Bid to save show

Russ Winstanley
Russ Winstanley

A CAMPAIGN has been launched to save a Wigan music legend’s radio show.

The BBC announced last year that it was looking to axe a number of its programmes across the country with regional specialist shows expected to face the brunt of the broadcaster’s cuts when they take effect later this year.

Russ’s weekly Northern Soul show, which features many of the hits played at the famous Wigan Casino, falls into this specialist category.

However, a recent development has led DJs to believe that around half of those under threat could now be saved.

And with Russ’s show receiving fine ratings, it’s hoped that his could be one which is spared the axe.

As well as repeatedly beating many of its rivals when it is aired on Saturday evenings, it is the most popular BBC show on its interactive Listen Again service.

“It’s been tough and you can’t blame the BBC as they have to make cuts,” said Wigan Casino founder Russ.

“It’s difficult to say how many will be axed but we have a good following so I’m hoping we will be okay.

“It would be a great shame if they choose to cut my show though as Northern Soul is so popular these days, particularly among the youngsters.

“You say to people in Wigan about it being a specialist show and they don’t really think it is, they’ve been brought up with this. Music is so generic these days and it’s terrible that specialist shows are looking unsafe.”

As a result, Russ has arranged a petition called SOSS (Save Our Soul Show) to help persuade the BBC to keep his show alive.

He will officially launch it this Sunday during the Northern Soul night held at the Cherry Gardens from 4pm.

Russ said: “We’ll have a paper petition this weekend at the Cherries. It’s always a great night there so hopefully we can drum up support.

“The rugby match will be showing too so it’ll be a good turnout.

“We’ll then have the petition during the Northern Soul night at the Last Orders on Wallgate from 8pm on Bank Holiday Sunday.

“Alternatively, people can visit my Facebook page and sign it there.”