Supplementary written evidence from RadioCentre (FLM 48)
To: Mr Philip Davies MP
It was good to meet with you once again, at this week's Culture, Media and Sport select committee evidence session. Hopefully, the evidence that Travis Baxter, Steve Fountain and I gave helped inform your understanding of the challenges facing the Commercial Radio industry, and the vision that we have for its future.
I wanted to take this opportunity to provide further detail on the specific question that you asked regarding RadioCentre's representativeness of the industry. As I stated, it is very unfortunate that UTV felt it to be in their best interests to resign from RadioCentre. Commercial Radio is a small sector in a complex and fragmented media landscape, so we firmly believe we are stronger when we speak with one voice. I am pleased that UTV (and UKRD/TLRC) have decided to remain as RadioCentre shareholders.
RadioCentre continues to represent the vast majority of Commercial Radio
stations across the
you are aware, one issue of tension for UTV is the plan for digital radio
upgrade. Clearly, all groups will have differing start points for their
approach to digital transition based on their current (analogue) business
models. However, through the process of discussion and alignment for Digital
Britain we have achieved a broad consensus, not just within the majority of
Commercial Radio operators but across all interested parties, including the
In that context, you will be interested to learn how Commercial Radio's other national AM station, Absolute Radio (a key competitor to UTV's talkSPORT), is fairing. The industry has just published audience data for Q3 2009. In this latest quarter Absolute became the first national radio station to reach the listening consumer-led criteria for the digital upgrade - over four years ahead of the ambitious plans we are proposing for the sector. Here is an extract from their press release:
"Absolute Radio is now the first radio group to hit the 50% national digital listening penetration target set out in the Digital Britain report earlier this year. Digital innovation is core to the station's business and Absolute Radio continues to lead the radio industry. The station recorded 51.5% of the station's national listening on a digital platform."
In summary, I hope you will see we represent the vast majority of Commercial Radio groups and listening hours; there is broad consensus on the right consumer-led criteria to lead to a digital upgrade plan and some groups are already there. As we look forward to a bright future for the sector, we hope for political support to facilitate and enable a smooth transition to digital for listeners.
I hope that this additional detail has been of some use. I am, of course, happy to meet with you to discuss further should you feel that would be useful.
Andrew Harrison, Chief Executive, RadioCentre
cc Travis Baxter, Managing Director, Bauer Radio
Steve Fountain, Head of Radio, KM Group