Joint Committee on The Draft Communications Bill Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


APPENDIX 92

Memorandum submitted by Andrew Pitt

  I have some comments specifically regarding the reform of radio ownership laws in the new Communications Bill, the following links relate to the consequences on the market when ownership laws were dramatically relaxed in the US in 1996:

  http://www.salon.com/tech/feature/2001/06/28/telecom-dereg/

  http://www.salon.com/ent/feature/2001/04/30/clear-channel/

  http://www.salon.com/ent/feature/2002/06/25/eagle-eye/

  http://www.salon.com/ent/feature/2002/06/25pfp-congress/

  http://www.theadvocate.com/stories/042802/bus-28biz002.shtml

  The reforms have basically lead to a oligopoly situation, the shift in the balance of power in relation to record companies, advertisers and listeners has been dramatic. From a listeners point of view it had lead to less choice, huge centralisation and automation leading to the loss of any local programming or current affairs, more adverts, and unimaginative play-lists where new songs are added on a "cash for access" basis. From an industry point of view, the cost cutting has also impacted on 10,000 radio related jobs in the US.

  It would be extremely sad to see this situation replicated in the UK, I would ask you to exercise prudence when you consider the radio ownership provisions, please do not let them slip in an inconsequential secondary concern like what happened in the US with the Telecommunications Act of 1996.

  As a young person I will have to live with the outcome of the Communications Bill for many years to come.

June 2002


 
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