Ofcom consults on relaxing Key Commitments for community radio

Ofcom is consulting on varying community radio licences to give more flexibility to Key Commitments.

The regulator says it considers that the current format of Key Commitments focuses too heavily on specific quotas, taking focus away from the character of service and social gain requirements. It adds that the community radio sector says overly prescriptive Key Commitments can divert resources from vital aspects of their services.

This flexibility would allow community stations to decide how to best serve their listeners while keeping the rules to protect the character of a service.

The proposal is to remove specific quotas on the types of programming to be broadcast – for example, the main types of music and speech output, the number of hours of original output broadcast each week and the number of hours of locally produced output.

It is also proposing that for non-English language stations, these languages are specified in the character of their service.

In response to the consultation, the UK Community Radio Network said: “We welcome Ofcom consulting on the Key Commitments that regulate how Community Radio Stations operate, social gain is of vital importance, and how stations deliver that and serve their communities.

“We have been calling on a review of Key Commitments, so that they work best to hold stations to account on how they are serving their communities, the quality of their output not just some quantity measured against local or original hours which have no real relevance, especially in the modern practice of production of Community Radio.

“We would encourage stations to respond to the consultation but also engage with us as the sector body for Ofcom licenced community radio so we can collate views for our submission, stations can email us hello@ukcrn.radio.”

The consultation is open until Thursday 13th June 2024.


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