THE leader of the Birmingham Irish Association has called for a popular Irish radio show serving the West Midlands to be returned to the airwaves.
The three-hour Bob Brolly Irish Show, which has been broadcast on BBC West Midlands and BBC Coventry and Warwickshire every Sunday afternoon for over 25 years, has been off-air since the lockdown began in March.
At the onset of the Covid-19 restrictions, local BBC radio was streamlined to give a more "universal feel" to its shows across its local networks, the corporation explains.
Now, 11 weeks into the lockdown, as restrictions begin to be relaxed, the Irish community across the Midlands are asking when will their show be coming back.
Maurice Malone, Chief Executive of the Birmingham Irish Association, has voiced the concerns of the Irish community directlt with the BBC, arguing that now more than ever the Bob Brolly Irish Show is needed.
“The Irish community in Birmingham is the largest pensionable group in Birmingham, with so many people self-isolating and being shielded, the local radio show was a valuable source of news and entertainment,” he told The Irish Post.
“For many people within the Irish community the show allowed then to connect to their friends across the West Midlands,” he added.
But there is still no date in sight for the return of the show, the BBC have confirmed.
A BBC spokesperson said: “The schedules across all BBC Local Radio were changed at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic to streamline our programming and provide a more universal feel.
“We want to continue to deliver the output our listeners love during these challenging times and Bob Brolly can still be heard on BBC CWR every Sunday from 2-6pm where he shares a flavour of his Irish Music Show each week.”