The Radio Independents Group is calling for Ofcom to reinstate genre quotas for important production such as drama and comedy on Radio 4 and drama on Radio 3.
It’s part of its response to Ofcom’s consultation on the BBC’s draft Operating Licence.
Previously the BBC Trust required BBC Radio 4 to broadcast at least 600 hours of original drama and readings a year, along with at least 180 hours of comedy a year. Radio 3 was required to broadcast 20 new dramas a year. In addition Ofcom has dropped arts programming requirements in BBC Radio Scotland and comedy on BBC Radio Ulster.
However these obligations have not been read across to the draft Operating Licence and this is causing concern amongst a variety of organisations including those representing producers, writers and others.
RIG is seeking discussions with Ofcom to discuss the radio quotas, with the aim of reinstating the requirements for these important genres.
New RIG Vice-Chair Caroline Raphael said: “Drama and Comedy are at the very centre of these services’ distinctiveness, bringing delight, imagination and wit to so many listeners. So much talent, on air and behind the microphone, has flourished from these types of production, feeding television, film and live performance throughout the UK with new creativity.
“While Ofcom has increased drama quotas for other services such as CBBC, which we applaud, it has been less than entirely consistent in protecting these genres on radio. We will ask Ofcom to think again and reinstate these requirement to the new Operating Licence”.
Here are some of the BBC Trust quota obligations for BBC Radio which are being removed under Ofcom’s proposed operating licence: