Radio Station Pledges Accountability to Local People

A community radio station found by broadcasting regulators, Ofcom, to have breached accountability commitments to local people has said it is already taking steps to rectify the situation.

On Monday, reported Ofcom recording that Bute FM – which serves Rothesay and the Isle of Bute – had failed to establish sufficient local accountability via a steering group and a community focus group outlined when it started up last year.

Ofcom had investigated complaints from local people but also acknowledge that steps were already in place to increase local involvement. In recording that a breach of commitments had taken place, no other punishment was likely.

In a statement, Bute FM said: “We accept Ofcom's decision fully, and accept that as Bute FM was not meeting these key commitments at the time of the complaints being made they had no choice but to quite rightly judge that we were indeed in breach of the terms of our licence.

“It was apparent in early August 2010, prior to any complaints being made to Ofcom by members of the public, that Bute FM were at that time failing to meet the two key commitments outlined in Ofcom's judgement. At that point, station manager, Iain Donald, contacted Ofcom to advise them of this, the reasons for these failings and the steps Bute FM had already taken and intended to take in order to address these issues.

“You will note, after reading the judgement in full, that Ofcom acknowledge that additional members of the Steering Group have since been recruited to meet Ofcom requirements, and that the Community Focus Group was in the process of being set up. 

“We can confirm that members of the Community Focus Group have now been recruited, and the first meeting of the Community Focus Group is scheduled to take place within the next month, due to members' commitments over the Christmas period. Ofcom acknowledge that we expect to be fully compliant with our key commitments by the end of this year.

“Bute FM thank Ofcom for their support and guidance in this matter, and look forward to continuing to broadcast to the community in 2011.”