Swann appeals to BBC over pipe bands coverage

UUP Leader Robin Swann. 'Photo: Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
UUP Leader Robin Swann. 'Photo: Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Robin Swann has urged the BBC to halt proposals to reduce its ‘Pipes and Drums’ radio programme to six episodes.

The Ulster Unionist leader said: “I must express my disappointment at the news that the BBC has decided to further reduce its coverage of the local pipe band scene by only scheduling the Radio Ulster ‘Pipes and Drums’ programme for a six-episode summer series. Two years ago there were 16 programmes, last year this was reduced to 12 and now it has been reduced further to six.

“This is not an expensive programme to make, and if the issue is down to audience figures, then I would ask what steps the BBC has taken to publicise the programme and grow the audience?”

Mr Swann added: “Northern Ireland has dozens of pipe bands, stretching across every county, and they are particularly strong in my own constituency of North Antrim.

“Some are world champions, and all are a key component of Ulster Scots culture.

“I will be contacting the BBC to seek an explanation for the reduction in programmes and to encourage them to look at expanding coverage rather than reducing it.”