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Reaction to Ofcom deregulation

The industry has started to have its say on Ofcom's deregulation of commercial radio.

RadioCentre and UKRD have both reacted with sceptical statements, Global Radio Founder and Group CEO told staff there may be difficult decisions to make.

[b]Andrew Harrison, chief executive of RadioCentre, said: [/b]

“It is now one year on from the Myers Report which outlined the severe commercial difficulties facing small commercial radio stations. Last week, far-sighted legislative change began the important journey to a digital future for larger stations in our sector with the passage of the Digital Economy Act.

“However, these proposals from the regulator do little to change the current operating costs and regulatory burdens on most small stations. In particular, the areas proposed for co-location and programme sharing are so narrowly defined as to make no practical operational difference for many stations. Only if Ofcom is true to its commitment to ‘consider co-location and programme sharing across area boundaries’ , particularly for smaller stations, will these modest proposals have a material impact for the sector.”

[b]William Rogers, Chief Executive of UKRD, said: [/b]

“The key and most important component of the Act is the passing of the de-regulation clause, number 34. This will afford Ofcom the opportunity to do everything that it should have been seeking to do years ago and I can only hope that it follows through and delivers the kind of regulatory approach that, to date, it has singularly failed to. A great opportunity but the jury is out until we see what is actually delivered whatever the words say.

“This announcement by Ofcom suggests that, at long last, they are genuinely seeking to deliver on what is intended and I can only hope that they set aside what I have always believed to be their desire to stand in the way of necessary change and make these changes with haste. Sadly, based on past performance, I cannot be confident about this. I’ll wait and see what they actually do and how they actually behave before jumping up and down with too much enthusiasm about one piece of paper.”

[b]In an internal memo obtained by Radio Today, Ashley Tabor, Founder and Group CEO of Global Radio said:[/b]

“Ofcom has just published the outcome of the consultation on localness and co-location.

“Amongst its key conclusions, it allows for a reduction in local hours, co-location and Programme sharing. Now that we have specific information to plan from, it is for us to review it and make some very important decisions on the future shape and size of the company.

“There may be decisions we have to take that will be difficult, but it’s important to live our values in challenging moments as well. We have to be courageous, strive for excellence and be daring enough to take tough decisions if needed.

“One of the key things we have learnt from obsession is that communication is key and I will keep you informed and updated as we progress this thinking.”

[b]Has your company reacted internally? Have you got a comment? Post it below or confidentially email news@radiotoday.co.uk.[/b]

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