Supplementary memorandum submitted by
You requested a short note setting out how the
BBC currently provides for national and regional variations of
its public service channels on digital satellite. I am attaching
a note which specifies the current arrangements and also sets
out our intentions for future carriage which are currently under
consideration by the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and
We would like also to comment on some of the
points made by the commercial radio teams during their oral evidence
session with the Committee on 7 February. During that session
Emap, in particular Trevor Dann alleged that the BBC's new services
would be copies of commercial radio with particular reference
to Network "Y". Can I point out that Network "Y"
will have a bespoke news service, that it will carry documentaries
and social action programming and that it will have a strong emphasis
on live performance as well as a playlist some three times as
great as any commercial radio station. In addition, Network "Y"
will have a clear responsibility to broadcast new performances.
In these ways it is neither fair nor accurate for Emap to allege
that the proposed BBC's digital radio services would be copies
of commercial provision. They simply are not.
Similarly, our competitors sought to portray
our proposed Network "X" as being just a dance music
service. As with Network "Y", Network "X"
will have a dedicated news service and we will be recruiting new
journalists for this network. Network "X" would champion
new music from black and urban talent and will therefore be a
platform for new talent that has not yet been heard in the UK.
It is important to us that Members of the Committee should appreciate
that in developing our new digital radio services, we have not
sought to copy existing commercial provision but have carefully
researched and designed services which will have a distinctive
public service ethos in their programming and in their schedules
which distinguishes them from existing provision in the commercial
marketplace and justifies licence fee investment.
In addition, the Radio Authority and GWR alleged
that the BBC would not promote digital radio until such costs
had fallen below £150. This is not true. We are already promoting
digital radio and have formed a partnership with commercial radio
to achieve this objective as well as forming the Digital Radio
Development Bureau. We have led the field in the development of
digital radio services and we are committed to it.
I do hope that the Committee can note these