Why is BBC Radio Norfolk playing fewer songs?

Norfolk has lost four of its local radio stations as part of UK-wide rebrand which has seen them clo

BBC Radio Norfolk has been forced to play fewer music tracks to avoid overstepping a limit - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Have you been listening carefully to BBC Radio Norfolk over the last few weeks? And if so have you noticed anything different?

If so, then your ears haven't deceived you, because in recent weeks regular listeners to the station will have noticed a reduction in the amount of music played during the daytime.

A spokesman for the corporation has said the change is an editorial decision brought on to help protect staff and adapt to the pandemic.

However, it is understood that another reason is the station has to abide by monthly restrictions on the amount of music it can play versus local content - and it has come close to overstepping this mark.

Ofcom rules dictate that should this limit be broken by stations, then they could face a financial penalty.

A BBC spokesman said: "Since the start of the pandemic, we’ve had to adapt our schedules for practical and editorial reasons to keep our staff safe and reflect breaking news. That has led to some changes on the air.

"We will meet all our broadcasting requirements and are focused on helping our listeners through this difficult period.”   

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When explicitly asked to confirm or deny what the sources had told us the spokesman added: "We have provided the statement already and have no further comment to add."

The change has not gone unnoticed, with listeners contacting this newspaper about it.

One woman, who did not wish the be named, said: "I'm a dedicated Radio Norfolk listener and wake up to Chris Goreham every weekday and we have it on our car radio - so I've definitely noticed a difference." 

The operating licence of BBC local radio stations, which is set and enforced by Ofcom, requires that 95 hours of "originally, locally-made programming" be broadcast every week.

It is understood the reduction in songs will only be a temporary measure.