Due to cost cutting BBC regions are to network a programme between 7 and 10pm across the weekday. The format is of a Nationwide style remit, with local interest features and stories airing nationally.
It isn’t the first time the corporation has syndicated regional programming between a handful of stations, however it is the first time all 39 local networks have aired the same programme.
In the 1980s and 90s numerous link-up ventures took place such as BBC North FM which saw BBC Radio Cumbria, BBC Radio Newcastle and BBC Radio Cleveland unite after 7pm with occasionally BBC Radio York opting into programming.
The Frank Wappat Nostalgia Programme was also wide spread with at one point up to 12 beeb stations ranging from Merseyside to the Scottish borders taking the programme.
The new show will be known simply as ‘Mark Forrest’ and will be broadcast from a studio at BBC Radio Leeds. Mark is an experienced talk and music presenter in networked and local programmes for both commercial and BBC radio stations. He has broadcast on such networks as Classic FM, Virgin Radio, Heart London, BBC 5 live and, most recently, as host of BBC Radio York’s Breakfast Show, as well as freelance stints on national commercial station Smooth Radio and London’s Magic 105.4.
Andrew Robson, Head of BBC Local Radio Development, said: “Mark is a fantastically talented presenter with a great track record in both music and talk presentation. His warm style and sharp sense of humour should make weekday evenings on BBC Local Radio a great listen.”
All BBC Local Radio stations will broadcast the ‘Mark Forrest’ programme, except in instances such as major breaking news stories or sport commentaries.
Speaking from his home in Swaledale in the Yorkshire Dales, Mark said: “This is a tremendous opportunity. Not only is this a brand new show which will be syndicated across all 39 BBC Local Radio stations in England and the Channel Islands, but it has simply never been done before. I’m hosting a programme which will take the very best stories from around the country and present them to a national audience. That is a challenge but a very exciting one – I can’t wait to get started.”