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RADIO SECTOR by GRANT GODDARD
www.grantgoddard.co.uk January 2007
Ofcom chief executive Ed Richards has voiced concerns that the 2003 Communications Act needs updating to help the struggling commercial radio industry. “In radio, the legislation is not in step with the speed and pace of change in the sector,” Richards told 'The Times' newspaper. “The model of local and licence regulation is under great pressure. These are tough times in radio and we need to respond and adapt.” Richards’ words acknowledge that Ofcom has implemented only relatively minor changes in the regulation of commercial radio since it inherited the staff of former regulator The Radio Authority in January 2004. The subsequent creation of a new 'director of radio' post at Ofcom, and the appointment of former BBC strategist Peter Davies in June 2005, signalled the regulator’s desire to strengthen a radio team that had been viewed internally as short of high-level thinking. When it initially advertised this new post, Ofcom had said that “the successful candidate will be able to demonstrate a real understanding of the operational and policy issues facing the radio industry, as a result of senior level experience within the industry.” However, after interviewing several radio group managers, Ofcom decided to appoint Davies, despite him having no commercial radio experience. More recently, the job of former Radio Authority staffer Martin Campbell, an unsuccessful internal applicant for Davies’ post, has been re-titled 'chief advisor, radio.' Campbell’s position at Ofcom had previously been 'manager of radio team' and 'head of radio content & standards', and he remains the only member of the radio team with board level experience in commercial radio operations. The possibility now exists that Ofcom will create a further new position reporting to Davies for someone to oversee the radical policy changes in radio regulation that Richards is seeking to implement.
[First published in 'The Radio Magazine' as 'Richards Heralds Regulation Overhaul', #769, 3 January 2007]
Grant Goddard is a media analyst / radio specialist / radio consultant with thirty years of experience in the broadcasting industry, having held senior management and consultancy roles within the commercial media sector in the United Kingdom, Europe and Asia. Details at http://www.grantgoddard.co.uk
News: Ofcom CEO Richards Says Regulatory Legislation Has Not Kept Pace With The Struggling Commercial Radio Sector page 2 ©2007 Grant Goddard