Will Jackson, Managing Director of the Radio Independents Group, today called for the BBC to take several key steps to meet the need to better represent the UK nations and regions on its network radio services.
Speaking at the Nations & Regions Media conference in Salford, Will called for the BBC to deliver three key proposals to make sure the UK as a whole is better represented:
1) Each national BBC Radio network to develop a plan, setting out how it aims to reflect better the UK’s nations, regions and communities – these plans should be drawn up in consultation with the independent radio production sector and should include details on making greater use of indies to help the BBC meet its obligations
2) Each network’s plan should ensure clear arrangements for out of London commissioning, for example, the establishment of one or more network Commissioning Editors whose role is to build links with producers in the nations and regions.
3) The BBC should clarify and re‐confirm its on‐going commitment to what is currently called the ‘BBC North Creative Kicker Fund for indies’, while extending its remit and funding to support independent radio production in the rest of the UK’s nations, regions and communities outside London.
Commenting on the proposals, Will said: “It is clear to the indie radio production sector that their ability to provide high‐quality stories, perspectives, ideas and talent from their being rooted in communities all round the UK is crucial if the BBC is to deliver on its promise to better represent all Licence Fee payers.”
Ashley Byrne, Chair of the RIG Nations & Regions Committee and MD of Made in Manchester, added: “Whilst the BBC has invested in one or two productions centres outside London, this has not resulted in any real increase in indie commissioning in the nations and regions. These proposals, along with our call for an overall increase in BBC Radio’s commissioning of indies, can ensure that those companies outside the M25 have a level playing field to compete for those commissions.”
The Radio Independents Group is the trade body representing the UK independent radio with around 150 members around the UK.