The chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on commercial radio is calling on Ofcom to conduct a review of the BBC Sounds platform after plans were unveiled for a new 24-hour BBC Radio 1 Dance service.
Yesterday, the BBC announced an extension of its Radio 1 brand with Radio 1 Dance set to launch on BBC Sounds on October 9. But APPG chair Andy Carter MP is now urging Ofcom to review the BBC Sounds platform as the BBC continues to invest in a service that "is hardly distinctive and essentially replicates services already available to listeners".
“It’s imperative for the future of the BBC that it provides high quality, distinctive content that warrants its significant licence fee income," said Carter. "I am concerned about the serious lack of transparency and scrutiny of the BBC Sounds platform. New services like Radio 1 Dance do not appear to meet the important public value tests that the BBC must observe. I hope Ofcom will conduct a thorough review of BBC Sounds as a matter of urgency.”
It is really difficult to understand what qualifies as distinctive in this offering
Siobhan Kenny, Radiocentre
Radiocentre CEO Siobhan Kenny added: “We were encouraged to hear new Director General Tim Davie emphasise that distinctiveness and true public service value should be at the heart of all BBC content. It is disappointing therefore to see this announcement of a new 24 hour dance stream. It is really difficult to understand what qualifies as distinctive in this offering.
"Commercial radio has a rich catalogue in this area, and is very popular with audiences. We know the BBC is struggling to attract younger audiences but launching in competition to existing, UK based providers, who rely on advertising revenue rather than public funding, is really not the way ahead. We agree that it is time for an urgent review.”