BBC unveils new indie plan

BBC Director of Audio and Music Tim Davie has announced a five-point plan to improve the commissioning process for the independent radio production sector.

Speaking at the UK Radio Production Conference at Salford Quays, he said the new process would make it simpler and more consistent to pitch for BBC productions.

The criteria will be based on four areas of expertise – Editorial Capability, Technical, Editorial Standards, and Business. The requirements for meeting the criteria include: programme making experience; knowledge of BBC Guidelines and compliance procedure; talent management; budgetary expertise and compliance with network specific requirements.

All independent radio production companies will be sent information on the new commissioning process, those that meet the criteria will be eligible for all BBC Radio commissioning rounds.

The new system will be introduced by the beginning of 2012 and will mean the closure of the current preferred supplied list for BBC Radio 4 commissioning rounds.

The plan includes:
– Replacing genre specific preferred supplier list with the introduction of Open Indie Criteria – available to all independent production companies across all of BBC radio
– Launch of a less complex budgeting process
– Confirmation of a simpler system of commissioning rounds
– Introduction of 10 percent Window of Creative Competition (WoCC) across BBC Audio and Music
– Appointment of Chris Burns, Audio and Music Group Manager as ‘Indie Champion’.

Tim Davie says: "These measures represent a real advance in building the partnership between BBC radio and the Independent production sector. Overall, we intend to make BBC Radio a simpler and easier place to do business with so that the best ideas make it to air."

Other measures announced as part of the plan include a review of the commissioning timetable to allow independent production companies more time to prepare pitches and a new simpler budgeting system to speed up the time between commissioning and production.

BBC Audio and Music will also be introducing a 10 percent Window of Creative Competition (WoCC) – the opportunity for independent production companies to compete with in-house to make BBC programmes – which will be fully operational by 2012/13, in addition to the existing 10 percent independent production quota.

The Radio Independents Group have welcomed the BBC's announcement. RIG Chair Mike Hally said: "BBC Audio and Music has responded well to last year's criticism from the BBC Trust regarding its relationship with radio indies, and to the Trust's request that it introduce a 10 percent Window of Creative Competition."

He added: "RIG is continuing to work with the BBC to implement the Trust's recommendations, and to encourage further steps to increase competition for ideas in BBC radio programming. We also welcome the appointment of Chris Burns as A&M's 'Indie Champion', and will look forward to her supporting the work of indies with full energy and vigour."

You can follow our live coverage of the UK Radio Production Conference today [link=]here[/link].

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