Ofcom has launched a consultation as it considers whether the way the choice of music played by local analogue commercial radio stations is still appropriate.
It said it had three options it was considering and seeking opinions on from the industry.
1. No change. This would leave current Formats unchanged.
2. Simplification of the Formats of stations playing mainstream popular music. We consider certain non-specialist music genre descriptions (e.g. Contemporary۪ or Pop۪ music) could be simplified to mainstream popular music. Formats specifying specialist music genres (e.g. Rock, Dance) would remain.
3. High level Formats. Ofcom could allow licensees to request to change the music element of their Format to be either:
a) Genre led: specifying a specialist genre of music; Or
b) Audience led: specifying music for a target audience profile (e.g. by age group or ethnicity).
Ofcom said it had statutory duty to do all it can to secure a range and diversity of local radio services. Ofcom does this in part by including in each station۪s broadcast licence a description of the service it must provide, which is based on the proposals the licensee made when it applied for the licence. This description is known as a Format۪, and in most cases one of the key elements is the type of music that the station must play.
The consultation can be found on the Ofcom website. The deadline has been set for 2nd April 2015.