Britain's Ofcom Urged To Relax Ownership Rules
July 5, 2007 at 5:26 AM (PT)
BRITAIN's commercial radio industry has urged OFCOM to be more aggressive in relaxing ownership rules to allow for speedier consolidation in the struggling sector.
THE RADIO CENTRE, which speaks for 320 commercial stations, called on the media regulator to immediately scrap rules which currently dictate, via a complex points system, that each local area has at least two commercial competitors to the BBC.
Giving details of a 70-page submission to OFCOM in response to the regulator's Future of Radio consultation, THE RADIO CENTRE chief executive ANDREW HARRISON, said the current ownership rules were for "a bygone age. There is no reason why you can't use standard competition rules and public interest rules in radio," pointing to the growing competition of the internet and digital television for consumers' attention.
A spokesman for OFCOM said the regulator "agreed that radio ownership rules are currently too restricted," but added, "Where we differ is on how far these rules should be relaxed."