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Independent Local Radio in the West Midlands. BRMB Radio and Beacon Radio in the 1970s

Autor: Derek Allen
Revista: Media History Nº 19 (4)
Link: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13688804.2013.846573#

This essay presents the comparative analysis of two Independent Local Radio (ILR) stations in the West Midlands during the 1970s. ILR was a public, community-based, radio service funded by the sale of spot advertising, and the success or the failure of an ILR station depended on the outlook and experience of its management team. BRMB represented the appropriate balance of experience and expertise. It was headed by a managing director with a commercial background and a programme controller experienced in regulated public service broadcasting.

Beacon was a station with a management from a commercial broadcasting background, and their approach brought the station into conflict with the Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA), ILR's regulator. The profit motive took precedence over the fulfilment of its public service obligations, and it was this which caused the IBA to remove the Beacon licence.

This essay will, therefore, address two principal questions: why were the experiences of the two West Midlands ILR stations in the 1970s so different and why were they treated so differently by the regulator?