The Commercial Radio Companies Association is calling on the Government, ahead of the BBC’s licence fee settlement later this year, to put a cap on the BBC’s radio expenditure in order to protect commercial radio stations.
The CRCA commissioned a study by consultancy Indepen, which claimed the BBC’s spending capacity on radio threatened many small radio stations and the overall quality of the sector.
The report states: "A lack of assurance of the limits to funding of BBC radio… substantially increases commercial risk for commercial radio, particularly those contemplating investment in new and innovative services. The most effective means of managing this from a public policy perspective would be to ring-fence funding available to BBC radio."
Recent Rajar figures have shown an increasing gain made in overall listening by the BBC, which now claims 55 per cent of all listening, with commercial radio at 45 per cent.
The BBC responded to the report: "Many of the arguments put forward in this paper have been debated at length during the Charter review process.
Listeners tune in to the BBC’s services because they provide services that the market alone would not provide."