Parliamentary report reveals commercial radio’s impact

A new report from a cross-party group of MPs and Peers has revealed the value of commercial radio to all parts of the UK.

Valuing Radio is the first report of its kind from by the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Commercial Radio. It includes new figures that show an estimated £1.6bn return on investment annually for local advertisers, which is particularly significant for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). This is in addition to the public value of radio from news and information, charitable fundraising and education.

It also found that commercial stations provide an average of 10 hours of news, travel and weather output each week, made up of dozens of bulletins every day, contributing to radio’s status as the most trusted medium for news. This value is illustrated by examples of radio’s reporting of emergencies and its up-to-the-minute coverage of local and national events.

Commercial radio’s support for charity and good causes is also highlighted, with an estimated £30m being raised during 2018 from initiatives such as Bauer’s Cash for Kids, Global’s Make Some Noise and many local campaigns.

The report is being launched at an event hosted by the APPG in Parliament, to be addressed by LBC breakfast show host Nick Ferrari and Margot James MP, Minister for Digital and the Creative Industries.

Among the key recommendations for Government and Ofcom set out in the report are:

Commitment to local news: supporting the Government’s commitment to protect local news on radio, while ensuring services remain sustainable

Operational freedom: welcoming changes to Ofcom’s Localness Guidelines to give operators more freedom to use technology and focus on providing the best service for listeners

Embracing diversity: by building on a number of successful initiatives currently underway within the sector

Digital future: supporting the expansion of digital radio, but urging the Government to confirm that small commercial radio stations will be given a choice of when to stop broadcasting on FM

Siobhan Kenny, Chief Executive at Radiocentre, said: “Commercial radio is at the very centre of the audio revolution. This report underlines its vital role in society, particularly when it comes to times of national emergency and as a trusted source of news – now the industry needs to work together with government and the regulator to ensure this success continues long into the future.”

The report can be downloaded here.

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  1. Adrian says

    What a waste of time-embracing diversity,welcoming changes to Ofcom’s localness guidelines.Mp’s should be stopping the dilution of our local services not endorsing them!.

    1. Mike Rose says

      They’re in bed with each other mate!

  2. Len Groat says

    Siobhan Kenny : “Commercial radio is at the very centre of the audio revolution”

    …and there was me thinking it was the Internet, down-loading and social media!!


  3. Pat says

    You’d never believe they can’t afford better programming which were told could return after the recession-not that anybody believed it of course.Now they can drop most local programmes,put out minimal news and they are trumpeting about all the money around.Exactly what can local radio do in emergencies if they are coming from another part of the country? and in national emergencies can commercial radio really hack it these days?.

    1. Mike Rose says

      They can do quite a lot actually. If it’s a local major disaster, like a huge storm, Global allow their stations to opt out of network in network hours if need be…or if it’s not that severe, Toby Anstis etc can just push a button and to to that area.

    2. mb23 says

      The term “better programming” is subjective. They are not going to broadcast programmes that people don’t want to listen to, and audiences for commercial radio are at record levels.

      The BBC provides an excellent service for listeners who want to hear discussions about local issues, and these listeners tend to be aged 50+.

      1. Pat says

        The BBC service is not excellent but very patchy depending on your area.Good news programmes on BBC local and ILR stations are much diminished these days.LBC and BBC locals used to be excellent but now fill-up a lot of the time with listeners views and phone-ins rather than real news even at peak times.My local ILR used to have 15 minute news three times a day but now you don’t even get a three minute bulletin!.It’s not just a case of what people don’t want to listen to-it’s also the companies seeing how little can be spent to fulfil their public service obligations-well the ones that still exist.

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