40%.”

He added that the situation behind the camera was also “patchy”.