Government to overhaul rules around not-for-profit radio

The UK’s network of local community radio stations run by charities and other not for profit organisations is to be overhauled, under plans unveiled by the government.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport’s blueprint for broadcasting includes measures to around “strengthening community radio”.

This includes relaxing rules around charity run stations’ ability to raise revenue through advertising as well as reducing licensing red tape.

Its policy document on the future of broadcasting stresses that ministers “want to maintain community radio’s model of delivery through community based, not-for-profit companies and charities”.

However, ministers also want to “look again at the restrictions on advertising revenue that prevent some community radio stations from fully monetising their content”.

“We also want to ensure that there is a much wider availability of community radio services, such as through Ofcom’s digital licensing process, as part of the government’s broader levelling up agenda.”

The policy document stresses the role community radio volunteers have provided to help people including “numerous social impacts to regions, including fostering civic pride, increasing community participation and alleviating loneliness”.

The government says that it plans to launch a consultation in early 2023 over the plans and “where necessary, will bring forward changes to licensing requirements” through amending the 2004 Community Radio Order.

In launching the policy document, culture secretary Nadine Dorries said: “Culture Secretary

Nadine Dorries said: “The UK’s TV and radio industries are world-renowned for their creativity, driven by exceptional talent that is delivering groundbreaking public service programming.

“Set against the backdrop of the digital transformation of our viewing habits, today’s plans will revamp decades-old laws to help our public service broadcasters compete in the internet age and usher in a new golden age for British TV and radio.

“This will provide jobs and growth in the future along with the content we all love.”

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