End of an Era for 'Gay Hour'

Publish Date: 10/12/2012


LGBT Citizen Manchester (also known as The Gay Hour) has been on the air in various guises since 1996 and has remained the BBC’s only regular local LGBT programme despite previous attempts to remove the show from the schedules a few years ago.

The programme is volunteer-run and regularly covers all the news and events that affect the lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans community on BBC Radio Manchester station on Monday evenings.

The programme will be replaced with a syndicated programme called All Around England which will take the place of the three one-hour minority-interest programmes currently broadcast on Monday evenings in Manchester. However BBC Manchester's Black, Asian and Chinese community programmes will remain unaffected as they will still have a place in the local schedule

The BBC has said that issues affecting the LGBT and also Jewish and Irish communities will be covered by mainstream local programming.

 Earlier in the year Aziz Rashid Head of BBC North West told The Lesbian & Gay Foundation that the corporation remain committed to representing the LGBT community on BBC Radio Manchester but as with all public services the BBC face ‘difficult choices’.

“The BBC Trust has approved management proposals for a syndicated all-England programme from 7-10pm on weekdays. These proposals are now in the process of being implemented and will take effect from next year. However, this programme is not optional for BBC Local Radio Stations, it is a programme that all stations will be expected to run."

"The All-England programme will displace a number of very different programmes from BBC Local Radio schedules across our 39 stations – in  the North West that includes some 7 hours of Asian language programming, as well as some specialist music; some sports magazine programmes; and a number of other specific topic and general programmes including Jewish Citizen Manchester, 7-8 pm; Irish Citizen Manchester, 8-9 pm and LGBT Citizen Manchester, 9-10 pm on Monday evenings, which will cease transmission by the end of December 2012.”  

“I am afraid that there is simply not room in our schedules to move all of these programmes elsewhere.” Mr. Rashid continued. “When considering which programmes we could move and which we would regrettably have to lose, we considered our primary focus: journalism. We have taken the view that we can represent LGBT issues in our mainstream news programming." 

 Mr Rashid added “We fully accept the need to reflect the views of all communities, including the LGBT community in Manchester.”

Kate Squire Managing Editor of BBC Radio Manchester has also commented adding: "BBC Radio Manchester knows how important the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender communities in Greater Manchester .We will be reflecting those communities and the issues they are concerned about but in future in our mainstream output, confirming just how vital communities are in regular life in our area. The hour-long programme has played an important part in our output over the years but now is the time to make this output a fully integrated part of our station and we’ll look to include the experience of the current programme team to help us do that. I’m excited about the challenge."

The Lesbian & Gay Foundation would like to pay tribute to everyone who has played an important role in  providing news,information and entertianment to Manchester's lesbian,gay,bisexual and trans communities over the last 16 years and to hear the final two broadcasts make sure you tune in at 9pm on 10th and 17th December (the final programme).