| 27 Oct 2021
BBC-setup working group to look into relationship with independent producers out of London, to meet in 2016

MUMBAI: The BBC has announced that it is setting up a working group to look at ways in which BBC Radio can work better with independent producers out of London. The working party is due to meet for the first time early in the New Year.

This revelation was made at the annual Nations & Regions Media Conference taking place at the Lowry in Salford. Currently, BBC Radio has 19 per cent of its eligible radio hours provided by independent production companies. This will now jump up to 60 per cent of hours to competition between in-house producers and independents, under proposals for the new charter period.

In spite, the 10 per cent quota set by the BBC Trust, the BBC's voluntary minimum target for commissioning from independent radio producers has been held at between 6 per cent and 7 per cent of total output, according to a RIG (Radio Independents Group) response to the BBC Trust Radio Network Supply Review (dated May 2010). Additional, 10 per cent of hours are competed for between in-house and independents (Window of Creative Competition). However, with the new proposal that was revealed in June this year the figures will triple and this jump is expected to happen within six years. It means the hours will increase from the current 9,000 hours to around 27,000 hours at the end of the six-year period.

BBC Radio director Helen Boaden said, “I am really passionate about supporting independent producers and it is clear there is a strong desire on their part to work with the BBC. This new working group will help create more opportunities for this to happen in the future.”

She further added, “It is important that we continue to produce the best radio content we can, reflecting the nations, regions and communities of the UK, and in order to do this we should try to open up as much of the schedule as possible to competition from independents, as well as developing our already successful in-house production teams.”

Chair of the Radio Independents Groups’ Nations and Regions Committee Ashley Byrne said, “I am very pleased that the BBC is looking to take this forward with RIG, to work towards a nations and regions commissioning structure that really delivers for licence fee payers around the UK.”
Currently, Radio 4’s Kitchen Cabinet, 6 Music’s Radcliffe & Maconie Show from Salford, and Radio 3’s daily Essential Classics, have independent producers behind them.

This proposal which will be subject to approval from the BBC Executive and BBC Trust, and on funding from existing BBC budgets, will offer indies more opportunities to make programmes across the BBC network radio portfolio - Radios 1, 1Xtra, 2, 3, 4, 4 Extra, 5 live, 6 Music and the Asian Network.