Ofcom has published its annual Communications Market Report, the most comprehensive study of the UK’s TV, radio, broadband, telecoms and postal industries.
For the first time since 2008, when Ofcom started collecting data from the community radio sector, community radio revenues have increased. While average (mean) income is up by 0.8%, median income has increased by 6.9% since a year ago. The average community radio station income is £55,750, while median income is £35,750, up £2,500 on 2013.
Over the year the proportion of income from on-air advertising has fallen from 30% to 26%. During this period the overall average level of income has grown, with donations, grants and ‘other’ income all going up.
Between 2011 and 2014 the percentage of income from SLAs (service level agreements) has fallen, from 10% to 4%, and the proportion of income from grants has fallen from 33% to 26%. The proportion of income from ‘other’ sources has grown progressively; from 18% in 2011 to 28% in 2014. ‘Other’ income includes revenue from the provision of training, fund-raising and events, and merchandising income.
In a full 168-hour week, community radio, on average, broadcasts original programming for 55% of this time. It has a focus on volunteering and training, and last year each station engaged, on average, 87 volunteers, and trained 60 volunteers.
This year’s report also reveals that the UK is now a ‘smartphone society’, as record ownership and use have transformed the way people go online and communicate. For the first time, smartphones have overtaken laptops as UK internet users’ number one device.