Ford Ennals, Chief Executive, Digital Radio UK, this morning urged a gathering of MPs to echo the support given to the Digital Economy Bill so far by their colleagues in the Lords when the Bill reaches the House of Commons.
Heads of Radio for KM Group and Lincs FM also expressed thir viewpoint, along with the Community Radio Association.
Speaking at a parliamentary breakfast briefing hosted by the Rt Hon John Whittingdale, MP (Chairman of the Culture Media and Sport Select Committee), Ennals told the meeting that the Bill will “bring big benefits for small stations” and reiterated the support given to the Bill by representatives of over 500 local radio stations from across the UK, including commercial, BBC and community radio.
Ennals, said: “We are delighted that the radio clauses in the Bill have passed the significant milestone of the first stage of parliamentary process in the House of Lords, and we now urge MPs to hear the calls of the representatives of over 500 small stations who give their support to the Bill.
“The radio clauses of the Digital Economy Bill will enable a host of benefits for small stations including deregulatory measures for small-scale commercial stations, more licensing certainty for local stations, the licensing of further community stations, as well as allowing for the re-plan of the local digital multiplex map to take place. A healthy radio sector is good for stations of all sizes and a digital future will certainly mean a more competitive, compelling and attractive radio industry.”
Also present at the briefing, Steve Fountain, Head of Radio, KM Group, commented: “For local radio to survive and flourish in the digital age, it is crucial that the Digital Economy Bill makes its way through Parliament successfully – the passage of the Bill represents one of the last opportunities to secure a viable, long-term future for the sector."
Other representatives of local radio added their support with Michael Betton, Chief Executive, Lincs FM Group, saying: “What listeners care most about is local content; the Digital Economy Bill will grant small local stations deregulatory measures that will ensure they can operate with more flexibility in the digital world – a digital world where currently, radio has to compete for consumers’ time with other mediums that have nowhere near the same amount of regulatory red tape that radio currently has.”
Jaqui Devereux, Director, Community Media Association, added: ”The Digital Economy Bill is an essential and enormously beneficial piece of legislation which will enable community radio to further flourish and fulfil its potential. We greatly look forward to the host of benefits that the community radio sector will receive as a result of the creation of space on the FM spectrum following the migration of national and regional stations to digital radio."