Radiocentre and the Chair of the APPG, MP Andy Carter, want an urgent review of BBC Sounds following news of Radio 1 Dance launching on BBC Sounds.
The commercial radio body and All-Party Parliamentary Group on Commercial Radio say they find it hard to believe the new service is offering something distinctive from the commercial sector.
Earlier today the BBC announced an extension of the Radio 1 brand with Radio 1 Dance set to launch on BBC Sounds on 9th October.
Now the Chair of the APPG, is now urging Ofcom to review the BBC Sounds platform as the BBC continues to invest undisclosed sums of licence fee income into an expanding service that they say is hardly distinctive and essentially replicates services already available to listeners.
Andy Carter MP told RadioToday: “It’s imperative for the future of the BBC that it provides high quality, distinctive content that warrants its significant licence fee income. I am concerned about the serious lack of transparency and scrutiny of the BBC Sounds platform.
“New services like Radio 1 Dance do not appear to meet the important public value tests that the BBC must observe. I hope Ofcom will conduct a thorough review of BBC Sounds as a matter of urgency.”
Siobhan Kenny, Radiocentre CEO, commented: “We were encouraged to hear new Director General Tim Davie emphasise that distinctiveness and true public service value should be at the heart of all BBC content.
“It is disappointing therefore to see this announcement of a new 24 hour dance stream. It is really difficult to understand what qualifies as distinctive in this offering. Commercial radio has a rich catalogue in this area, and is very popular with audiences.
“We know the BBC is struggling to attract younger audiences but launching in competition to existing, UK based providers, who rely on advertising revenue rather than public funding, is really not the way ahead. We agree that it is time for an urgent review.”
In response, a BBC spokesperson said: “We want to make it easy for new and existing audiences to enjoy high quality, distinctive content like our dance programmes on BBC Sounds, and we’ve always been open about our plans as well as had relevant approvals from Ofcom as part of the normal process.”
They also added that “Radio 1 Dance will bring together Radio 1’s rich slate of existing dance programmes into a dedicated stream on BBC Sounds giving audiences more flexibility to listen to their favourite BBC content.”