Major figures in the radio industry have welcomed calls for the
privatisation of BBC Radios 1 and 2 as a valuable way of building
commercial radio’s audience.
Douglas McArthur, managing director of the Radio Advertising Bureau,
said this week that privatising the two BBC brands would give the
industry ’more status if such a move could build market share’.
John Pearson, the managing director of Virgin Radio, said: ’The
privatisation of Radio 1 would turbo-charge radio as a medium in this
country as it would give it a huge amount of national audience. There
are a few things that have helped the industry in the last five years:
one is the setting up of the Radio Advertising Bureau to sell radio as a
single national brand and the other is the launch of national stations
that sell radio as a national brand.’
Calls to privatise Radios 1 and 2 are part of a wider strategy to boost
the long-term development of commercial radio and take it on to the next
stage of its growth.
The Commercial Radio Companies Association is preparing to canvass the
industry to find more ways of increasing commercial radio’s share of the
It will investigate the impact of other media on listeners’ time, the
nature and pace of government legislation, as well as the future of the
BBC. The study will be carried out over the summer with the results
being made available in the autumn.
A spokeswoman for CRCA said: ’We want to look at what the best
environment would be for commercial radio to flourish and we’re looking
at all aspects of the mix.’