The BBC Trust today has started its latest review of radio, which will look at how well the BBC’s six network music radio stations– Radio 1, 1Xtra 2, 3, 6 Music and Asian Network – are performing.
A three month public consultation also starts today and the Trust is inviting BBC radio listeners to get in touch with their views on the six stations through an online consultation. Listeners can also give their thoughts to the consultation via Twitter using the hashtag #trustreview.
This is the Trust’s second review of each of the music radio stations but the first to look at all six in the round.
In response, CEO of RadioCentre, Siobhan Kenny said on behalf of commercial radio: “This is a good time to look at the combined impact of the BBC’s music radio services. Ahead of Charter Renewal, we need to focus on the size, scope and remit of some of the BBC’s most popular services, and what roles they will have in a future digital environment. At RadioCentre, we are particularly interested in the positioning and distinctiveness of Radios 1, 2 and 3.
“No one disputes the strength and appeal of the stations but, the question is, given the luxury of their licence-fee funded position, are they delivering real public service value across the schedule and truly giving their audiences content which cannot or could not be found elsewhere?”
The Music Radio review, which was announced in February 2014, will over the coming months assess whether each of the six BBC stations is fulfilling the commitments defined in its service licence, which set out what the public can expect of BBC services; whether any changes to the licences are needed; and whether the stations are good value for money.
The review will also consider whether the six stations are adequately supporting UK, live and new music, whether they are offering listeners a wide range of music genres, and how well equipped they are to respond to the evolution of radio and music as consumers’ habits change.
Each of the stations carries a varying amount of speech content and the Trust will also be looking at this speech output as part of the review. A separate service review of the BBC’s Speech Radio stations will launch later this year.
The Music Radio review will follow up the Executive’s progress on the Trust’s previous reviews of the radio stations and examine the extent to which the BBC’s music radio services are providing distinctive programming, which listeners around the UK can enjoy.
BBC Trustee Bill Matthews, who is jointly leading the review, said: “We are fortunate in Britain to have an immensely rich musical heritage and this is reflected in the range and variety of the BBC’s music radio stations. From classical to folk, country to grime, the BBC must cater for all tastes and provide something for anyone who loves music.
“We want to encourage listeners to get in touch and tell us how they think the BBC’s six music radio stations are doing.”
In addition to the public consultation, the Trust will conduct audience research and consult with BBC Radio and industry stakeholders.