The National Union of Journalists has condemned BBC plans to do away with large parts of its local radio service, a move it claims could cost up to 700 jobs and result in the closure of some stations.
As part of a massive cost saving exercise, the BBC is proposing to axe all local radio programmes except breakfast and drive-time shows and replace them with content supplied by the national station BBC Radio 5 Live.
The NUJ warned the cuts would "spell death of local radio" and called on the BBC to "step back from the brink" as its 40 local stations served an important public service.
Jeremy Dear, general secretary of the NUJ, said: "Local radio plays a crucial role in keeping local communities informed.
"These proposals would rip the heart out of local programming and effectively sound the death knell for local radio.