Business has a voice in the narrative of Manchester. It may sometimes jar with other stakeholders, but this is a city that seems to embrace enterprise and commercial innovation.
It was with a certain sadness that we recorded the last BBC Radio Manchester business programme before Christmas. The format, where two private sector people, drawn from a rotating group of about 12, comment on the issues of the day and interview a couple of guests with interesting things to say.
I thought we were properly getting into our stride over the last six months, especially since we moved to a new shorter half hour format with no music. Interspersing the items. There was something quite comical about finishing an interview with a business owner about a new invention, or arguiung the toss over tax policy with a great business voice like Steve Falder of HMG Paints, and then the presenter elegantly calling time for a bit of Phil Collins.
But, all good things come to an end and I just hope the station is serious about the claim that they are keen on maintaining the level of coverage of business issues throughout their output.
As a city Manchester continually demonstrates a great maturity in the level of debate about where the city is heading. Growth, ambition for our young, opportunities for all and having the chance to showcase what we’re good at is important. Some BBC local radio has resigned itself to talking about nostalgia, last night’s TV and having phone ins for moaning football fans. Having a city radio station with the reach of BBC Radio Manchester is a real asset and I hope he vibrancy of the city continues to have a voice on it.
One of the other great achievements of the programme has been to coach and nurture a cadre of business people in the skills required to be good broadcasters. With BBC Radio5Live and the BBC1 Breakfast programme now produced from Salford Quays.
At Downtown we have good connections with the production teams on both of these national programmes. Both me and Frank have been on television at ungodly hours of the day and night to make the case for all manner of issues from banking reform, tax policy, transport and making a northern balance to the metropolitan agenda.
These are also opportunities for members to come on the radio and tell their stories. The team are never happier than when they get their wellies and hard hats on and visit the kind of grafters on a business park in the sticks that is bucking the trend. So, the more you tell us about what’s important, the better we can help you.
It’s a frequent complaint from business people that the national narrative doesn’t reflect the difficulties that businesses face. We may have lost one opportunity to make the case, but there are plenty more.
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