The minister of state for digital and culture, Matt Hancock, has revealed that he will submit proposals for deregulation of radio before the end of the year.
Speaking at the British Library as part of today’s Radio Festival, the Minister said: “We asked Ofcom to examine the scope last year on formats, local content and local production requirements. The disparity between analogue radio and digital is obvious, with a lighter touch regulation on digital services. There are multiple opportunities for deregulation, balanced with the continued need for provision of news and locally focused content. It’s essential listeners can get these services on these new platforms.”
Hancock also said that he was looking at introducing legislation for the regulation of small-scale DAB multiplex services, following the successful outcome of Ofcom’s Local DAB trial.
“We are looking at introducing legislation at the earliest opportunity for the licensing and regulation of these services with a light-touch approach,” he said.
Meanwhile, the minister called on the media industry to do more to help drive social mobility by ensuring that it better reflects the UK from all geographies and backgrounds.
“Radio plays its part in driving social mobility – but I want radio to do more. The Global Academy has welcomed its first students this month, the Bauer Academy focusses on skills training and Creative Access is getting interns in – both in front of and behind the mike.
“But I challenge all media to make improvements in this area. Media should reflect the wider social make-up of the UK from all geographies and backgrounds.”
Earlier this month, Hancock gave his first address to the music industry at the BPI AGM, where he noted the achievements of the Music Export Growth Scheme, jointly run by the BPI and government, and pointed to the GREAT campaign to promote British culture and the reform of entertainment licensing laws as proof of that commitment. He also pledged support for Creative Content UK’s “Get It Right From A Genuine Site” anti-piracy campaign and flagged up the new Digital Economy Bill as an opportunity for the music business to enhance their legal protection from digital piracy. But there was little sign of any new help for the music biz.
For more on Hancock's maiden music industry speech, click here.