L107 in breach for local news

Broadcasting regulator Ofcom says monitoring has shown Scottish station L107 in Lanarkshire is not operating within its format for the provision of local news.

Output was checked over three days in August following a change of ownership of the station.

Ofcom reports, however, that the station delivers far more locally produced hours than required by the Format, and is very North Lanarkshire-centric. The sampling report summary says that programming – particularly the three-hour mid-morning magazine show – is heavy on local information, whats-ons, travel reports and listener participation.

But the content of news bulletins didn't meet expected standards. "The Format requires local news bulletins during Sunday late breakfast," says the report. "The station broadcast only a review of the week’s news, which cannot be regarded as – nor be a substitution for – local news bulletins. The Monday news bulletins ran from 7am to 10pm. This is a far greater number of bulletins than required by the Format. However, they were broadcast without real change throughout all sixteen bulletins, leaving the local news delivery with no sense of update, urgency or commitment. A level of repetition is clearly unavoidable, but the amount of repetition here is unacceptable. After listening to three days of output from L107 we concluded that the news schedule left the station out of Format."

Monitoring found that the Sunday news bulletins consisted solely of a recorded two-minute review of the news from the area over the past week rather than an up-to-date bulletin. This included Motherwell’s Europa Cup match result from the previous Thursday and other local highlights from the past seven days. This review ran nine times from (7am to 3pm inclusive).

On that, Ofcom say: "However laudable or useful a short review of the week’s news might be, it does not constitute, nor provide a substitute for, a local news bulletin for the area. The station is, therefore, not delivering the Format requirement for local news at peaktime at weekends."

The news on Monday saw the same bulletin – which included four local stories – run from 7am through to 1pm without change. Three of those stories were then re-written (although not updated) and ran through identical bulletins from 2pm to 10pm inclusive.

"Running the same local stories through sixteen bulletins falls far short of listener expectation," say Ofcom. "Ofcom’s localness guidelines highlights an expectation that the news will up to date." Most of the local stories actually involved incidents from the previous Saturday which could conceivably have been run on the Sunday if any bulletins had been present.

The Tuesday bulletins involved a little more change and updating. Although the same local stories ran from 7am to 12 noon inclusive, another two stories (the jailing of a local man for two rapes committed 40 years previously, and a fatal motorbike accident ) were added at 1pm, and the same bulletin ran hourly through to 9pm.

You can read the sampling report in full [link=http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/binaries/broadcast/radio-ops/sampling/L107.pdf]here[/link].

Ofcom has written to L107 but say they have not received a response from the named contact at L107 FM Ltd, so have recorded a formal breach of the licence for the station.

At the time of writing, [link=http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=1291624&page=26]latest forum postings[/link] suggest the station has been broadcasting a back up CD on one of its frequencies for the last 5 days without any live programming or news. On the other, there's no output – just silence.

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