Ofcom Reports Drop in BBC Radio Scotland Spend

An annual survey of the broadcast and telecommunications industry has found what it believes to be a 16 per cent drop in spending by BBC Radio Scotland during this last financial year, 2008/09, compared to the year before.

According to broadcasting regulators, Ofcom, the BBC most recently spent £38 million on radio, nationally and locally in Scotland – down £7.4 million on the previous financial year.

Meanwhile, elsewhere, £31.6 million was spent in Wales, £18.4 million in Northern Ireland and £133 million on local radio in England in 2008/09. In other words: £7.76 per person in Scotland, £11.08 per person in Wales, £11.16 in Northern Ireland (£11.16) and £2.72 on local radio in England.

But the BBC disputes the figures. It believes the real drop was around five per cent because of the way it reports its accounts, with some previous expenditure items – such as sports rights – moved from its radio budget to its central one.

Meanwhile, revenue generated by commercial radio stations in Scotland reached around £42 million last year – down by five per cent (from £44 million) on the previous year. In other words: £8.48 per head, down by 45p on the previous year.

Over half (53 per cent) of the radio stations in Scotland are independently owned. This is a higher
ratio than the other UK nations, with 20 of the 38 stations in Scotland being independent.

Of the commercial radio groups, Bauer Radio (formerly Emap / Scottish Radio Holdings) holds
the most licences, with 14 (39 per cent). By comparison, in Northern Ireland, one group, Northern
Media, owns 60 per cent of all licences; while, in Wales, the two main radio groups own 65 per cent of licences. In England, Bauer and Global Radio together own 37 per cent of local commercial  stations.

This is the fourth annual review by Ofcom into Scotland’s television, radio and telecommunications market.

More tomorrow.

Read the Scottish section of the full report here. And the full report here.

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