Open letter to the Prime Minister regarding Community Radio in the UK

I recently c0-signed this letter initiated by Steve Buckley, President of AMARC and Director of Sheffield Live fm.  See the letter in it’s original context at http://www.sheffieldlive.org/lettertogordonbrown/

 

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Open letter to the Prime Minister from 82 community radio leaders, media scholars and experts including representatives of 60 community radio stations from all nations and regions.

Rt Hon Gordon Brown
Prime Minister
10 Downing Street
London SW1A 2AA

20 July 2009

Dear Gordon

It is five years since the Community Radio Order 2004 came into force. The growth, since then of community radio has been described by Ofcom, in its Annual Report 2008/09, as “one of the great UK broadcasting success stories in the last few years”.

Over 200 community radio services have been licensed by Ofcom since 2004. Around 150 of these services are on air, creating around 400 jobs, involving over 10,000 volunteers, and serving a potential audience of more than 10 million people.

Yet this new sector is economically very precarious. Six stations have failed to launch, three have handed back their licences. Others are at high risk. This is not only a result of the recession but is a direct consequence of a failure in government policy.

Community radio broadcasters, the vast majority unpaid volunteers, are disappointed that their achievement is not matched by greater government recognition and support.

The Community Radio Order 2004 restricts community radio to a maximum 50 per cent of revenue from advertising and sponsorship and, in some locations, advertising is prohibited entirely. This settlement was to be complemented, in part, by a sizeable Community Radio Fund. The governments own impact assessment, in line with the recommendations of the Everitt Report, suggested the Fund would require 3-4 million per annum. In its first year 500,000 was provided and all 17 applicants were supported. Average grant per station was 26,119. Since then annual government spending commitments to the Fund have not increased at all. In 2008/09 the Community Radio Fund received 117 eligible applications, against which only 30 grant awards were made, with the average grant per station being just 14,978.

To put this in context, the money available annually through the Community Radio Fund to support the operating costs of 150 community radio stations is less than the annual salary of a Radio 1 breakfast DJ. From being widely applauded in 2004 as a model of good practice, the UK settlement for community radio is now looking poor in comparison with many other western European countries. France, for example, provides around Euro 25 million per annum for around 600 community radios.

The sums needed to put the community radio sector in the UK on a sustainable long term footing are modest by comparison with the governments separate proposals for investment in local news consortia, the objectives of which can partly be met by the provision of news and information services on community radio stations.

We are aware the Department of Culture Media and Sport is currently conducting a review into the Community Radio Order 2004. Alongside that review must also be a serious commitment to support the sustainability and development of community radio and its continuing delivery of social and economic benefit, by substantially increasing the government’s public spending contribution to the Community Radio Fund.

Yours

Steve Buckley and Frank Wilkes (Directors), Sangita Basudev (Chief Executive)
Sheffield Live! 93.2 FM
15 Paternoster Row, Sheffield S1 2BX

Karl Hartland (Station Manager)
209radio
Citylife House, Sturton Street, Cambridge CB1 2QF

Andrew David (Managing Editor)
Siren FM
University of Lincoln, Brayford Pool, Lincoln LN6 7TS

Duncan Moore, Chris Brookbanks, Tony Cudlip, Jayne Drake, Phil McGrath
Diversity 103.5 FM
Lancaster & District YMCA, Heart of the City, Fleet Square, Lancaster LA1 1EZ

Peter Bray (Secretary)
Radio Wey
St Peters Hospital, Guildford Road, Chertsey, Surrey KT16 0PZ

Rev. Peter Wright
Tynedale FM (Tynedale Community Radio)
Hexham Swimming Pool, Market Street, Hexham NE46 3NS

Peter Vautier
London Chinese Radio (London Huayu)
54 Camberwell Rd, London, SE5 0EN

Julian Mellor (Chair)
10Radio
West St, Wiveliscombe, Somerset TA4 2JP

Robert Ball
BRfm, Blaenau Gwent
Lakeside Studios, Unit 23 Blaenau Gwent Workshops, Pond Road, Nantyglo NP23 4BL

Derrick Francis
Gloucester FM
The Trust Centre, Conduit Street, Gloucester, Gloucestershire GL1 4XH

Gina Hine (Station Manager)
ALL FM (96.9)
19 Albert Road, Levenshulme Manchester, M19 2EQ

Jennifer Ogole (Chief Executive Officer)
BANG Radio
2nd Floor, 89-93 High Street, Harlesden, London NW10 4NX

Clive Glover
Radio Verulam 92.6 FM
PO Box 1092, St Albans, Hertfordshire AL1 9QB

Willie McCool
K-Town FM
c/o The Library Building, 34 Main Street, Kinglassie, Fife KY5 0XA

Tom Buckham (Station Manager)
Future Radio/Future Projects
168b Motum Rd, Norwich, Norfolk, NR5 8EG.

