Bidding injustice

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The Independent Online
The Radio Authority's chairman, Sir Peter Gibbings, has voiced his concern about the "inequity" facing the national commercial radio stations Classic FM, Virgin and Talk Radio. They alone face a re-run of the discredited highest-bid blind auction when their eight-year franchises expire (Classic FM is three in September).

The cross-media ownership reform published last week by the Heritage Department did not address the issue of whether the authority should be given the right to renegotiate cash bids with successful incumbents: a discretion already given to the Independent Television Commission. Unless the system is changed there is no guarantee that a channel with a successful format can survive (almost 5 million people tune in weekly to Classic), since the Radio Authority has no power to insist on programme standards. Surely this needs further attention ...