A broadcasting expert from the University of Northampton has urged Welsh politicians to take steps to revive the fortunes of local radio in Wales.
Senior Journalism Lecturer, Marc Webber, who co-founded a local station in south Wales, provided evidence to a National Assembly for Wales’ inquiry into the state of the country’s radio industry earlier this year.
The inquiry was set up by the Senedd to look into the effects of changes which have seen local stations fall by the wayside, Welsh programming cut back and UK-wide stations increase their stranglehold on the airwaves.
The inquiry findings were published in a report on Monday 17 December – you can read it here.
The report recommends news about Wales should be a key condition in the awarding of local commercial radio licences, while the committee also wants to see the UK Department of Digital Culture, Media and Sport (DDCMS) to introduce regulations to ensure local commercial stations broadcasting in Wales feature Welsh specific news alongside local and UK national content.
Marc said: “The Senedd committee has recognised the issues that are holding the growth of the audio business in Wales back and are offering practical and robust recommendations to resolve the issues.
“I hope the Welsh Government, OFCOM and DDCMS take on board the views expressed by a wide range of industry players and stakeholders and allow the audio and radio industry to become an even bigger player in the lives of Welsh people, in whatever language that may be.
“The barriers to choice and growth of audio services in Wales are not insurmountable. Wales loves radio and this could be a growth industry for the country if nascent podcasting and community radio groups are supported and those current radio groups that invest in Wales are also supported to grow their business in Welsh, English or any language.”
Marc learnt the broadcasting ropes on hospital radio, before becoming a reporter on Cardiff’s Red Dragon Radio.
Born in Bridgend, he co-founded the town’s local station, Bridge FM, worked for stations in London, Manchester and Birmingham and today reports on football for BBC TV.