Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Memorandum submitted by Capital Radio

  We are responding to the invitation to submit written evidence to the Culture, Media and Sport Committee's inquiry into Communications in advance of the draft Communications Bill. Capital Radio is supportive of the CRCA's submission, but would like to clarify our position on the OFCOM structure proposed by the Towers Perrin report.

  In its submission, the CRCA stated that "commercial radio does not support the implementation of a 'Horizontal Radio Group' as recommended by the Towers Perrin report into OFCOM, since we believe this will encourage micro-regulation of our industry."

  Capital also has grave concerns in respect of the proposed separate Horizontal Radio Group.

  Capital Radio has been a strong supporter of the Government's wish to streamline regulation and we believe that the creation of OFCOM is an important step in the right direction. Accordingly, we were delighted to see that the structure suggested for OFCOM was not sector-specific, but instead has a number of departments operating across the different media in order to offer a broad perspective. However, in the particular case of radio only, it is also proposed that there is a separate "Horizontal Radio Group" which would work alongside these departments.

  This second layer is unnecessary and could increase the amount of regulatory interference for the radio industry and result in micro-management, which appears to be against the spirit of the government's stated aim to lighten regulatory control. In addition this could lead to confusion between the responsibilities and views taken by the broader departments, and the functions of the specific radio group. This is of particular concern where neither television nor telecoms would have their own specific regulators within OFCOM.

  OFCOM will be the critical force in implementing the policies to be enacted in the Communications Bill, and it is therefore imperative that radio should be allowed to benefit from the convergence expected within the media landscape to the same extent as our fellow broadcasters, and be viewed and regulated within the same context.

11 January 2002

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