Travel ban angers BBC local radio reporters as they claim ‘pen pushers’ have stopped dozens of radio broadcasters from providing commentaries on the road, while Radio 5Live and television broadcasts are allowed to continue
- BBC banned local radio reporters from covering matches outside their region
- No restrictions have been brought in for Radio 5Live and television broadcasts
- Several insiders have said that the ‘pen pushers’ don’t understand their jobs
- Requests for an exception for the two Papa John’s Trophy finals were snubbed
A row has erupted within the BBC after bosses banned local radio reporters from covering away matches outside their region.
In a move prompting accusations of favouritism, what insiders have described as ‘pen pushers’, have stopped dozens of radio broadcasters from providing commentaries on the road, while no such restrictions have been brought in for Radio 5Live and television broadcasts such as Final Score and Match of the Day.
Sportsmail also understands requests for an exception to be made for the two Papa John’s Trophy finals at Wembley on March 13-14 have been snubbed, so there will be no local radio presence.
BBC bosses have banned local radio reporters from covering matches outside their region
The step, introduced at Christmas and extended last week to March 29, only applies to local radio stations. Many believe it does not make sense. They have pointed out that, before the ban, they would leave home to travel to the stadium to deliver their broadcasts before returning home.
Now, they are being dragged into studios to commentate from a feed — bringing them into contact indoors with other staff.
There has been a knock-on effect for some EFL clubs, who relied on local radio commentaries at away matches for viewers on their iFollow platforms and can no longer use them.
‘It’s a panic decision,’ said a source. ‘One rule for one and one for another. Sheer favouritism.
However, no such restrictions have been brought in for Radio 5Live and television broadcasts
‘For example, the BBC would happily send someone from London to Marine to ask a couple of questions before and after the recent FA Cup match but we have other rules for the locals who provide a valuable service to the community.
‘The people making these decisions — pen pushers in effect — don’t understand our jobs. They want to keep BBC local staff safe in their own buildings but by banning people from going to grounds the reporters — who would otherwise have no business going into a BBC studio — are forced to do so.
‘The Wembley thing is really galling. A final at Wembley is a huge part of radio output for a lower league club.’
A BBC spokesperson said: ‘Providing local news and information has been our key aim throughout the pandemic, so we took the difficult decision to limit travel to reduce the risk of disruption at our stations.’
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