Lyca Media in breach for not providing local news on Time 107.5

Ofcom has found Time 107.5’s parent company Lyca Media II in breach of its Format for not broadcasting any local news when monitored.

The regulator said local news was not broadcast at any time during the week 13 to 19 February 2023 and the station was not meeting the requirement in its Format to air local news bulletins at least hourly during daytime weekdays and peak-time weekends.

The Licensee stated that its local news journalist had left the service in December, and it has had difficulty recruiting a replacement, explaining that “it has been very hard to fill the role”.

Since the journalist left the service, Lyca explained that “presenters have been managing to cover shifts in December and January but there were temporary issues in February, which have now been rectified”.

The Licensee added that, since the week assessed, it has “been broadcasting full days of National and Local bulletins in house again with a freelance journalist who worked for [the Licensee] in the past”.

In addition, four community radio stations have also been found in breach following complaints.

Drive 105, a community radio station based in Derry, Northern Ireland, played a song containing the most offensive language at a time when children were particularly likely to be listening. Supalonely by Benee was aired on a Saturday evening by mistake, and the station apologised to Ofcom.

No apology was broadcast at the time as the programme was pre-recorded.

Big City Radio in Birmingham failed to fulfil the requirements specified in its Key Commitments with regard to speech and original output. The Licensee also failed to provide recordings and associated information to Ofcom for the purpose of assessing the content.

Ofcom requested recordings of the output of the service from Monday 10 October to Sunday 16 October 2022, however the licensee provided recordings of the output from the service from Thursday 10 November to Wednesday 16 November.

After listening to the alternative days, Ofcom concluded no local news, travel, weather, community information, or sport was broadcast at all, and its commitment to 12 hours a day of original programming was not being broadcast.

This is the third time Big City has been found in breach of licence conditions for failing to comply with its Key Commitments within the last five years, so is now on notice and may be given a sanction.

Cross Counties Radio failed to fulfil the requirement specified in its Key Commitments to provide original output for a minimum of 161 hours per week.

The station tried to change its commitments on more than one occasion but was refused by Ofcom.

And Heritage Radio also failed to meet its original output and locally-produced requirements as stated in its Key Commitments.

The community radio station serving the residents of South Manchester was broadcasting between zero and nine hours of original output each day during the week monitored by Ofcom, rather than the required 15 per day.

The Licensee said it was having trouble with attracting presenters but is in the process of recruiting new volunteers who will become part of the presenting team once they are fully trained.

As a reminder for all stations, here is the expectations of Original v Locally Produced output:

Original output is content which is first produced for, and transmitted by, the station and excludes output that was transmitted elsewhere before. Original output can be live, pre-recorded or voice-tracked. Repeat broadcasts of original output and continuous music with no speech content other than advertisements, station idents and/or outsourced news bulletins (i.e. news bulletins produced by a third party) do not meet Ofcom’s definition of original output.

Locally-produced output is content which is made and broadcast from within the station’s licensed coverage area. It may include all types of local production including repeats and continuous music, as long as it is created anywhere within the licensed coverage area and is not material that is networked from other stations. Content which is made outside the station’s licensed coverage area, but edited and broadcast from within the coverage area, does not meet Ofcom’s definition of locally-produced output.

Posted on Tuesday, May 9th, 2023 at 7:15 pm by Roy Martin

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