Context 2 – Save Local Radio!

So who or what is going to save Local Radio….

Consider that UK radio listening is on at a high why is local radio facing such huge cuts (in hours of output and staff numbers)?

– 90.7% of the population (47.1 million adults 15+*), listened to radio during the third quarter of 2011,

– The total number of radio listening hours has also increased year on year to 1,076 million hours per week or 22.8 hours per listener

– In addition, listening hours via a digitally enabled receiver has broken through the 300 million mark for the first time to reach

304 million listening hours per week. 

Source: Rajar

BBC is going through a period of review following a series of licence fee freezes. It’s latest report on the future of the BBC can be found here; http://www.bbc.co.uk/aboutthebbc/dqf/ 

The radio headlines of this report are;

Changes to the BBC’s radio stations:

  • Protecting Radio 4 by keeping its underlying budget stable, excluding the impact of productivity savings;
  • Greater sharing of news bulletins between Radio 2 and 6 Music, Radio 1 and 1Xtra, and Radio 3 and 4;
  • Reducing the amount of original drama, live music and specially recorded concerts at lunchtime on Radio 3, and reviewing the BBC’s orchestras and singers;
  • Reinvestment in the Proms to maintain quality;
  • Focusing Radio 5 Live on core output of news and sport;
  • A new more focused Asian Network with a 34 per cent reduction in its content spend; and
  • Making savings in radio distribution costs through long term changes to Medium Wave and Long Wave.

Changes to programming and services in the nations and regions:

  • For nations radio, reducing investment in non-news programming and focusing on peak-time; and
  • For English local radio, focusing spend on peak-time programmes, but with increased sharing across regions in off-peak slots.

Current Opinion about threat to local radio;

http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2011/oct/31/radio-festival-bbc-local-cuts

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-15541175

http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2011/nov/02/bbc-outsource-local-radio

So what is the solution for local radio?

– Shut them all down? Who listens anyway…

Look at how local and commercial radio listening figures compare.

Look at the growth in internet radio stations.  From hiphop to reggae there is a station devoted to your favourite music.  You can even set up your own through websites like live365.com and software like shoutcast.

– Create a hybrid station –  some local at peak times (breakfast and drivetime), some radio5live.  Listeners can use radioplayer to hear local content they want.

– Outsource production to commercial radio – TV is made by independents compliant to BBC regulations so why not radio too?

WHAT would YOU do if you were Director General of the BBC?

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