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Letter to BBC Radio Devon reference withdrawal of commentary

Updated: Sep 21, 2018

Dear Members,

As you will be aware we have been in contact with BBC Radio Devon regarding the withdrawal of commentary for this seasons fixtures. A letter was hand delivered to BBC Radio Devon by Chris Fleet. We Addressed one to Mark Grinnell and another copy to Alan Richardson. Please see a copy of the letter below followed by the official reply from the BBC as well as the main points from the reply from Alan Richardson.

We received the following reply from the BBC Radio Devon Sport Editor Sarah Solftley on behalf of Mark Grinnel...

And here are the main points of the reply from Alan Richardson of BBC Radio Devon Sport...

"Firstly we have always been very happy to cover the Gulls home and away in the top five tiers of English football but we did feel that when they were relegated again last season we needed to review that coverage. There appears to be a belief amongst supporters that other sides at this level get far more BBC coverage than Torquay but this isn’t the case. I am aware that there are a few clubs, York, Kidderminster, Hereford etc. who do still get commentary but they are very much the exception and in most cases they are the biggest club in that BBC patch. For example, for the first five home games this season I believe I’m right in saying that the “away” BBC hasn’t sent a single reporter."

He goes on to say that covering Torquay United games in this league poses challenges such as, most of the grounds visited will not have the correct facilities to broadcast live. Only a handful of clubs have the ISDN lines available, which is what is used in the EFL and Conference. He points out that there are other ways to broadcast but these are more unreliable which can cause problems during live coverage.

Mr Richardson continues on the point of the uncertain future of the clubs league position, and makes a comparison with the coverage other local teams in lower leagues receive...

"We also have to bear in mind that we’re not completely sure where Torquay are heading in the long term – in other words if we’d been confident that this season was just a one off we might have looked to keep it going but equally we have to consider that the Gulls could be at this level for several years. To put this in context Tiverton Town are currently joint top of the Southern League South which feeds into Torquay’s League. At the moment we do reports on them about once a month – it’s highly unlikely we would be looking to do Tiverton commentary if they were promoted so it would be difficult to justify doing it for Torquay."

It was also pointed out that Reporters are present at the majority of Torquay games as well as all press conferences that are held. The possibility of games being covered this season was also covered with...

"If Torquay have a good finish to the season I think it would be inconceivable we wouldn’t do commentary on the key games."

The letter concludes with...

"Finally can I point out that if Torquay had stayed in the National League there were no plans to drop commentary so obviously if they are promoted I would fully expect us to resume the service at that time."

We would like to thank Sarah Solftley, Mark Grinnell & Alan Richardson for replying so promptly to our letters. And it is great to have been offered further contact regarding any other queries we want to put forward.

Don't forget that commentary is available through the club's website on matchdays. 

Best regards


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