RIG in the Nations and Regions
As RIG is the trade association for existing companies it is perhaps unsurprising that its membership rather reflects the London-centrism of the whole UK broadcast radio sector. However we are strongly committed to the development of our sector in a way that reflects the diversity, character and spread of the whole population of the United Kingdom. We believe that it is a great strength of our sector that our membership is spread right across the four countries and not simply concentrated in the major towns and cities, as demonstrated by the map below.
Accordingly we have our own Nations & Regions sub-committee, chaired by Board member Ashley Byrne (of Made in Manchester) and including Board members Janet Graves (Cheshire), Gethin Thomas (Wales), Trevor Dann (E Anglia) and Mike Hally (Scotland). Our Treasurer, Jack Wynn-Williams, also Welsh-born (and Welsh-speaking). The South-West of England is represented by Neil Cowling.
As well as vigorously promoting the interests of out-of-London producers, Ashley Byrne is a leading figure in the annual Nations & Regions Media Conference in Salford, which also attracts a good attendance from RIG members, and RIG Board members in particular.
RIG's Nations and Regions Policy
- Each UK BBC Radio network should develop a plan setting out how they intend to reflect properly the UK’s nations, regions and communities for the benefit of licence fee payers, through increasing the use of independent radio production companies across the UK. The drafting of these plans should involve full consultation with representatives of the independent radio production sector.
- Each network’s plan should ensure clear arrangements for out of London commissioning, either through more regionally-based commissioners or if the resources are not available, network Commissioning Editors holding regular meetings in the nations and regions. The plan should also include a timeline for implementation, and measurable commitments for review.
- Each of the BBC’s nations and local radio stations should also publish plans to commission more widely and to a greater extent from independent production companies.
- The BBC should clarify and re-confirm its on-going commitment to what is currently called the ‘BBC North Creative Kicker Fund’, while extending its remit and funding to support independent radio production in the rest of the UK’s nations, regions and communities outside London.
The Radio Academy
RIG members are also well represented in national and regional branches of the Radio Academy, including John Ryan (2ZY) who chairs the North West branch.
Our training project, RIGtrain, is only available to radio people in England (as it is funded by Creative Skillset England) but events are being held outside the South-East as well as in London. See the dedicated website at www.rigtrain.co.uk