Community Radio stations found in breach for getting too much money.
By Ian Beaumont
Posted 10 December 2015, 3.36pm est
Jeepers, how bad does that sound? "Three stations in breach for earning too much". That sounds as crazy as saying you bought too much cake.
Seriously though, these stations have obviously done well, and are now being penalised for it. Why? Who are they trying protect around the Ben Nevis area of Scotland, or in Manchester, or in Bishop Auckland?
If I've worked this out correctly, it's Bauer & Global only in these areas, maybe Orion as well. There's no small commercial operations in these areas right now. No need to be penalising them even though they are over the 50% level. Raising funds right now is bloody difficult, I've been on the front line of this this year, and know it first hand. If anybody even thinks that you can make as much money from fundraising as you can from commercial revenue, even at higher levels of commercial income, then I suggest you try it.
Ofcom just applied the rule without actually understanding what it truly meant. They just penalised success. Nice work!
Community Radio is the voluntary sector of radio. If some volunteers have worked hard to make revenue for their community radio, then they should be congratulated not penalised. This is a ridiculous rule and should be reviewed.
ROOLS ARE ROOLS regardless of where you are (it seems), even though Nevis Radio has absolutely no other commercial radio competition on analogue or DAB ..... not even Classic FM. Neither Absolute Radio or Talksport make it into this area, even though Absolute Radio does get received in some parts of Skye due to their medium wave transmitters in Northern Ireland sending signals across the sea - but that is within the service area of Cuillin FM (which is licenced as an ILR).
So Nevis Radio has the commercial radio monopoly, so why should it be a problem for them to earn more than 50% of their revenue from advertising?
What this probably proves is that those strange people DAHN SARF in LUHNDUN (alright guv'ner?) have not got a clue about Scotland, its geography, culture and so on. Consequently the set of rules that they have created, that may make perfect sense and are quite workable in Little England, are not very well suited for God's People in Scotland. More devolved powers are needed (or even Independence), even for radio.
It should be said, of course, that Nevis Radio voluntarily handed back its commercial radio licence and converted to a community radio licence a couple of years ago. Had it still been operating on its commercial radio licence the advertising revenue wouldn't have been an issue.
I suspect that this is a case where it took longer for the new revenue rules to come in than Nevis Radio (or anyone!) anticipated, so they have ended up falling foul of the rules for this year only. Don't forget that this is the final year in which these revenue reports are being analysed under the late and unlamented "50/50" rule.
I do, however, agree with Art - it is silly to have regulations in place to 'protect commercial radio' in an area where there is no commercial radio. Meanwhile, I believe there is a plan to extend the coverage of Cuillin FM to the Sleat peninsula on Skye which is inside Nevis Radio's MCA - meaning two of these small Scottish stations will have overlapping coverage for the first time!
The rules were designed when most commercial radio stations were based in their own TSA's and not networked, where as it's more likely for the local station in the CR's TSA to only have local advertising.
However, I don't think it's no longer fair for example, AHBS to not be allowed any ad or sponsorship revenue to protect KMFM's revenue in Ashford when the output is countywide and more likely for ads to be sold across Kent, which would leave AHBS to sell airtime to a small business in the town.
I completely agree. I think the rules need to be looked at where licenses have merged programming and/or moved out of the TSA.
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