It’s like people are suddenly remembering that they actually like and value local commercial radio. Even respect it. That’s one good thing that’s come out of all this furore about Ofcom and their decision to relax the rules around local content. This evening in the Scottish Parliament, MSPs voiced their own concern about what’s happening and what might happen in the future. Sure, there was a healthy dollop of nostalgia too as the politicians recalled the early days of Radio Clyde, Radio Tay or the famous names who had started their careers in stations such as Northsound. There was also praise for the current crop of radio journalists who champion local campaigns and charities and, yes, we heard the counter argument that listeners will simply vote with their fingers if they don’t like all these London voices replacing local presenters on air.
But what, asked Cabinet Secretary Fiona Hyslop, will they turn to? And that’s the nub of it really because you can only cite a true ‘market forces’ argument if competition is allowed to flourish. That cant happen unless Ofcom allow others affordable access to the airwaves.
I think Rona MacKay hit most of the salient points in her speech…with a little dig at faceless bureaucrats thrown in for good measure.