Anger as country music show axed

COUNTRY music fans in Ipswich have today hit out at a radio station for axing one of their favourite weekend shows.Brain Meekings, who runs the Bridge Ward club in the town's Austin Street, has compiled a petition of more than 300 names of people who are against BBC Radio Suffolk's decision to take Brain Mann's Saturday show off the air.

COUNTRY music fans in Ipswich have today hit out at a radio station for axing one of their favourite weekend shows.

Brain Meekings, who runs the Bridge Ward club in the town's Austin Street, has compiled a petition of more than 300 names of people who are against BBC Radio Suffolk's decision to take Brain Mann's Saturday show off the air.

The country music show had been broadcast for two hours on Saturday and two hours on Sunday ever since the station started 14 years ago.

Occasionally it gave way for coverage of Ipswich Town football matches on Saturday, but Mr Meekings had listened to every one he could, even getting a friend to record it when he went on holiday.

He claims that when Ipswich played West Ham in the first leg of the Premiership play-offs, on May 15, Radio Suffolk replaced the country music show with live match coverage and never reinstated it.

Now the show, which used to play modern progressive country music, has merged with the Sunday show which used to play more traditional tunes.

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Mr Meekings, 59, of Robin Drive, Ipswich, said: "The Saturday show gave out lots of information about the local country clubs.

"Requests went to people in hospital and who live out in the countryside so the show was a lifeline for people get who can't out to the club meetings.

"By taking the show off on Saturday's a lot of people are going to miss out on information about various functions.

"Without this basic advertising the clubs will suffer on a Saturday night as people won't know what is on."

The clubs raise a lot of money for charity and Mr Meekings fears that they will lose out if people do not turn up to the club nights.

The programmes have been presented Brian Mann ever since the station started 14 years ago.

Radio Suffolk Editor Gerald Main said: "I don't see it as a huge issue.

"We recognise the important role the shows have to play and have combined them and given then a much better slot from noon to 3pm.

"It will now be the longest programme of it's kind on air."

Do you agree with Radio Suffolk's decision? Are you missing the Saturday country shows or do you prefer the longer Sunday show? Write in to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk or visit the forum at www.eveningstar.co.uk.

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