Tour organisers ‘ban’ Haworth-based radio station’s PA project

Graham Smith is angry his PA broadcast has been blocked

Graham Smith is angry his PA broadcast has been blocked

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A Haworth-based radio station has been blocked from providing any broadcast coverage of the Tour de France when it arrives in July.

Graham Smith, of the online Bronte Radio service, had initially complained about Bradford Council “sidelining” his project to provide a PA system in the Haworth Park Grand Depart spectator hub on July 5 and 6.

He had wanted the facility to be at the park’s new bandstand, but was told he would instead need to operate from next to the park’s public toilets.

He now says he has been told by Bradford Council he won’t be able to offer any kind of commentary on the Tour at all.

“In its short-sightedness it has denied the village, and I assume Keighley, of any PA or broadcast coverage of Le Tour de France by local people,” he said.

“The fact that my project could have been of public service has been completely ignored.

“The laughable part is I was approached this week by a major company wishing to sponsor the project but it will not be happening now. It’s a slap in the face for the community.”

Mr Smith, who lives in Sun Street, Haworth, showed the Keighley News an e-mail he received from a senior council officer, which states: “In relation to your proposal we’ve been advised that it is not permitted to undertake any commentary on The Tour, as all commentary is to be provided from the agreed broadcast coverage partner.

“In addition, any public announcements can only be made by the site manager or the safety officer.”

Mr Smith said he notified the council of his plan months ago, and asked why it had taken so long for them to reply.

Keighley cycling enthusiast Frank O’Dwyer said: “I think it’s ridiculous. If people are just giving out factual information then they’re exercising their freedom of speech.”

Coun Tony Wright, chairman of Keighley Town Council’s events and leisure committee, confirmed the town council had also been advised not to go ahead with its original plan to broadcast commentary via a PA system in the town centre.

Responding this week, Phil Barker, Bradford Council’s assistant director of sport and leisure, said: “The Tour de France is a worldwide sporting event with many commercial and media sponsors. Therefore, there are clear Tour de France regulations in place to protect the interests of those supporting the event financially.

“We have met with Mr Smith, and in relation to his proposal, we have been advised it is not permitted to undertake any commentary on the Tour, as all commentary is to be provided by the agreed broadcast coverage partner.”

No-one from Tour de France 2014 Ltd had responded with a comment by the time the Keighley News went to press.

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