Thursday, 7 February 2008

New guidelines for UK radio stations

Ofcom today published their view about two areas: 1) localness guidance for analogue (FM and AM) commercial radio and 2) stereo and mono broadcasting on DAB

Here you can read the 44 pages of the pdf file

Here you can read John Plunkett's view about this statement

Plunkett wrote about the quality of DAB:
"The commercial radio trade body, the Radio Centre, said "perceived audio quality" should not be "micro-managed" by Ofcom, adding that it was best left to individual radio operators and digital multiplex owners."

Localness guidelines

Ofcom has concluded that it is right to maintain a minimum amount of obligations for local content on radio, shown by research to be important to listeners. Today’s statement revises guidance on the local content obligations for commercial analogue radio licensees, in line with the proposals set out in Ofcom’s Consultation document published in November 2007.

The new guidance states that:

-FM local radio stations should broadcast at least ten hours of locally-made programmes each weekday during daytime (including breakfast) and at least four hours at weekends; and

-AM stations should provide at least four hours of locally-made programming every day of the week. Stations based in the nations (Scotland , Wales and Northern Ireland) will be required to provide a further six weekday hours of programming from their home nation.

No station will be required to produce more locally-made programming than at present and, for many licensees, the new guidelines represent substantial deregulation.

Given the challenging economic climate facing the radio industry currently, Ofcom recognises the need for flexibility and the case for reducing overheads. So Ofcom will now consider requests from stations with a population coverage under 250,000 adults for co-location and/or programme sharing with a neighbouring station. Where stations are allowed to share programming they will still be required to provide at least four hours of bespoke local programming per day.

Stereo and mono broadcasting on DAB

Ofcom has concluded stereo and mono broadcasting on DAB should be regulated to preserve sound quality for listeners. Licensees wishing to switch from stereo to mono must now request approval from Ofcom. This policy will be reviewed after 12 months

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