Representing radio during COVID-19

Key information for broadcasters

Representing broadcasters

As we highlighted early on in this national emergency, radio stations have an important role to play in a crisis, not only for accurate, high quality news and information but also as a companion for listeners of all ages when they need it most.

Our key responsibility at times like this is to ensure these crucial services can stay on air and that they get the support they need to ride out the significant economic shock that is already starting to affect businesses in all sectors.

We have welcomed some of the unprecedented measures that the Government has outlined to support business. However, we have also been working intensely to outline the immediate concerns of the commercial radio industry to Government and Ofcom, in order to highlight the particular value of the sector and urgent situation that it faces. 

Stay up to date with the latest developments with our Daily Press Summary and newsletter – sign up here.

A list of much of our latest activity is outlined below. 

Policy and Government 

Recent developments (as of 3rd July)

  • Lobbied Ofcom to ensure confirmation that regulatory ‘forbearance’ will be extended until at least the end of 2020
  • Continue to apply pressure on DCMS and Arqiva on reduced transmission costs
  • Arranged for a message of support for industry from DCMS Minister John Whittingdale for the Tuning In Livestream
  • Also, arranged for a message from APPG Chair Andy Carter for Tuning In Livestream
  • Made a submission to Lords Committee inquiry on future of journalism and crucial role of commercial radio
  • Provided all MPs with a new Westminster Update, including summary of public service role and Mental Health Minute initiative
  • Tailored emails to MPs with an interest in mental health issues to highlight recent sector support
  • Drafting new public value report on the essential role played by sector. Please email any positive examples of initiatives or output to Michael Ireland

Next steps

  • Publishing report on public value role of commercial radio and sending to key stakeholders in coming weeks
  • Brief APPG Chair Andy Carter on DCMS Parliamentary Question on 4th June
  • Continue to lobby DCMS and Ofcom on relief of licence fees for broadcasters
  • Preparing submissions to DCMS Select Committee inquiry on the impact of Covid-19 and on the future of public service broadcasting
  • Briefing MPs on secondary legislation to enable licence renewals

Other developments

  • Further updates have been announced to the Government’s Job Retention Scheme, with a gradual increase in employer contributions until the scheme ends on 31 October – further details here
  • Government has published guidance on working safely during COVID-19
  • Government announced phased reopening of the economy
  • The Bounce Back Loans scheme for small businesses is open for applications

Useful information 

  • The Government’s COVID-19 guidance and support for businesses page (here) is updated regularly.
  • The Government Business Support Hub is available here.
  • Government Bounce Back Loans for small businesses. More details here.
  • Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. HMRC will reimburse 80% of furloughed workers wage costs, up to a cap of £2,500 per month. More details here.
  • Deferring VAT and Income Tax payments. More details here.
  • Statutory Sick Pay relief package for SMEs. More details here.
  • Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme by the British Business Bank. More details here.
  • Information for businesses based in the Nations is also available. Scotland here, Wales here and Northern Ireland here.
  • Free legal advice: through our partnership with Croner Consulting, we ensure members have access to advice on business issues including employment law, HR, tax, VAT, PAYE, NIC and payroll.

Radiocentre’s COVID-19 hub 

We’ve created a hub with up-to-date news and information on issues surrounding coronavirus here.

Contact us 

Should you have any specific queries, please contact the Policy team

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