THE owner of the Oldham Evening Chronicle has written to Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham to highlight the struggles of local independent media.
Matt Ramsbottom is Managing Director of Credible Media, owners of the Oldham Chronicle, radio station Revolution 96.2 and Oldham Business Edge magazine.
In an open letter to the Mayor, Mr Ramsbottom said local media organisations need specialist support, particularly at this difficult time.
Ramsbottom said: “We are dedicated to supporting local business and organisations- it is something we are passionate about and have amazing relationships in this part of Greater Manchester. But while we support the organisations here, we do need some support ourselves.
“The danger is that any ‘local’ broadcast media has German or Irish owners and the talent and content is networked or syndicated from other parts of the UK with a tiny fraction of it coming from this area to pay lip service to being a local service and meet the bare minimum requirements of the regulator.”
Whilst the Oldham Chronicle and Revolution 96.2 are based in Greater Manchester, the vast majority of newspapers and radio stations are based outside the area.
Ramsbottom also points out that local media businesses have an essential role, particularly in times of crisis: “It’s important to note that our radio station continues to broadcast 24 hours a day, and our local newspaper continues to publish articles throughout the current crisis. Our journalists and broadcasters are key workers.”
The Oldham-based businessman told the Chronicle: “I’m writing to Andy Burnham to ask for his help in ensuring that local media organisations not only survive, but thrive against the backdrop of faceless big-business.”
Businesses facing difficulty can apply for the Oldham Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund here.
The full letter to Andy Burnham can be read here.