BBC could air outside radio programmes

28th Mar 19 | Entertainment News

The broadcaster has said it would support UK content.


BBC Sounds could host third-party podcasts and radio programmes to “support the British creative industries”.

The broadcaster has been in talks with radio stations to see if it could help other UK providers by offering an online platform.

BBC directors are seeking to change the way the corporation distributes its material and push back against media “dominance by one or two gatekeepers”, such as the West Coast giants of Amazon and Netflix.

In the annual plan for 2019/20, the BBC has laid out ambitions to gain new audiences for iPlayer and BBC Sounds, and has announced it will trial the use of third-party material on its radio and podcast platform.

The BBC has claimed that the move will promote and protect British content.

James Purnell, BBC director of radio and education, announced: “For the last few months we have also been talking to colleagues in British radio to see if Sounds could help them.

Lords Communications Select Committee
James Purnell, director of radio and education at the BBC (PA)

“That’s why in the BBC’s annual plan we have confirmed we are in discussions with key UK stakeholders on how listeners could enjoy live linear radio and podcasts from third party providers in BBC Sounds.

“Our aim is to support the British creative industries, as well as champion new, niche, innovative UK podcasts that may struggle to achieve prominence on global platforms.

“We would like to make Sounds a platform that serves British audiences and British creativity.”

The BBC has already been made to undertake a public interest test by Ofcom when it attempted to expand the use of online box-sets for its programmes. 

For changes to Sounds, the BBC Board found the changes not to be material, and the corporation may not need to undertake a similar test for its podcast plans.

BBC chairman Sir David Clementi has previously urged Ofcom not to slow the BBC down with “red tape and regulation” when it came to modernising the service.

© Press Association 2019