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Commercial radio – vital force

Commercial Radio is offering a "huge contribution" to broadcasting with an "incredible breadth and depth of output", according to a new report by the RadioCentre.

Action Stations!: The Output and Impact of Commercial Radio follows an substantial audit conducted across 233 commercial radio stations in April. The last such audit was conducted back in 2004.

Highlights of the report include:

– Commercial radio news remains an important source of information for listeners and the report reveals that station broadcasts on average 22 news bulletins a day – almost 8 million minutes of news every year – and 69% of bulletins contain local news.

– Stations each broadcast, on average, 37 'What’s on' bulletins every week, promoting 28 different community events. Last year, commercial radio attended nearly 40,000 community events and over 400,000 events were promoted on station websites.

– During 2007, the industry generated nearly £600 million of gross revenue, employed 10,000 people with hundreds more involved on a voluntary basis.

– The reports states that 83% of stations include local music in their schedules and over a quarter play unsigned bands at least weekly with 70% of specialist stations playing unsigned bands every week.

– Speech content of commercial radio is as diverse as its musical output. Stations typically broadcast 23.7 cumulative hours of speech each week and niche stations tend to broadcast more speech content.

Andrew Harrison, chief executive of RadioCentre concluded: “This report makes it clear that Commercial Radio is a vital force for good in society, but particularly in local communities where stations serve audiences with a wide range of invaluable information, as well supporting thousands of community events and organisations, and bolstering local talent through live and local music broadcasts."

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