City of York Council leaders have written to executives at Bauer Media to urge them to reconsider the decision to shut Minster FM, following their commercial takeover. This follows local outcry from residents who have launched a petition to keep the station on air, which currently has over 6000 signatures. There is widespread concern that the loss of the service will damage York’s local media, lose community support and disproportionately hurt residents with limited internet access who rely on local radio as a source of news, trusted information and entertainment.
The campaign to save Minster FM has also received national backing, from the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Spokesperson for Culture, Media and Sport, Daisy Cooper MP. Daisy is putting pressure on government ministers to offer a support package across the country for local commercial radio stations like Minster FM.
Cllr Keith Aspden, Leader of City of York Council, said:
“The closure of Minster FM is bad news for our community, especially for the fantastic staff who work there. We have written to Bauer Media to urge them to reconsider this decision but also to find answers about their plans. We want to know that local staff will get the opportunity to stay on the air, that the new station will retain Minster FMs commitment to local news and that the company is commitment to supporting local businesses, charities and community events. We know that Minster FM have always taken their responsibility to York’s network of local businesses very seriously and have been fantastic at promoting other local services and businesses throughout the Covid-19 pandemic."
Cllr Darryl Smalley, Executive Member for Culture, Leisure and Communities, added:
“Losing Minster FM will have an impact far beyond the loss of employment, and source of quality local news for residents. For decades Minster FM has contributed to our community spirit in York, for example through the Minister FM Local Hero Awards which every year recognises the achievements of our unsung community champions. Likewise, the summer road shows, community fairs and Christmas lights switch-on have been local traditions for years. We understand that these are tough times for the local radio industry and have made it clear to Bauer Media that we will do all we can to encourage Whitehall to engage and provide additional support to the radio sector which is why we are pleased that nationally Daisy Cooper MP is supporting our campaign.”
Daisy Cooper MP, Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Spokesperson for Culture, Media and Sport, commented:
"Local commercial radio plays a pivotal role in communities up and down the country, especially for residents without internet access. Given the vital importance of communication during the Covid-19 crisis, I am challenging the Government to intervene and support local commercial radio stations, like Minster FM, which are being taken over and shut down in large numbers."