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NEWS: FIRST RADIOCENTRE
INDUSTRY CAMPAIGN ATTACKS
PIRATE RADIO STATIONS AND
"THE DANGER THEY POSE TO
LOCAL COMMUNITIES"
by...
The newly created UK commercial radio trade body, RadioCentre, has
selected pirate radio stations as the focus of its firs...
News: First Radiocentre Industry Campaign Attacks Pirate Radio Stations And "The Danger They Pose To Local
Communities" pa...
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'News: First RadioCentre Industry Campaign Attacks Pirate Radio Stations And "The Danger They Pose To Local Communities"' by Grant Goddard

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News story about the first industry campaign launched by new UK commercial radio trade body RadioCentre, attacking pirate radio stations, written by Grant Goddard in July 2006 for The Radio Magazine.

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'News: First RadioCentre Industry Campaign Attacks Pirate Radio Stations And "The Danger They Pose To Local Communities"' by Grant Goddard

  1. 1. NEWS: FIRST RADIOCENTRE INDUSTRY CAMPAIGN ATTACKS PIRATE RADIO STATIONS AND "THE DANGER THEY POSE TO LOCAL COMMUNITIES" by GRANT GODDARD www.grantgoddard.co.uk July 2006
  2. 2. The newly created UK commercial radio trade body, RadioCentre, has selected pirate radio stations as the focus of its first industry campaign, urging the government to “get tough” and “face the truth about the danger they pose to local communities”. RadioCentre, formed from the recent merger of the CRCA, RAB, JICRIT and Hit40UK, said it had “resulted [sic] to using its own funds to take out private injunctions to previously convicted pirate broadcasters in an attempt to reduce re-offending.” RadioCentre chairman Paul Brown claimed that pirates “impair revenue generation and investment in content” of the radio industry “by reducing listening to legal, advertiser funded radio services.” According to the RadioCentre, pirate stations “run by criminal gangs who use the stations as a front to sell drugs” earn £5,000 per week from advertising parties, records and clubs, but have overheads of “just £350”. RadioCentre’s statement followed a forty-minute House of Commons debate on pirate radio initiated by Conservative MP for Hornchurch James Brokenshire. “Having spoken to a number of commercial radio stations,” he said, “pirate broadcasters remain a significant issue to the industry.” A Parliamentary Question he asked in January revealed that convictions for illegal broadcasting numbered 58 in 2005, 60 in 2004, 103 in 2003, 49 in 2002, 20 in 2001 and 41 in 2000. During the debate, Brokenshire revealed that “many of the broadcasters and DJs who appear on pirate radio stations actually pay for the privilege. They are often teenagers and young people who may be impressionable. The pirates often prey on that and charge them as much as £20 an hour to broadcast on the stations.” For the government, Margaret Hodge (who admitted to being a fan of pirate 'Radio Caroline' in the 1960s) explained that only 0.8% of Ofcom’s budget is spent on anti-pirate activity, mainly through 21 staff employed mostly in London and Birmingham in the recently “restructured” field operation unit. She said that Ofcom was in discussion with King’s College London about possible research “to understand the motivation of individuals who chose to manage and operate illegal broadcasting stations” and that Ofcom was also considering its own market research “to determine the popularity of pirate radio”. Stephen Pound, Labour MP for Ealing, responded that “the thought of spending public or private money analysing why these people want to fill their boots with their ill-gotten gains, sell their drugs and present themselves as figures of importance in their local communities is just about the most total and utter waste of money that I have ever heard of.” Neil Romain of London Media Company Limited was quoted in the debate as saying that pirates affect his 'Time FM' stations in East London: “They prevent us being heard by potential listeners. We have four pirates on an adjacent channel with poorly configured equipment which blocks our signal. We have News: First Radiocentre Industry Campaign Attacks Pirate Radio Stations And "The Danger They Pose To Local Communities" page 2 ©2006 Grant Goddard
  3. 3. News: First Radiocentre Industry Campaign Attacks Pirate Radio Stations And "The Danger They Pose To Local Communities" page 3 ©2006 Grant Goddard clear evidence that advertisers who would use us do not do so because they are aware of the intermittent service.” Daniel Owen, head of regulatory affairs at Chrysalis Radio, said that “interference from pirate radio is ruining listening enjoyment for 'LBC' listeners and having a potentially significant impact on LBC’s business. One pirate station has been on-air on an adjacent channel to ours for many months and continues unabated, despite being a clearly well organised, determined outfit with its own website, promotional events and even phone-in number. The confiscation of pirate transmitters is of negligible value to LBC. Last time it happened, the offending station was back within hours on a new transmitter”. Before being elected to Parliament, Brokenshire worked in mergers and acquisitions and, in 1998, he advised Lord Hanson on the sale of London’s 'Melody Radio' to EMAP plc. [First published in 'The Radio Magazine' as 'RadioCentre Attacks Pirate Radio', #743, 5 July 2006] Grant Goddard is a media analyst / radio specialist / radio consultant with thirty years of experience in the broadcasting industry, having held senior management and consultancy roles within the commercial media sector in the United Kingdom, Europe and Asia. Details at http://www.grantgoddard.co.uk

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