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BBC CLAIMS “10 HOURS A WEEK” AFRO-CARIBB PROGRAMMING

19-04-2007

Robert Beckford’s claim that BBC WM is in danger of appearing “aggressive not progressive” towards the black community provoked the station to argue that it “now provides 10 hours of programming per week aimed at the African Caribbean population of Birmingham and the Black Country”. Oh really?

No, not really. We asked the Corporation to break down that ten hours for us and their claims imply doesn’t add up.

One hour is Loyd William’s show on a Saturday night, which the Beeb’s press office claims is a “black arts programme.” But it isn’t.

Check out WM’s website and it says that in his programme Loyd “chats to the cream of West Midlands creative talent”. Nothing wrong with that, but nothing of specific interest to the African-Caribbean community.

Of course, Loyd is black, but that can’t be what they mean; it would be like suggesting that white listeners only listen to white presenters and vice versa.

The same goes for Talent Factory presented by Ben Turner, which is a showcase for unsigned bands; again, despite his colour, Ben actually plays lots of white kids on his programme. Incredible, I know, but true.

Nikki Tapper’s Gospel Show at least reflects an aspect of West Indian heritage, but is essentially a programme for Christians of all colours, leaving Marverine Cole’s Real Talk (two hours on Saturday night) as the only truly dedicated show for people of African-Caribbean descent.

The BBC’s “ten hours” also includes, incidentally, the Soul and Motown Show with Jenny Wilkes. Don’t they realise this is the music of black America presented by a white woman.

Aimed at an African-Caribbean audience? Er, we don’t think so.

To see our interview with Robert Beckford click here.

And to check our first story about this click here.

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