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Fears popular show may never return to BBC Radio Norfolk

PUBLISHED: 15:15 29 July 2020 | UPDATED: 18:15 29 July 2020

Rodeo Norfolk presenter Keith Greentree. Picture: Submitted

Rodeo Norfolk presenter Keith Greentree. Picture: Submitted

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A musician and gig promoter has set up an online petition to save a popular country music radio show from BBC cuts.

Country music performers and promoters Merv Futter, from Tilney Cum Islingtonn, with his daughter Maria Lynch. The pair perform as Merv and Maria. PIcture: Photowizrds/Dom HempCountry music performers and promoters Merv Futter, from Tilney Cum Islingtonn, with his daughter Maria Lynch. The pair perform as Merv and Maria. PIcture: Photowizrds/Dom Hemp

Rodeo Norfolk, which has been broadcast every Saturday morning from BBC Radio Norfolk for the past 38 years, has been taken off the air since coronavirus lockdown after broadcasting schedules were forced to change due to the pandemic.

Originally started by Roy Waller, the three-hour show was taken over by Keith Greentree a decade ago after Mr Waller’s death.

It promotes country music club gigs in village halls and social clubs, festivals, and plays classic songs, contemporary hits and up-and-coming British acts.

MORE: BBC set to axe 450 jobs and Inside Out in raft of proposed cost-cutting measures

The late Roy Waller while working at BBC Radio Norfolk. Picture: Adrian JuddThe late Roy Waller while working at BBC Radio Norfolk. Picture: Adrian Judd

Merv Futter, 68, from High Road in Tilney Cum Islington near King’s Lynn, is urging the radio station to reinstate the show after the BBC announced plans to make savings post-lockdown.

His petition to Save Our Country Music was set up with his daughter Maria Lynch, 42, who he has performed with around the country for the past 20 years, has attracted over 300 signatures after setting it up this week.

Mr Futter, who now mainly promotes country music gigs in Norfolk, said: “It is a popular and influential show. It is very important to the country music scene. It would be devastating if it went.

“Norfolk has always been in love with country music and that partly came from the passion of Roy Waller. He loved country music and pushed it. Rodeo Norfolk was seen as a premier country music show.

“If it does not continue and the cuts go ahead it will be really difficult for the industry.

“You have got to tempt people back out after lockdown and not everybody is on social media. But people can listen to the radio.”

Mr Futter thought the reduction of some specialist shows on BBC Radio Norfolk at the weekend removed the station’s local nature.

He is also calling for The Big Country Show on Sunday 2-4pm, also presented by Mr Greentree, to be protected from possible cuts.

A BBC spokesperson said: “The schedules across all BBC Local Radio were changed at the beginning of the Coronavirus pandemic to protect our output by streamlining programming and providing a more universal feel. We want to continue to deliver the output our listeners love during these challenging times and Keith Greentree is still on the radio playing country music every Sunday between 2pm and 4pm in Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire.”

To sign the petition visit www.petitiononline.uk/keep-country-music-on-bbc-radio-norfolk

Alternatively write to FAO Peter Cook (Rodeo Norfolk), The Forum, Millennium Plain, Norwich, NR2 1BH.


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