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26/08/2010

BBC Trust Urges Radio 'Independence'

The BBC Trust has announced it is asking the corporation to increase competition in the radio programme market by opening up more of the available programming hours to independent producers.
This move follows a Trust review of the independent supply of radio programming. At present, 10% of eligible radio programming by broadcast hours is guaranteed as a quota for the independent sector.
The Executive has exceeded this quota by more than two per cent for all but one of the last 10 years.
The Trust believes that introducing a further 10 per cent Window of Creative Competition (WoCC) will promote competition for the best ideas in radio.
The WoCC denotes a section of BBC programming which is open to either in-house or independent producers to bid for. A similar arrangement is already used in television commissioning.
This move effectively doubles the amount of radio programming commissions guaranteed to be open to the independent sector from ten per cent to 20 per cent.
The recommendation comes as part of a package of measures from the Trust designed to improve the radio commissioning process to make sure that it delivers the best programmes for licence fee payers.
The Trust has also asked the BBC Executive to look at ways to improve its relationship with the independent sector, and to improve how it measures the range and diversity of the programmes it commissions from it.
David Liddiment, Chair of the Trust's Audiences and Performance Committee said: "Not only are the BBC's radio services both popular and distinctive, they also make a vital contribution to the public purposes.
"The BBC has a deserved reputation for fostering radio production talent through its world-class in-house training and facilities. The independent sector has benefited from this and now plays a key role in the creativity and diversity of overall radio output.
"However, this review has shown that the BBC's approach to commissioning from the sector does not always work as well as it should.
"Putting more of the programmes up for grabs will help promote competition for the best ideas, wherever they come from. That will be good for licence fee payers, whose interests the Trust is here to serve.
"We are particularly keen to see a much more open and fair approach to commissioning from the independent sector," he said.
(BMcC/KMcA)
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