Has the Format had its day?

That is just one of the questions proposed by Ofcom as they publish a discussion document on the future of regulation and licensing in the radio sector.

The document sets out areas where changes may be considered in the future and seeks views from stakeholders on this assessment.

The regulator has identified specific areas within the radio industry where changes may need consideration. These include whether current regulatory obligations, such as a station’s Format — which sets out in detail the type of programming and amount of local material it will commit to broadcast — are still required to ensure listeners benefit from a broad range of services.

Other issues under assessment include:

  • competition from other technologies such as podcasting presents a growing challenge to the radio industry, despite listeners’ continued interest in local content delivered over the air;

  • radio advertising growth is stalling as advertisers switch to internet advertising; and

  • digital radio is taking an increasing share of radio listening, increasing pressure on local stations.

Ofcom will also look at ownership rules in the digital radio age, and the potential to replace existing AM licences as they expire with DRM (Digital Radio Mondiale) services, which uses Medium Wave spectrum to broadcast digitally.

All documents can be found on the Ofcom website by clicking [link=http://www.ofcom.org.uk/consult/condocs/radio_future/]here[/link].

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