A major review that feeds into Lord Carter’s Digital Britain report,
written by former GMG chief executive John Myers, has now been
published and the following key recommendations are made:
R1: A re-definition of all UK radio stations licensed by Ofcom into
five Categories, ‘A’ to ‘E’, with appropriate regulation and rules for
R2: A key move from ‘input’ to ‘output’ regulation for Category ‘B’ stations.
R3: The introduction of a ‘Local Impact Test’ for local commercial
radio stations with a coverage area of less than 700,000 adults, which
must provide evidence of local consumers’ satisfaction with the
content provided by their local radio station (section 4(g) of this
report outlines the need for a cost-effective implementation agreed
jointly between Ofcom and RadioCentre).
R4: Once a Local Impact Test has been introduced, it would be followed
by relaxed rules concerning the location of a local station, and the
number of local hours broadcast, for stations with a coverage area of
less than 700,000 adults.
R5: An increase to the minimum number of ‘local’ news bulletins aired
each day by all local radio stations, accompanied by clarification of
the rules concerning the definition of ‘local news’.
R6: A softening of music stipulations within prescribed ‘Formats’ so
that content becomes the primary controlling mechanism.
R7: Large local radio stations (with coverage areas of more than
700,000 adults) to remain sited and embedded within their coverage
areas, with the majority of daytime local hours broadcast from within
their region. There will be an increase in the minimum number of local
news bulletins such stations have to broadcast.
R8: Regional stations and AM services to be upgraded to quasi-national
networks, provided they are available to at least 65% of the UK
population on the DAB platform and they make a commitment to broadcast
to the whole UK on DAB by 2015, subject to availability and suitable
re-planning of the multiplexes.
R9: The regulator to allow the merger of two or more co-owned local
licences with coverage areas of less than 700,000 adults that are
contiguous or overlap into a single local licence
R10: Extension of all local and regional commercial radio licences to
2020, and all multiplex licences to 2030, in order to aid long term
investment in radio.
R11: Removal of radio specific and cross-media ownership rules so that
competition law becomes the legal constraint to consolidation.
R12: The BBC to work with the commercial radio sector (and community
radio) to create a national radio training facility for the education,
excellence and advancement of all radio personnel.
R13: The BBC to work with the commercial and community radio sector and
all other local media to explore the use of a shared ‘audio’ content
facility so that ‘actuality’ recorded by the BBC can be used by other
local operators. For example, audio interviews with experts,
politicians and other non-BBC personnel should be available for all to
use. The principle should be that a consumer who chooses not to listen
to BBC Radio, but is still a Licence Fee payer, will not be excluded
from hearing such audio on their local commercial radio station or on
other local media platforms.
R14: A change in the current legislation to allow community radio
stations to be licensed in areas served by a commercial radio station
with a coverage area of 50,000 adults or less. The related restriction
which currently prevents community radio stations in areas served by
commercial radio stations with coerage areas of between 50,000 and
150,000 adults from selling on-air advertising and sponsorship to be
extended to include new community radio stations which overlap local
commercial radio staions with coverage areas of 50,000 adults or less.
More details here: