Carl Chinn: My sadness at axed BBC show after 19 years

Historian and author Carl Chinn today spoke of his 'deep disappointment' after being dropped from his BBC radio show, but said he would cherish his time on air over the past 19 years.

Carl Chinn: My sadness at axed BBC show after 19 years

The Express & Star columnist presented his last BBC WM Sunday lunchtime show yesterday and said goodbye to his listeners.

He had a contract to do shows 38 weeks a year which he said he had fulfilled by early March, despite bosses telling him that his show was not on often enough due to football fixtures.

The 56-year-old and author of 20 books has presented his show from New York after the 9/11 terror attacks, from Normandy for the 60th anniversary of the D-Day landings and from Romania where he was raising money for orphans.

In 2001 he was awarded the MBE for his services to local history and charity.

Speaking to listeners yesterday, a noticeably upset Professor Chinn said: "The decision to end the show wasn't mine, it was a management decision.

"Obviously I am disappointed, I wouldn't be human if I wasn't disappointed."

Professor Chinn has also said he wanted to thank BBC WM for giving him the opportunity to broadcast over the past 19 years.

He said: "There is a need for a show like the one I have presented that allows people to come together and talk about where they live regardless of age, gender or ethnicity.

"Over the years the aim has been to make it everyone's show and shine a light on parts of the region that might otherwise get negative publicity. It's not just been about local history.

We've had the opportunity for discourse and debate, and that's what I shall miss the most."

Professor Chinn, who is paid £270 per show but does all the research and preparation himself, said bosses had wanted him to present up to five 'specials' a year instead and they had said the show cost too much.

Professor Chinn's first contributor on yesterday's show, West Bromwich historian Terry Price said he was 'absolutely devastated' to hear the news. Signing off with Go Now, by The Moody Blues, Professor Chinn added yesterday: "I want to say this to all of you: when God made me, he gave me a great gift, he made me one of you, I'm grateful for that and I will always cherish the 19 years we've had broadcasting together. Goodbye and God bless."

A BBC spokesperson said: "Carl has been part of the BBC WM story for many years.

"Although this particular programme is ending, we very much hope we will work together again and this isn't the last time our listeners hear him on air. We are talking to Carl about future opportunities on the station."

The departure of Professor Chinn comes as BBC WM has been broadcasting from different areas such as Wolverhampton, Dudley, Handsworth and Tamworth.

From 7pm on weekdays, BBC local radio stations all broadcast the same programme, featuring presenter Mark Forrest, from a studio in Leeds. Meetings have also been taking place at the Mailbox in Birmingham, where BBC WM broadcasts, for staff to put forward their ideas for the future of the corporation in the city. The Director General, Tony Hall, has begun a review and has appointed a strategy group headed by £375,000-a-year Peter Salmon, the director of BBC North, to lead discussions with staff.

Topics on recent shows broadcast by Carl Chinn included the campaign to save Dudley Hippodrome, a discussion about the Black Country dialect, an interview with the brother of a Birmingham pub bombing victim, manufacturing in Cradley Heath and Darlaston, and the history of Great Wyrley.

You can read Carl Chinn's Black Country Memories in the Express & Star every Thursday.

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