Let it be known that We LOVE Radio 3!
As the most recent BBC Trust Service Review concluded:
"Radio 3 is greatly valued by a relatively small but loyal audience who appreciate its intelligent, thoughtful and passionate tone and content. Radio 3 contributes significantly to the BBC’s public purposes through its focus on high-quality classical music and its breadth of output covering jazz, world music, arts and culture".
However, the key words above are "relatively small...audience". Astonishingly Radio 3 is only listened to by 4 per cent of the population each week giving it a market share of just 1.2 per cent.
'No More Room' says Ofcom...
At the beginning of the latest community radio licensing round Ofcom made a general statement about frequency availability:
"Identifying suitable FM frequencies in some areas has been difficult and, as stated when we invited expressions of interest, there are many parts of the UK where we will not be able to invite applications for FM licences due to the lack of suitable frequencies".
This situation has led to frustration and resentment amongst applicant groups in many areas and, as is often the case in the radio industry, members of the public are mystified by something for which there seems to be an obvious solution.
Has the time come to free up space for scores of new stations by removing BBC Radio 3 from FM?
Here's why we think this is the way forward:
Whenever change is mooted Radio 3 listeners tend to kick and scream. However, it is difficult to justify an argument in favour of preserving the status quo. How can it be right to willfully deprive hundreds of dedicated, passionate groups up and down the nation of realising their dream of applying for - and winning - a licence to serve their community?
We offer this to the DCMS for serious consideration in the belief that the beneficiaries would massively outnumber those inconvenienced. It would unburden Ofcom and help Community and small-scale Commercial Radio.
BBC Radio 3 would continue to do all the wonderful, culturally-enriching things it does as a digital only station. Ofcom could then get on with licensing new stations, providing a voice for local communities across the UK. This 'new force' in radio can then truly fill the vacuum left by the evolution of what was 'ILR' into quasi national brands.
In short, this could herald the renaissance of independent local radio. A diverse and engaging network of stations reflecting a mix of cultures and interests up and down the land.
As always, we welcome your comments.
The Radio People