Chris Barnes (Operations Manager)
The Hillz
WATCH Ltd, 12 Victoria Street Hillfields Coventry CV1 5LZ

Steve Suttie (Station Manager)
Salford City Radio
Radio House, Chorley Road, Swinton, Manchester M27 5AW

Sean Og Mac Braoin (Chairman)
Iur FM (Newry)
Iontaobhas na Gaeilge, WIN Business Park, Canal Quay, Newry BT35 6PH

Darren Craig
Blast 106
30 Stranmillis Gardens, Belfast BT9 5AS

Sutish K Sharma
91.8 Hayes FM
Media House, 160 Uxbridge Road, Hayes, Middlesex UB4 0JQ

Al Garthwaite (Director)
South Leeds Community Radio
Hillside, Beeston Road, Leeds LS11 8ND

Sagheer Akhtar
Pendle Community Radio 103.1FM
15 Cross Street, Nelson, Lancashire BB9 7LE

Phil Gibbons (Station Manager)
Bristol Community 93.2fm
The Beacon Centre, City Academy Bristol, Russell Town Avenue, Bristol BS5 9JH

Trevor Lockwood
Felixstowe Radio
3 Great Eastern Square, Felixstowe, Suffolk, IP11 7DY

Steve Saville
Forest Community Radio (Forest FM), Verwood, Dorset
Unit 2 Enterprise Park, Blackmoor Road, Verwood, Dorset BH31 6YS

Javed Sattar
Awaz FM, Glasgow
1st Floor, 64 Darnley Street, Glasgow, Lanarkshire G41 2SE

Sheila Vanloo (Station Manager)
Radio St. Austel Bay
Tregorrick Park, St Austell, Cornwall PL26 7AG

Mark Smith (Station Manager)
Alive Radio
The Convent, Maxwell Street, Dumfries DG2 7AH

Amjid Riaz
Unity FM
c/o The Bordesley Centre, Stratford Road, Sparkhill, Birmingham B11 1AR

Gordon Sharpe (Project Manager and Director)
TMCR FM
The Winning Post, Marshland Road, Moorends, Doncaster, DN8 4PB

Chris Jones and Barry Badger (Directors)
Harborough FM (HFM Radio)
Innovation House, Valley Way, Welland Business Park, Market Harborough,
Leicestershire LE16 7PS

Ed Baxter (Programming Director)
Resonance104.4fm
144 Borough High Street, London SE1 1LB

Andy Green (Founder/Station Manager)
Bay FM Radio Ltd
8 Myrtle Road, Exeter, Devon EX4 1PZ

Blair Crawford (Executive Director)
Hope FM/Bournemouth YMCA
Delta House, 56 Westover Road, Bournemouth BH1 2BS

Nick Wright (Station Manager/Trustee)
Canalside Community Radio
Unit 2B Clarence Mill, Clarence Road, Bollington, Cheshire SK10 5JZ

Pete Muldoon (Station Manager)
Halton Community Radio 92.3fm
Bluebell Lodge, King Arthur’s Walk, Castlefields, Runcorn WA7 2NE

Amarjit Khera (Chair) and Andrew Wass (Manager/Administrator)
Desi Radio
The Panjabi Centre Ltd, 30 Sussex Road, Southall, Middlesex UB2 5EG

Noel Moore
Drive 105.3FM
1 St Joseph’s Avenue, Derry/Londonderry BT48 6TH

Paul Stellings (Station Manager)
Vixen 101
34A High Street, Market Weighton, Yorkshire YO43 3AH

Dave Brown
Peace FM
St Mary’s Parsonage, Parsonage Street, Manchester, M15 5WD

Dylan Jones
Voice FM
Unit 21, Bowen Industrial Estate, Aberbargoed, CF81 9EP

Shirley Ludford (Manager and Trainer)
Swindon 105.5
County Ground, County Road, Swindon SN1 2ED

