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. 

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

Policy and Government 

Recent developments (as of 7th May 2021)

  • Ofcom published a consultation on the market position of BBC Sounds, following its initial consultation at the end of 2020
  • Provided detailed input to the DCMS Digital Radio & Audio Review based on member feedback
  • Met with Government officials to clarify that radio will be out of scope of planned restrictions on high, fat, salt and sugar (HFSS) advertising
  • Following representation from Radiocentre and AudioUK, the Government has confirmed a grant of £1m for Year 3 of the Audio Content Fund. It opens for bids from 17th May
  • Engaging with RAJAR for an update about plans for recommencing fieldwork
  • Highlighted the extension of the DEC Coronavirus Appeal to include India
  • Began discussions around a joint industry project on starting out in the sector with ScreenSkills
  • Drafted new briefings for parliamentarians on key issues facing the sector. For more information contact Michael Ireland
  • Continued discussions with HMRC on new radio presenter guidelines

Next steps

  • Meeting with Ofcom to discuss serious concerns about its approach to regulation of the BBC
  • Meeting with John Whittingdale MP, Minister for Media & Data to discuss future of BBC regulation
  • Continue to input into Digital Radio & Audio Review as the report drafting is finalised
  • The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Commercial Radio is meeting in June with John Whittingdale MP, Minister for Media & Data and MPs
  • Continue to engage with parliamentarians on key issues facing sector

Useful information 

  • On 22nd February the Prime Minister announced the Government’s plans for easing lockdown restrictions
  • On 3rd March the Chancellor announced in the Budget that the Furlough scheme would be extended until the end of September 2021
  • More information is available (here) for businesses on one-off grants of up to £9000. The grants are made by local authorities and you are encouraged to apply directly even if doubt about your eligibility in order for them to assess your claim. Find your local authority here
  • You can find out more about coronavirus financial support for businesses here. Check (here) if you’re eligible for the coronavirus Local Restrictions Support Grant (for open businesses).
  • 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. The extended scheme (until March 2021) will see HMRC reimburse 80% of furloughed workers wage costs, up to a cap of £2,500 per month. More details here.
  • Increased support for self-employed. More details here.
  • Support for businesses during local lockdowns. More details here.
  • Statutory Sick Pay relief package for SMEs. More details here.
  • Improved access to business support grants from local authorities.  Businesses can apply directly to their local authorities, even if they are not legally required to close. 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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