A Manchester-based director of the trade body Radio Independents Group says he intends to use his new role to lobby for greater support for independent radio production companies from Media City in Salford.
Ashley Byrne, creative director of radio and TV indie Made in Manchester Productions predicts Manchester could lead the way in future radio production once the BBC moves north and Channel 4 launch their radio stations.
“Independent radio production is about to undergo a revolution with the arrival of three new national digital stations in the shape of 4Radio, E4Radio and Pure4Radio – and the indie sector has to be ready to step up to that challenge,” said Ashley.
“Channel4Radio could do for the radio indie sector what Channel 4 did for the TV indie sector back in 1982. And Media City needs to give the sector the support it needs to deliver regular programming from the North for the BBC, Channel4Radio, other commercial networks – and for stations overseas.
“There’s often a perception that visual media is sexier than audio (certainly the budgets for TV are bigger) but the radio sector is tremendously robust. Radio audiences are rising especially through the arrival of the internet – and Manchester has a real opportunity here to lead in the field of radio production,” said Ashley.
“5Live is moving North but that should be just the tip of iceberg. Some of the biggest shows in Britain – whether they be long running music shows, documentary strands or radio drama or comedy – could be being broadcast (and made by independent companies) from Manchester in 2011 onwards.”
Ashley Byrne, along with representatives from other radio indies, will be seeking a meeting with all the parties involved in Media City in coming weeks.
The Salford Quays area, home of the Media City development is already the location of several radio stations – Century Radio, Smooth Radio, Rock Radio, Gold and Xfm, as well as Radio Today.
Top Image: Artists impression of Media City – (c) Peel
Bottom Image: Photo of Media City, July 2008 – (cc) RadioToday.co.uk