Media regulator Ofcom has today issued Yellow Card warnings to both Bath FM and Brunel FM (Swindon) as a warning that both are failing to deliver the amount of local content required by their respective Formats.
The Yellow Card is Ofcom’s way of warning any station that it’s operating outside its Format, a Format used to define the character of each individual local commercial station. The warning is meant to spell out the media regulator’s concerns that a station is straying from the character of service enshrined by the Format.
In regard of Bath FM, the most serious criticisms were of the station's output on Sunday November 30, when it says Bath FM was "in automated mode". The nine-year-old station was bought by current owner South West Radio in October after the collapse of previous operator Laser Broadcasting.
Today, South West Radio operations director Paul Roberts blamed technical problems for the breach of the station's format. Mr Roberts said today that the Ofcom move was "Very unfortunate. We inherited major technical problems and as soon as we were aware of the problem, we invested in new hardware. The system is now stable and the problem is effectively solved.”
In a statement, Ofcom said: After listening to three days of Bath FM's output, we found that the station was clearly not compliant with the level of localness required by its format. In the hours we listened to, there was little additional local content that might have helped the station to deliver its character of service, although it did carry local sport headlines.”
Ofcom said the Yellow Card would be lifted if the issues were addressed when it next monitored the station.
Other stations that have fallen foul of the Yellow Card warning in 2008 include KCR FM, Sunshine (Herefordshire and Monmouthshire) and Sunshine 855.