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Amnesty divides radio industry

by RadioToday UK
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The much-talked about Radio Amnesty, launched this week by the BBC and some commercial radio groups, has been called "the closest things to a con" by the CEO of UKRD.

“I am not about to have UKRD’s name tarnished by this shabby little campaign. Misleading people is not appropriate and we will have no part in it," says William Rogers.

The group has refused to broadcast the radio scrappage advertising campaign on any of its fifteen radio stations, including Spire FM, Minster FM and County Sound, describing it as “morally and ethically suspect.”

“We are not prepared to encourage any of our listeners to go and replace their perfectly satisfactory analogue radio set with a DAB one which may not be able to pick up a DAB signal at all and if it can, it may be a signal which may be wholly inadequate. Even worse, the very station that the listener may have heard the advertisement on may not be on DAB or even have a DAB future,” said Rogers, UKRD’s Chief Executive Officer.

“This is absolutely appalling and one has to question both the moral and ethical basis for running such a campaign.”

He condemned the campaign as “the closest thing to a con” that the radio sector has got itself involved in and launched a broadside against the BBC for allowing itself to promote the purchase of radio sets that may be totally useless for many of the people buying them.

“It is quite extra-ordinary that both the BBC and some parts of the commercial sector should broadcast a proposition which both know to be fundamentally flawed in many parts of the country. At a time when people are concerned about making best use of every penny they have, for those same people to be urged to scrap their FM/AM sets in favour of a DAB set that might not even work in their area is disgraceful.

"Many parts of the country have no signal, others where a signal does exist find it to be unsatisfactory and far less effective than FM, and many stations presently listened to by the public won’t even be available on DAB, as the Government has made a complete lash-up of the migration path chosen.”

Rogers also confirmed that he is considering reporting the campaign to the Advertising Standards Authority and the BBC Trust, claiming that it is “blatantly misleading and an encouragement to spend money on something that is potentially a waste of a purchase in many parts of the country.

“We will not be a party to this suspect campaign and I am delighted to hear that many other stations appear to be taking the same view,” he said.

UKRD owns a number of radio stations in the South and North of England, including Pirate FM – the only station in the group to broadcast on DAB. The Radio Amnesty runs until 26th June 2010 and encourages listeners to trade their current FM radio to gain a discount off a new DAB set.

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