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 15th May)

  • Continued to support DCMS attempts to secure reduced transmission costs
  • Hosted a meeting for Asian stations with DCMS Minister John Whittingdale on Thursday 7th May
  • Secured further meeting with John Whittingdale on behalf of small stations and groups
  • Discussed continued ‘regulatory forbearance’ with Ofcom (beyond current date of 20th June)
  • Met with Shadow DCMS Minister Chris Matheson MP to highlight key concerns and seek support
  • Arranged for Lib Dem DCMS Spokesperson to table parliamentary questions on transmission
  • Updated DCMS on levels of Government ad spend on radio and argued for greater investment
  • Welcomed DCMS proposals to offer longer analogue licence renewals of ten years
  • Audio Content Fund concluded COVID-19 round applications supporting £400k of content since the start of the pandemic

Next steps

  • Provide all MPs with another Westminster Update on key issues and initiatives
  • Seek formal confirmation from Ofcom on continued regulatory relaxation (‘forbearance’)
  • Seeking clarification from RAJAR on arrangements to support smaller stations
  • Developing plans for an advertising tax credit with the Advertising Association
  • Preparing submission to DCMS Select Committee inquiry
  • Preparing submission to Lords Committee inquiry of future of journalism
  • Gathering data on key public service output of commercial radio during COVID-19 (specific information requests to follow)

Other developments

  • The Government’s Job Retention Scheme will be extended to October (with changes in funding and flexibility from the start of August)
  • 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 now 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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