Is your Radio Station LEGAL?

You are granted permission to broadcast under the terms of your broadcast licence and you need to make sure you comply with the terms of that licence. The stakes are high – get it wrong and you risk a criminal conviction! Whilst it is unlikely that things will get that far, Ofcom can and do impose sanctions on stations that get it wrong. Ofcom sanctions can vary from fines to revocation of your licence to broadcast. Music royalty bodies also actively patrol stations in the interests of their members.

Apart from the usual issues for any business (employment law, H&S etc), the specific areas that you need to ensure your station complies with are:

  • Music Royalties – you need to hold a licence covering your FM broadcasts AND any webcasts or listen again features on your website. In UK the applicable bodies are PRSPPL and MCPS
  • The 50% Funding rule – CR stations can only have a maximum of 50% of their funding from one source (eg: advertising). Some stations cannot have any revenue from advertising. Ofcom rigidly enforce this rule
  • Broadcasting code - all material broadcast needs to be compliant with this code that covers aspects such as impartiality, religion, politics etc. Also you need to heed the rules of the Advertising Standards Agency.
  • Key Commitments – forget about the Key Commitments you made in your licence application at your peril! Ofcom expect you to produce an annual report to demonstrate how you are meeting your commitments. If circumstances have changed and you are struggling to meet those commitments, then for heavens sake talk to Ofcom and change them - don’t bury your head in the sand!
  • Technical Compliance – your transmission system needs to be installed and operated in compliance with the Ofcom Site Engineering Code for Analogue Radio Broadcast Transmission Systems. The key aspects are transmission frequency, power level and peak deviation. This is a specialist task that is beyond your average DIY volunteer. Associated Broadcast Consultants are experienced in this vital area and can perform a healthcheck of your system making adjustments as appropriate - Contact us for details

Associated Broadcast Consultants - Independent help and advice for Radio broadcasters