Viewers get the chance to quiz governors

Quality of programming, licence fee increases and the lack of digital services in parts of East Anglia were just some of the issues put to BBC governors in Norwich last night.

Quality of programming, licence fee increases and the lack of digital services in parts

of East Anglia were just some of the issues put to BBC governors in Norwich last night.

The board of governors held their annual general meeting at the Forum and more than 150 people turned out for

the question and answer session.

The meeting comes at a time when the corporation is looking to renew its government charter and when it is asking for a licence fee increase at 2.3pc above the rate of inflation - amounting to a fee of more than £180 a year by 2014.

Chairman Michael Grade told the meeting

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the fee would have to increase in order to meet public expectations.

"We have consulted with licence fee payers about

what they want over the next 10 years," he said.

"We know what they want is fewer repeats, more great comedy, more drama, more regional content and generally a better quality of programming.

"We cannot continue to provide our current level of service on the existing licence fee so we certainly can't improve our service without an increase.

"However, I would say that 70pc of the cost of our

plans will be met through the ongoing efficiency review."

Recent coverage has also focused on executive salaries which have soared despite

a below inflation pay offer

to general staff who are

now threatening strike

action.

Vice-chairman Anthony Salz said: "The media is a competitive industry and if we want to achieve excellence we need to employ excellent people."

One of the key issues raised was the apparent inequality which demands licence fee payers who are unable to receive digital transmissions subsidise those services.

Mr Grade said: "The technology is developing fast and soon a free satellite service will enable those who cannot get digital services currently, such as those in north and west Norfolk, to get access.

"At the moment 74pc of people do have access but this is 26pc less than we would like.

"But there are real advantages to this technology - for example it will eliminate the current situation where people in west Norfolk receive their news for Yorkshire."

Other issues covered included the Americanisation of broadcasting, the lack

of programming provided

for the elderly, the need

for more regional focus

and the use of the watershed.