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