Industry News

Radiocentre welcomes Ofcom decision on new Radio 2 service

Radiocentre has welcomed the decision by Ofcom to block the early launch of a potential new Radio 2 “pop nostalgia” service on BBC Sounds. The media regulator has now said the BBC must wait until a full Public Interest Test and regulatory process has taken place.

The BBC had been planning to launch the new service online on BBC Sounds this summer and then on DAB+ at the end of 2024, subject to regulatory approval. However, we understand that Ofcom has now found that putting the new Radio 2 service online first may have a significant adverse impact on competition. As a result, Ofcom has instructed the BBC that the online service must also be considered as part of a full Public Interest Test.

Separately, Ofcom has accepted that a new Radio 1 00s service and Radio 3 chill service can go ahead on BBC Sounds.

Commenting on this decision, Radiocentre CEO Matt Payton said:

This decision represents a significant shift by Ofcom, as it is the first time that it has accepted that an online-only BBC radio service could have a material impact on competition. This stands to reason considering the rapid growth in online radio listening and the importance of online revenues.

Obviously, we would have preferred to see all these new BBC services subject to a full Public Interest Test and regulatory process. However, this is an encouraging first step. Hopefully it signals a greater focus from Ofcom on BBC accountability and market impact, which is something we will also be seeking from the new government.