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Radio report puts pressure on Government to continue Audio Content Fund


An independent report evaluating the performance of the Audio Content Fund has been welcomed by radio bodies.

The fund was set up in 2019 to provide £1m grant funding every year for 3 years, to support public service radio projects. It received an additional £700k during the pandemic.

However,  it was funded by money left over from the TV Licence Fee and following last year’s fee negotiations, it was revealed that no more money would be available.

Today AudioUK and Radiocentre said an independent report, commissioned by the Department for Culture, Media & Sport and produced by independent consultants Wavehill, showed how important it was to continue.

“This official evaluation provides compelling evidence that the Audio Content Fund was successful in achieving the objectives it was set by Government,” said Matt Payton, Radiocentre’s CEO and Director of the ACF.

“Contestable funding in audio has delivered great content for audiences in an effective and efficient way, on a range of different radio stations across the country. Given this track record, the lack of any clear commitment to future funding feels like a missed opportunity”.

The report stated that the fund had been successful and that a third of the funded projects had a life beyond their original broadcast. It also found that the cash had created 9,842 freelancer days, and up to 40 full-time jobs and 240 part-time jobs.

The fund also created new partnerships between independent production companies and the commercial radio sector, leading in some cases to further commissions.

“The Audio Content Fund ‘s wide range of projects has introduced new genres onto some stations for the first time, the first children’s soap opera on radio, the first drama, documentary and comedy on some stations and overall has brought unique public service often to many millions of listeners,” added Tim Wilson, AudioUK’s Director of the ACF.

“For a relatively small investment it has produced a terrific way of getting important content to the public on their stations of choice. The opportunity still remains for the Government to continue to support this project and we hope it will consider doing so”.

Overall the fund commissioned 165 projects from 91 different suppliers broadcast on 350 stations across the UK. 71% of the grants were awarded outside London.

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