Radio - Preparing for the Future Phase 2
Statement published 15|02|06
1.1 Phase 2 of Radio – Preparing for the future outlined Ofcom’s view of the way in which commercial radio should be most effectively regulated in the future.
1.2 Its main concern was with Format regulation and the delivery of localness as Ofcom moves the regulatory emphasis away from input regulation (rules on how programmes should be made, such as automation and news hubs) towards output regulation (the overall sound of the station). It proposed, for consultation, procedures for considering requests for Format changes. This statement sets out Ofcom’s conclusions following that consultation.
1.3 Responses were overwhelmingly supportive of the Format change regime proposed in the consultation, although a number of specific points were raised. This statement addresses those points and confirms the approach to considering Format change requests.
1.4 The phase 2 report also confirmed the re-worded Localness Guidelines as the primary tool with which Ofcom will determine licensees’ performance with regard to local Format demands. These Localness Guidelines are available on the web (see Related Items).
1.5 It also looked ahead to individual consultation with stations on changes to Licences and Formats as suggested within Phase 1.
1.6 Therefore, Ofcom will shortly be in touch with every licensee with regard to those changes, which include lifting the restriction on daytime automation on stations, allowing news hub arrangements and the location of studios within licensed areas as opposed to Measured Coverage Areas (MCAs). Ofcom has reserved the right to re-visit the automation limits question and the news hub arrangements if they result in a quality drop.
1.7 Ofcom will also discuss with individual stations the new self-reporting system to be introduced, which is the obligation to keep a Public File of information setting out a station’s output performance when judged against its Format and character of service.
1.8 This Public File may be available on a stations website and/or in hard copy available for inspection by both Ofcom and listeners.
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