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Supporting Welsh.

SIR - I am writing in response to the coverage in The Western Mail to the protests by Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg concerning the level of Welsh language output on the new Radio Carmarthenshire and the protest that was held at the station's Narberth studios a fortnight ago

As reported in your paper, one of the protesters, Steffan Cravos, is a volunteer presenter on Pontypridd's local radio station GTFM 106.9 where he presents a popular weekly show

In The Western Mail you state that 'GTFM says it is committed to Welsh music and has increased the amount of programming in the language to four hours every Tuesday night'. No one from The Western Mail has contacted me regarding our position to verify this. The impression is given that we have responded to the issue in West Wales by increasing our own Welsh language output. This is not the case as we have always been committed to Welsh language output. In fact our output exceeds that required in our Promise of Delivery with Ofcom

Since setting up GTFM in 1999 I, as station manager, have always endeavoured to fully support the Welsh language on air and in our fledgling days worked with pupils from Ysgol Gufyn Rhydfelen to provide training and broadcast opportunities - pupils had and still have their own weekly show.

Since going on air full time just over two years ago we have continued this and have been able to increase the amount of Welsh programming to four hours on a Tuesday night.

We are the only local station in South Wales that includes Welsh language music on our daytime current playlist. We also provide a weekday afternoon news bulletin in a unique tie-in with BBC Radio Cymru and are looking at ways of supporting the growth of Welsh language learning on air.

The ONLY reason for Steffan's suspension was as normal practice in an accusation as reported in your paper PENDING an investigation. This is nothing whatsoever to do with language. We were asked if we would have done the same if it had been an EU protest. Of course we would have if there had been an accusation of criminal damage/assault. We have met with Steffan and explained the current position and how we can move things forward

and our dialogue will continue with Steffan.

ANDREW JONES

Station Manager

GTFM, Pinewood Studios,

Rhydyfelin, Pontypridd
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Aug 23, 2004
Words:398
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