Thursday, 16 December 2010


I've just found out that Radio Derby are axing their excellent Folkwaves programme. This is a copy of the email of complaint I've sent

I’ve just found out about the plans to scrap Folkwaves on Radio Derby, and I’m deeply saddened. It seems perverse to end one of the UKs most popular folk music programmes at a moment when British (and particularly English) folk music has never been more popular. Indeed, I found out about Folkwaves ‘ fate on the same day that BBC4 broadcast an excellent documentary about English folkdance introduced by Mercury Prize nominated Rachel Unthank- and then followed it up with a programme about clog dancing presented by Charles Hazlewood who regularly broadcasts on Radio 2. Both programmes I note were selected as weekly tv highlights by the national press. To turn your back on a burgeoning local and national folk scene seems frankly bizarre. Folkwaves has been highly successful in building a loyal local audience, but also thanks to Listen Again/I-Player an expanding national (indeed international) audience. Whilst I understand that the radio station has an initial loyalty to local audiences, it is a shame that it is failing to capitalise on this wider listener base and see it as a chance to spread knowledge and interest in the region to a wider listenership. It is a regrettably parochial decision. Even in local terms it is sad. We have seen in recent government policy an increasing emphasis on localism and locality (something echoed in many initiatives of recent years, such as the Heritage Lottery Fund). We are also seeing increasing cuts to arts funding, which has been a great financial support to the folk music scene. So in this time of increasing calls for the ‘big society’ coupled with critical attacks on national support for the arts, it is frankly rather odd that this is the moment that Radio Derby decides to end a programme that has done more than anything to nurture and encourage local and regional traditions. I would urge you to reconsider your decision; the end of the Folkwaves is a sad indictment of Radio Derby