Orkney radio station warned by Ofcom to provide satisfactory figures

A COMMUNITY radio station serving the Orkney Islands has been warned by broadcasting regulators, Ofcom, to provide satisfactory figures to show how much of its revenue comes from advertising and sponsorship.

The Super Station Orkney is one of three stations – the other two being in Suffolk and Derbyshire – deemed by Ofcom to have exceeded a requirement that limits the amount of advertising and sponsorship revenue a community radio station can generate to 50 per cent.

But the regulator goes on to say: “Ofcom wrote to the licensee and, over the course of making representations, The Super Station Orkney provided a number of different, and in some cases directly contradictory, figures to explain the amount of on-air advertising income it had received over the reporting period.

“As a result, Ofcom was unable to properly determine the true situation, and concluded that the information provided was insufficiently reliable to support the licensee’s claim that it was not in breach of its licence.

“The Super Station Orkney’s representations have given Ofcom a number of concerns over the management of the station and its finances, particularly because despite repeated opportunities, the station has been unable to provide sufficient verifiable information regarding its finances to explain the figures in its annual report. As a result Ofcom has concluded, as set out above, that the licensee is in breach of licence condition 6 (5) and (6) of its licence.

“Ofcom does not consider it appropriate, on this occasion, to take further regulatory action. However, Ofcom is putting The Super Station Orkney on notice of its concerns about the licensee’s ability to ensure that it complies with this particular requirement of its licence. To this end, Ofcom will be requiring quarterly financial updates from the licensee in addition to the annual report, to check that the licensee is keeping proper records of its finances to report accurately to Ofcom.”

Dave Miller, managing director of the station, told allmediascotland.com: “The Super Station’s licence is restricted to no more than 50 per cent of our income coming from the selling of advertising. Public funding was not available for our project during this reporting period and we have been reliant on the Orkney and Caithness business community more than ever to support our broadcasts during this difficult climate.

“I am proud of my team’s commitment and the service we provide. This is testament to our professional sound and popularity in Orkney and Caithness that we can survive without public money. The Super Station have asked Ofcom on a number of occasions to change our licence to a commercial radio licence so we never encounter these petty issues again with the regulator.

“The Super Station provided the regulator with all the information they requested in a prompt manner and fully audited accounts.”