Local public service radio proposal claims modest price tag

A NEW, nationwide, city and public service radio sector could be created in Scotland for a modest £6.5million a year, according to an op ed in today’s Scotsman newspaper.

In praise of radio, including the network of Scots community radio stations, Ken Garner, a lecturer in journalism at Glasgow Caledonian University, writes: “What matters to Scotland’s broadcasting elite is television”, adding how radio made precious little appearance in the recommendations of the Scottish Broadcasting Commission, set up five years ago.

He also writes: “… there is nothing to stop Holyrood deciding right now to offer to bankroll Scotland’s entire burgeoning community radio sector, for probably no more than half a million pounds a year. That’s less than 176th of the cost of the proposed [Scottish Digital Network TV, Scots digital TV channel, by the Scottish Broadcasting Commission].”

And, elsehere, he says: “What we’re missing are public service, mostly news-talk format, city stations, in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee, Aberdeen and Inverness.

“Some commercial stations have bravely tried it, failed to make it pay and gone bust. You need public money to make this one fly. Given Scottish commercial radio’s audience success even in today’s tough times, it would be unfair, destructive and just plain daft to threaten to fine-slice the radio advertising market still further.”