BBC Scotland has confirmed specialist radio shows facing the axe are unaffected by the broadcaster reviewing plans for cuts in England.

The BBC announced on Wednesday that more programmes would be produced to fill the air on local radio stations after previously announced cuts were blasted as threatening a "vital public service". 

In October, the BBC proposed local radio stations share more content and broadcast less programming unique to their areas as part of its new strategy to create a “modern, digital-led” broadcaster.

The proposition was to see local programming restricted to weekdays before 2pm, with the BBC planning to produce 18 afternoon programmes across England that will be shared between its 39 local radio stations.

But it has now been announced that its shared content programmes to be broadcast in afternoons will increase from 18 to 20, while its weekend daytime programmes will be increased from the originally proposed 12 to 18.

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Despite the changes to the proposals, a BBC spokesperson confirmed 48 jobs would still be lost across local staffing in England, amounting to a total reduction of 2% and equalling the figure in the original plans.

But The National can confirm this review does not affect Scotland – amid public outcry after it was revealed that BBC Radio Scotland music shows Pipeline, Jazz Nights and Classics Unwrapped would be scrapped.

Asked whether the Scottish shows would be affected by the announcement that less programming would be cut in England, a spokesperson for the BBC said Scotland’s programming decision fell outwith the scope of the review which spared some shows south of the Border.

They said: “Today’s announcement is about local radio services in England and does not relate to the BBC’s national radio services in the other UK nations.”

It comes after top Scottish pipers called for the broadcaster to rethink possible plans to cut Pipeline, a bagpipe show which has run for more than 30 years. The broadcaster previously said both its Gaelic-language outlet and Radio Scotland had piping shows and it was considering the “most efficient way of serving both audiences”.

The National:

Meanwhile, a petition calling on the BBC to abandon plans to cancel Jazz Nights has garnered more than 5000 signatures, with the founder of the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra demanding the decision be ditched.

The BBC is on a cost-cutting drive following the Government’s decision last year to freeze the licence fee in response to the cost-of-living crisis.

The initial proposals caused widespread outrage among critics in local government, broadcasting and organisations in the music industry when they were originally announced.

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In November, 90 local leaders from England wrote a letter to BBC director-general Tim Davie to say they were “concerned” about the “potential impacts” on communities that value local radio as a “vital public service”.

Three Labour MPs from Hull – Dame Diana Johnson, Karl Turner and Emma Hardy – also urged Davie in a letter to “rethink” the cuts, describing local radio as a “major reason” the broadcaster is “the envy of the world”.

Conservative MP Julian Knight, chairman of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, later commented that the plans for cuts “have provoked genuine disquiet in communities up and down the country”.

Jason Horton, director of production at BBC Local, said: “Our goal over the next 12 months is to modernise our BBC Local services in England to strengthen our online provision for communities across the country.

“We have listened carefully to the feedback we have received about proposed changes to BBC Local Radio programming. As a result, we are making a number of amendments to the original plan in order to strike the best possible balance between live and on-demand services.”

In September, it announced that 382 jobs at World Service will be cut as part of the plans to become a digital-led broadcaster.

Regional TV news programmes in Oxford and Cambridge were also among the services being scrapped – merging with the BBC’s Southampton and Norwich operations.

Davie, who took over from Lord Tony Hall as director-general in September 2020, has overseen a slimming down of the corporation since starting in the role.

The BBC confirmed full line-ups and schedule information will be announced later this year.