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Ofcom has begun a consultation process to evaluate the ‘localness’ guidelines for local commercial radio broadcasters.

The media regulator has been reviewing the rules for local radio stations, to make it a lot more flexible to broadcast freely in response to the ongoing pace of changes in the media sector.

These guidelines are designed to help ensure that stations provide an appropriate amount of locally-made programming, and that programmes include relevant local material, such as news, traffic and weather reports.

Ofcom is looking at two key areas of the proposals including local content during the flagship breakfast show slot. Currently, most stations are required to broadcast a minimum of seven hours of locally made programmes, including breakfast. However, the new proposals, will require stations to broadcast three hours locally made programmes between 06:00 – 19:00 weekdays, if they have a local hourly news bulletin, or six hours locally made programming between 06:00 – 19:00 if they provide hourly bulletins during peak times.

Ofcom is inviting views on the proposals, which must be submitted by 3rd August 2018.