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Public notice plan could help radio firms

Commercial radio stations and groups are being encouraged to take part in a government consultation on the future public notices.

The Department for Transport is looking at whether rules forcing government departments and local councils to advertise details of road closures in newspapers only should be changed.

Instead, public bodies would be able to select the most appropriate method of delivering the message to communities – including using radio, websites or flyers.

£20m a year is currently spent advertising traffic orders in local newspapers. Transport Minister Norman Baker said:“It is right that residents and businesses are told about changes to their local roads. But councils and the Highways Agency should have the freedom to use their local knowledge to decide how best to do this rather than being forced to spend taxpayers’ money on indiscriminate advertising.”

UKRD Group – operator of local radio stations including Pirate FM, Eagle Radio and Star Radio – has been campaigning for a change in the rules and welcomed today’s news of a consultation.

Chief Executive William Rogers told RadioToday.co.uk: “This is a great move forward in freeing up more opportunities for commercial radio as well as ensuring that public messages from Government and Public Bodies to communities are more effectively delivered. We have been battling away to seek this change for nearly a year and I am delighted that the Government has decided to consult on this matter. Our own station teams will be making their views felt and I would urge all other local commercial stations to get in touch with the Department of Transport to make their views felt. We really can change this restriction and give the industry a further opportunity to provide a better service to Government bodies and local communities.”

He added: “This is a very practical campaign which has a clearly defined result for the benefit of the commercial radio sector and we’ve got to make sure we maximise this opportunity. Our station teams have done a fantastic job so far and we must make sure we press this position to best effect.”

Find out more about the consultation and how to make your views heard here.

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