David McGealy (Station Manager)
Oldham Community Radio 99.7fm
PO BOX 997, Oldham OL1 9EB

Baz Reilly (Station Manager)
Castledown Radio Ltd
Castledown Media Centre, Tidworth Road, Ludgershall SP11 9RR

Nicola Rule (Administration Director)
Huntingdon Community Radio
c/o 19 Croftfield Road, Godmanchester, Cambs PE29 2ED

Steve Morris (Station Manager)
WCR FM
Newhampton Centre, Newhampton Road East, Wolverhampton WV1 4AP

Mary Dowson (Manager)
BCB 106.6fm
11 Rawson Road, Bradford, West Yorkshire, BD1 3SH

Stanton La Foucade
StreetLife FM
Outset Centre, 2a Grange Rd, Walthamstow, London, E17 4EL

Tony Nixon (Managing Director)
Rossendale Radio CIC
Haslingden Community Link & Children’s Centre, Bury Road, Haslingden BB4 5PG

Jamie Stephens (Head of Radio and Company Secretary)
CSR 97.4 FM
Mandela Building, University of Kent, Canterbury Kent CT2 7NW

Chrissy Moog
Sine FM
53-57 Netherhall Road, Doncaster, DN1 2PG

Paul Golder (Chairman)
Phoenix FM
Baytree Centre, Brentwood, Essex CM14 4BX

Ayesha Special K (General Manager)
Burngreave Community Radio BCR 103.1 FM
Sorby House, Multimedia Resource Centre, 42 Spital Hill, Sheffield S4 7LG

Alan Coote
The Bay Radio
25a Elliott Road, Bournemouth, Dorset BH11 8LQ

Peter Dixon (Station Manager)
Radio Teesdale
Enterprise House, Harmire Enterprise Park, Barnard Castle, County Durham, DL12 8XT

Anne Marshall (Station Manager)
Wythenshawe FM
Suite A4, Alderman Gatley House, Hale Top, Wythenshawe, Manchester M22 5RQ

Dave Butler (Managing Director) and Jill Martin (Director)
LINK FM (London Borough of Havering)
St George’s Church and Centre, Chippenham Road, Harold Hill, Romford RM3 8HX

Bob McWilliam (Director/Station Manager) and Bruce Rodger (Director)
Celtic Music Radio
26 Richmond Street, Glasgow G1 1XH

Abdullah Shaheen Khan (Station Manager)
Muslim Community Radio 87.8fm
3rd Floor, West Wing, London Muslim Centre, 38 – 44 Whitechapel Road, London E1 1JX

Tari Sian and Sujata Sian (Directors)
NuSound Radio92 FM
PO Box 51092, London E7 8US

Ian Hickling
Transplan UK
6 Horn Street, Compton, Newbury, Berkshire RG20 6QS

Phil Korbell (Director)
Radio Regen
12 Hilton Street, Manchester, M1 1JF

Shawn Sobers
Firstborn Creatives
c/o Easton Community Centre, Bristol BS5 8SZ

Roger Drury
SOUNDWORK Community Projects
Woodend, Parkend Walk, Coalway, Coleford GL16 7JS

Michael J Fryer (Community Radio Producer/Manager)
Val Fryer (Community Radio Producer/Presenter)
Pry Rigg, Barnard Castle, Durham DL12 9LU

Deborah Wilson (Programme Leader, BA Journalism)
School of Journalism, University of Lincoln
Brayford Pool Lincoln LN6 7TS

Peter M. Lewis (Senior Lecturer in Community Media)
Department of Applied Social Sciences, London Metropolitan University
Ladbroke House, 62-66 Highbury Grove, London N5 2AD

Dr. Eryl Price-Davies (Principal Lecturer & Teaching Fellow,
Programme Leader – BA Broadcasting)
Thames Valley University
Grove House 1 The Grove, Ealing, London W5 5DX

Ieuan Franklin (PhD Research Student)
Centre for Broadcasting History Research, Bournemouth University
Fern Barrow, Talbot Campus, Poole, Dorset BH12 5BB

Salvatore Scifo (Researcher in Community Radio / Secretary, Community Media Forum Europe – CMFE)
Communication and Media Research Institute, University of Westminster
Harrow Campus, Watford Road, Harrow, HA1 3TP

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