'Compel Radio 1 to play more UK music'

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The Independent Online

Big players in the record industry are calling on the Government to force Radio 1 to play more British pop after the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) revealed the amount of airtime it devotes to UK singles is at an all-time low.

Feargal Sharkey, the former lead singer of the Undertones and a member of the board of the Radio Authority, and Sean O'Brien, chairman of Telstar, the label behind Craig David, accused the station of ignoring homegrown Indie bands such as Goldfrapp and The Hives by failing to play their songs at peak times.

The BPI had recently revealed to them that only one in three songs played on Radio 1 this year have been by UK artists - compared to two out of three in 1998.

Sharkey and Mr O'Brien are urging ministers to introduce "quotas" to force the station to devote at least 50 per cent of its airplay to British music. And they specified that the lists should be used to promote "quality" bands such as Coldplay and Travis rather than "manufactured" acts.

Mr O'Brien voiced his frustration in a letter to its controller, Andy Parfitt. In it, he says that its public service remit obliges it to "champion, and probably to discriminate in favour of, British talent".

Sharkey, speaking as a singer, said: "It's not enough ... for someone to walk into Radio 1 with a fantastic record and get airplay. You have to be able to say you are supporting U2 on their next tour and your video has been on MTV."

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