Ofcom regulation relaxed until end of 2020
Broadcasting regulator Ofcom has confirmed that it will continue to allow greater flexibility on regulation until the end of the year, following representations from Radiocentre and the commercial radio sector.
In a note to broadcasters covering a range of issues regarding regulation during Covid-19, Ofcom stated that it recognised the need to have flexibility to protect staff and provide the best possible service to audiences. As a result it will not be taking enforcement action if a broadcaster is unable to meet all of its programming and production requirements, at least until the end of the calendar year.
This confirmation is welcome for radio stations that are continuing to face major operational challenges, due to staff absence and illness as well as constraints on movement and travel of staff to key locations, alongside severe financial difficulty due to the collapse in the advertising market.
Despite these challenges commercial radio has continued to deliver significant value for audiences, not only in terms of even stronger news and information output, but also in broader types of public service content through initiatives on everything from mental health to charitable work, to providing a sense of community and companionship.
The range, quality and consistency of commercial radio output has been notable despite the shifts in production techniques and reduction in formal regulatory obligations.