Radio news

DRM Consortium sends letter to UK House of
Lords
May 27th, 2010 – 9:57 UTC
by Andy Sennitt.
The DRM Consortium has written to the
Communications Committee of the UK’s House of Lords, chaired by Lord
Fowler who expressed a fear that the digital switchover in the UK would
render millions of FM radios useless by introducing a solution that does not fit
everyone. The Consortium raised the possibility of other,
complimentary digital solutions that might satisfy FM listeners and
broadcasters while supporting the digital switchover. Not advocating the status
quo but a sensible, flexible hybrid DAB/DRM solution, the DRM
Consortium asked Lord Fowler and his committee following and as
mentioned in the letter to the Communications Committee:
“Actions requested of the Communications Committee”

The DRM Consortium therefore asks you [Lord Fowler] to put this
information before the Communications Committee, with a view to
reviewing the current plans to phase out analogue sound broadcasting in
the AM and FM broadcasting bands. In particular, the DRM Consortium
would encourage your Committee to examine whether the current plans to
impose a “one size fits all” approach for the digital switchover is in
the public interest. So far, there has only been very cursory
consideration of alternative strategies for the digital sound
broadcasting switchover in Britain.
Fortunately, your Committee has had the foresight to raise concerns
about the pace and direction of the present plan. Therefore, the DRM
Consortium would further request the Communications Committee to give
due regard to the more flexible, comprehensive and complementary
solutions for digital sound broadcasting in Britain that could be
achieved by considering the potential of DRM technology. The DRM
standard (DRM30 and DRM+) offers enormous flexibility and diversity in
how sound broadcasting can be delivered to the public in the digital
era.”

 Criticism of 5 Live – Radio Today
UTV Media has published findings which say 5 Live is failing to comply with licence requirements.

The 5 Live remit is to provide news in 75 percent of its output, but the talkSPORT owners say the station is providing as little as 45 percent, using the 6 Music controversy to mask BBC failings.

The research has been conducted in-house at UTV Media with the full findings passed on as part of their submission to the BBC’s Strategy Review consultation. The broadcaster is also going to talk to the BBC Executive about their concerns.

UTV Media’s analysis found that:

– As little as 45% of 5 Live’s annual output consists of news, defined by UTV Media as ‘information or analysis related to recent or ongoing current affairs events or issues’

– The proportion of news rises to 48% if travel and weather bulletins are included, and to just 56% if sports news and live sports updates are also included

– 13% of output consists of entertainment programming, such as interviews with television personalities, trivia, and listeners’ humorous anecdotes

– 37% of output consists of sport programming, but the majority of this is made up of sporting analysis, discussion, phone-ins and comedy

– Just 7% of total output consists of ‘live sports coverage’

– The proportion of news broadcast in weekday daytime is particularly low during the programmes presented by Gabby Logan and Richard Bacon

– 5 Live is neglecting its service licence commitments to provide coverage of minority and secondary sports

Scott Taunton, Managing Director UTV Media (GB), said: “The controversy over 6Music has formed an elegant smokescreen to mask failings elsewhere in BBC Radio. 5 Live is spending £72 million of our money every year on a service that simply doesn’t do what it is supposed to. This is at a time when other private and public sector organisations are under pressure to justify every pound they spend.

“The BBC should be free to innovate, but our findings show that 5 Live is not complying with its most fundamental service licence condition – for 75% of its programming to consist of news. 5 Live is becoming a commercial-style talk radio station – but with a hugely inflated BBC-style budget.

“The BBC needs to explain itself and the BBC Trust needs to come up with an urgent plan to get 5 Live back on track.”

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