Local radio operator UKRD is calling for ministers to change the law which means public notices about things like road closures and planning applications have to be carried only in local newspapers.
The group’s Chief Executive, William Rogers, told RadioToday.co.uk the current legislation was ‘out-dated and very old fashioned’.
Along with the Managing Directors of UKRD’s portfolio of stations – which includes Pirate FM, Eagle Radio, Minster and 2BR – William is campaigning to open up the use of all media for public notices so that councils and government departments can choose the marketing solution most appropriate to get their information across.
William told us: “It is a reality in today’s world, that circulation of local newspapers has been falling and their effectiveness to deliver the messages various public bodies want to get across to communities they serve, has diminished as a result. Whilst they still provide strong local editorial content and are a valuable resource, it is clearly ridiculous that public bodies are not able to make a judgement about how best to deliver their messages to local communities and are restricted by law from making that choice.”
He added that he would like to see a change in the current law, so that web, local radio and local newspapers could all be considered. “This may seem like a small change but there is no question that local radio, along with other media, has been denied the opportunity to play a role in this area for far too long and should now be allowed to participate along with local newspapers and others,” said Rogers.
We’re told UKRD’s managers around the country are lobbying local MPs through letters and meetings, setting out the case for change and arguing that public sector organisations should be given ‘the widest choice to ensure effective and cost efficient delivery of their notices into local communities’.
Only last month an organisation representing communications departments from local councils wrote to the Department for Communities and Local Government calling for a change to allow notices to be placed on their own websites to save £200m over five years in press advertising costs.
Previously, organisations like the Newspaper Society have called for the restrictions to stay in place to support the local press industry. Many local councils began publishing their own weekly free newspapers as a way of reducing the amount spent on press advertising.