BBC gives more to the indies

The BBC Trust has asked the corporation to increase competition in the radio programme market by opening up more of the available programming hours to independent producers.

The move will increase the amount of independent commissions from 10 to 20 percent.

However, the Radio Independents Group says they are very disappointed by the scale of change. They had hoped for a statutory 25 per cent, saying the current quota is around 8.4 per cent in real terms.

"Allowing for the BBC's exemption on outsourcing news and current affairs the report makes less than one fifth of BBC radio programming available to independents. This policy is both inconsistent with the BBC's approach to creative companies in TV and online, and shows a lack of ambition," it said.

The increase has been welcomed by Tim Davie, Director, BBC Audio and Music: "We welcome this report and, with the help of the independent production community, will implement the Trust's recommendations and ensure we continue to offer listeners the highest quality programmes.

"We have a good track record of meeting our independent production targets and look forward to working with the sector to deliver competition for more commissions.

"We recognise that independent producers are an integral part of our success and play an important role, alongside our in-house production teams, in delivering public value. We are committed to developing our relationship with them."

In the North, Made in Manchester’s Creative Director Ashley Byrne, who began lobbying for an increase in quota two years ago, says he’s delighted with the news.

“If public service broadcasting is to survive in the UK, the BBC must embrace the Independent production sector. We really wanted the 25 per cent quota that you see in TV but this is a huge step in the right direction.”

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