BBC journalists in the West Midlands have been back out on the picket line to show their opposition to plans to cutback local radio services.

National Union of Journalists members at BBC Birmingham, based at The Mailbox, walked out for 24 hours from 11am on Thursday July 20 to raise awareness of cost-cutting plans which the union fears will kill off radio stars.

Liz Gameson, NUJ rep for BBC Radio WM, said: “Listeners will notice lots of changes to the shows on BBC Radio WM during the strike period.

“Members have walked out because they don’t agree with plans to share huge amounts more of our programming with neighbouring radio stations. In particular we don’t understand why WM will be sharing our midweek radio drive show from 2pm to 6pm with Coventry and Warwickshire. No other big city station is sharing at this time.

“These changes also mean we are losing some well-known and much-loved presenters who have served the West Midlands listeners for years, including Caroline Martin, Paul Franks and Mollie Green.

“We understand the BBC wants to invest in local online news but that is already being delivered by many other news services and doesn’t bring the companionship of radio.

“The licence fee payers have not been consulted about these cuts at all and many audience members have been in touch to say they’re hugely dissatisfied with the plans.”

The BBC says the planned changes are part of its strategy to modernise services and develop its digital offering.

The corporation said its goal is to create “a local service across TV, radio and online that delivers even greater value to communities” and that there would be no overall reduction in staffing levels or local funding.