Saturday, March 14, 2009

Ofcom remembers it's a regulator; Global not happy

GWR Bristol, part of the clumsy Global Radio behemoth, has been warned by Ofcom for not actually playing the music it promised to. Ofcom sampled the station and wasn't happy:

This Spot Sampling report arose after Ofcom received complaints that GWR FM is not delivering the music proposition set out in its Format, which is to play ‘contemporary and chart’ music.

After listening to three days of GWR FM’s music output, we found that the overall mix of music being aired by the station was too old for it to be consistent with the Format’s Character of Service.

GWR FM is not operating within its Format and a Yellow Card warning has been issued.

Ofcom was quite fair to GWR - it didn't count The Time Tunnel in its calculations but still found that more than half the music played on the station is over two years old. And it didn't do anything more than issue a warning: play what you were promising to when you were given a licence allowing you access to the finite FM spectrum.

Matter closed?

Oh, no: Global are having a hissy fit and stamping their pretty, London-based feet:
“GWR Bristol was asked to supply music logs to Ofcom by today, Friday 13 March. The requested information was supplied by yesterday, 12 March. Ofcom’s decision was made without reference to either the station, or by talking to its owners, Global Radio.

“This is an extraordinary way for a regulator to behave by issuing a judgement before a deadline has passed. We do not accept this finding, and are considering our position.”

But Ofcom didn't issue a judgement, they issued a warning that if things don't improve, they might issue a judgement. And they didn't really need to wait for the logs - perhaps Global don't realise that their programmes are on the radio and you can find out what they're doing by listening to them.

There is a wider background to this, though, as Global rebrand as many of their stations Heart as they can get away with. Ofcom isn't bothered about the change of name, but is keeping a close eye on Global trying to change Top 40 stations into oldies stations by stealth. Something which it has form for, as Ofcom points out:
This warning concerns GWR Bristol, but we received similar complaints about a number of Global stations and we advise the licensee to take this finding into account for programming across all its CHR stations. Ofcom has had conversations with the licensee about content on its CHR stations in the past.

Of course, if Global really wants to change its format, it can simply hand back the licenses and reapply.

[Story discovered on Mr Trick's Twitter]

1 comment:

James said...

Crikey. If Ofcom can issue warnings to ‘contemporary and chart’ stations playing too much old stuff, Heart might need a rethink. When my local station became Heart, it seemed that overnight the playlist transformed from recent chart music to a hideous hybrid of 'Best Mum Ever' compilations and 'Bridget Jones' soundtracks. Whenever I'm flicking past, they're playing the Pointer Sisters/Eric Carmen/Jennifer Rush. Not *quite* Top 40 material.

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