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Vaizey to review commercial radio regulation

Ed Vaizey has proposed to review a number of key regulation areas for commercial radio.

Commercial radio body Radiocentre has welcomed the plans, which were communicated to CEO Siobhan Kenny this week.

In the letter, the Minister highlights the first phase of this work that will be undertaken by Ofcom and Government to consider the value of continuing with music formats and detailed localness requirements in their current form.

This announcement comes as more digital radio stations arrive, which are not subject to the same range of regulatory requirements as traditional radio services on FM or AM.

Vaizey wants Ofcom to look at options for a simplified radio content regime that will work across analogue and digital radio. He questions if there is a need/desire in the longer term to retain a regulatory distinction between community radio and small-scale commercial radio if both types of service are going to be carried on the same multiplexes.

Siobhan Kenny, CEO of Radiocentre says: “UK radio is a good shape with an unrivalled range of services available for listeners. But it also faces an unprecedented challenge in the battle for listeners and advertisers, particularly from online services that are largely unregulated.

“If commercial radio is to continue to support its fantastic mix of local stations and national brands, then it is right to take a fresh look at the regulation. We look forward to working with Government and Ofcom to try and help level the playing field so radio stations of all shapes and sizes have the flexibility they need in a digital age.”

Following the completion of Ofcom’s work, DCMS will assess the options in detail ahead of a consultation, which Ed Vaizey hopes to be in a position to publish in late-spring of 2016.

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