ANY plans that Scottish AM and FM commercial radio stations might have for reducing content or sharing it with others could be thwarted because of new guidelines published yesterday by broadcasting regulators, Ofcom.
Ofcom says its approach now “simplifies regulation for the commercial radio sector while protecting local content for listeners”.
The new guidance for FM local radio stations says there should be at least ten hours of locally-made programmes each weekday during daytime (including breakfast) and at least four hours at weekends.
For AM stations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, there too should be ten hours of locally-made programming during weekdays and at least four on both Saturdays and Sundays.
But, says Ofcom: “No station will be required to produce more locally-made programming than at present and, for many licensees, the new guidelines represent substantial deregulation.”
It continues: “Given the challenging economic climate facing the radio industry currently, Ofcom recognises the need for flexibility and the case for reducing overheads.
“So, Ofcom will now consider requests from stations with a population coverage under 250,000 adults for co-location and/or programme sharing with a neighbouring station. Where stations are allowed to share programming they will still be required to provide at least four hours of bespoke local programming per day.”