Tuesday 26 June 2012

BBC South Today Drop Albion Coverage

An astonishing BBC email has been leaked that outlines proposed changes to Albion's football coverage on BBC television. It transpires that plans are in place to exclude all of Brighton & Hove Albion's football and news coverage from the prime time BBC regional local news programme BBC South Today. By all means let's have additional Albion coverage on BBC South East Today, but not at the expense of losing coverage on BBC South Today. If anything we want more Albion TV coverage in Sussex, not less. North West Sussex Seagulls, the Horsham based Albion supporters club, have responded by writing the following letter of complaint to the BBC.

Dear BBC South Today,

As a Horsham based Brighton & Hove Albion supporters club (North West Sussex Seagulls) with over 200 members we are appalled at the recent leaked document outlining the BBC’s intention to suddenly stop giving any television coverage on BBC South Today of the Albion. We understand that there will be no Albion match reports or previews shown on sports bulletins in West Sussex from August. Instead, viewers in towns including Worthing, Crawley, Horsham and Haywards Heath will only see highlights from games involving Reading, Southampton, Portsmouth, Bournemouth and Aldershot. Historically BBC South Today has always shown coverage of Brighton & Hove Albion games but now it is to cease, this is truly astonishing.

The reason given for this decision (or is it simply a cutback?) is that after the digital switchover in March, households in Brighton and Hove and east of the River Adur will now watch BBC South East Today, which will continue to show Albion highlights. You may be interested to know that many Albion fans from West and East Sussex watch BBC South Today from satellite broadcaster Sky and many also watch from terrestrial TV on the Midhurst transmitter, both of which offer BBC South as the default BBC station. We like BBC South Today, we like Sally Taylor and we like the football coverage previously offered. We don’t want to watch BBC South East Today as that tends to have more of a Kent bias in our view rather than Sussex, indeed many of us in Sussex are unable to get the BBC South East Today regional programme anyway due to the TV transmitter we are picking up from.  We expect to see the BBC provide us with coverage of our local football team on our local BBC television channel, and that channel in many cases is BBC South Today, not BBC South East Today.

It may come as a shock to you but most Brighton fans live outside of the city of Brighton with the majority of Albion fans coming from a wider Sussex based area, both in the west and east of the county. By restricting coverage of Albion’s matches to solely BBC South East Today you are depriving many licence fee paying Albion fans from seeing their Sussex team on a local BBC television channel. We are assuming that BBC South Today will still cover news events and cricket in Sussex, if so, then why not Sussex football news, including the Albion?

This decision to cut coverage of the Albion is outrageous and as a consequence there will be many thousands of Albion fans who will be deprived of seeing their team on a regional BBC television programme. By all means have additional coverage on BBC South East Today but not at the expense of losing coverage on BBC South Today. If anything we want more Albion TV coverage, not less. Whoever was responsible for making this ill judged decision should have a rethink and listen to what your viewers are saying. Please reconsider this proposed change to BBC South Today’s football coverage; it is not a good or popular idea. We’re not sure who gains from this but it’s certainly not us Seagulls fans.

Yours sincerely,

Andy Stonestreet (Chairman)
Mike Wilson (Secretary)
Ian Morris (Treasurer)


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