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Agenda Item No

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Cabinet Report: 29 July 2013

 

Report of the Leader

 

Bro Radio

 

Purpose of the Report

1.         To update Members on the activities of Bro Radio and to seek an extension of funding for a further year.

Recommendations

1.         That consideration be given to the Deed of Grant annual report of Bro Radio.

2.         That the Managing Director be given delegated authority in consultation with the Leader to renew the Deed of Grant between the Council and the Vale of Glamorgan Broadcasting CIC for a further two year period.

3.         That subject to the above an annual grant of £24,000 be payable in monthly instalments.

Reasons for the Recommendations

1.         In order for the community radio station to continue to broadcast, supporting the Council's communications strategies.

2.         To enable the funding arrangement to be regularised by way of a Deed of Grant.

3.         To enable the Vale of Glamorgan Broadcasting CIC to continue trading.

Background

2.         Cabinet (24 June 2009) agreed a Deed of Grant supporting the establishment of a community radio station for the Vale of Glamorgan. That Deed of Grant came to an end in 2012, and a further report in October 2012 requested a three year grant of £24,000 per year, paid in monthly instalments. Cabinet resolved that:

·           the revised Bro Radio business plan be endorsed.

·           the Council’s Communications Department be provided with a  monthly feedback report from Bro Radio outlining information that had been broadcast and prepare an evaluation report to be presented to Cabinet.

·           the Managing Director be given delegated authority in consultation with the Leader to execute a Deed of Grant between the Council and the Vale of Glamorgan Broadcasting CIC.

·           subject to the above, a grant of £24,000 be made payable in 2012/13 by monthly instalments.

·           the Communications department report back to Cabinet on alternative funding models to support Bro Radio's future.

Relevant Issues and Options

3.         The Bro Radio report for the Deed of Grant Report, including the Vale of Glamorgan CIC Accounts summarising Bro Radio's work for the year and its three year Business Plan 2012-2015 are attached at Appendix A, Appendix B and Appendix C. The supporting letters mentioned in the report at Appendix A have not been included.

4.         The Council's Communications Manager receives regular reports on behalf of the work undertaken by Bro Radio on behalf of the Council, a summary of which is attached at Appendix D.

5.         The Council continues to enjoy:

·           Public service announcements, for example school closures during snow and road closures;

·           Promoting the Council's website, as part of the Channel Strategy;

·           Promoting various Council-led campaigns, such as the campaign to publicise welfare reform

·           Election coverage;

·           Promoting and coverage of Council- sponsored events;

·           Providing information on a variety of topics as can be seen from the annual report,

·           Arts programme;

·           Work with schools on activities such as career days and activities with school children 'live on air' (such as carol singing) and school radio broadcasts;

·           Health promotion.

6.         The station is also supported by the Welsh Government, through its community radio fund. The YMCA is a key partner for the station, providing its base and assisting in securing funding for studios and equipment.

7.         The station admits that it still can't reach all areas of the Vale. Its reach covers approximately 80,000 residents (approximately two-thirds) of the Vale. Applications to Ofcom to extend FM coverage have been unsuccessful. The station is considering moving its mast to Barry Island, which would reach residents in Llantwit Major, St Athan and Penmark and generally increase coverage in both the eastern and western Vale.

8.         Online listening is continuing to increase year-on-year, and the station has over 4,100 'likes' on their Facebook page.

9.         The station is committed to:

·           Increasing its listeners;

·           Increasing public service broadcasting;

·           Increasing commercial revenue and grant funding;

·           Attracting more local people to train and become volunteers;

·           Giving young people who are in the NEET category (Not in Education, Employment or Training) an opportunity to access training and work experience;

·           Develop its programming;

·           Increasing bilingual content of shows.

10.      The Council can continue to make more use of the station to:

·           Promote events;

·           Inform local people about home and community safety issues;

·           Promote key messages, such as energy efficiency, food safety, free swimming, bus passes, etc.

11.      Bro Radio provides other, less tangible benefits in terms of community development. Many local young people are attracted to work in the media, and Bro, with its digital recording studios, offer volunteering and work experience. One volunteer has gone on to work in Real Radio, and another is an apprentice with the BBC. Both are opportunities that probably wouldn't have been available without the experience gained at Bro Radio.

12.      Most information from public services is available on-line. Bro Radio offers information to the 12-25% estimated people locally who do not use the internet.

13.      A number of funding models have been discussed with Bro. As a community radio station, Bro Radio is unable to obtain more than 50% of it income from advertising. However, only 14-16% of current funding is derived from advertising. Ofcom supported a one-year post to increase its advertising income, and now has a volunteer to attract advertising. However, small traders in Barry are having a difficult time, and newspapers are also struggling to attract advertising.

14.      Bro Radio is currently attracting some grant funding, in particular from the Welsh Government. However, the future of this fund is not clear, and this too may disappear. The station is currently using a volunteer to apply for grants, and a bid for Big Lottery funding is being made to support a fundraiser and an office manager to coordinate volunteers.

15.      The station has also discussed Learning Pathways funding, as they are able to work on a 1:1 basis with school excluded young people to give them media skills.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

16.      The current Deed of Grant provides Bro Radio with £2,000 paid monthly.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

17.      More information has been included in Bro Radio broadcasts to promote sustainability messages, such as recycling and energy efficiency. Visible Services and Housing has been proactive in promoting this agenda over recent months. Public interest messages, such as flood warnings and how to access sand bags, has also be provided through the radio. 

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

18.      The Vale of Glamorgan Broadcasting CIC was awarded its radio licence in 2007. The agreement with the Council is governed by a Deed of Grant.

Crime and Disorder Implications

19.      The local radio station is an ideal way to promote community safety messages

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

20.      Bro Radio has been successfully including young people who may be socially disadvantaged and disabled people in its work during its first three years of operation. It was involved in promoting and covering the Eisteddfod, which helped to make the event a success.

Corporate/Service Objectives

21.      The Corporate Plan 2013/17 commits the Council to effectively engaging with citizens and stakeholders.

Policy Framework and Budget

22.      This is a matter for Executive decision.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

23.      None.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

24.      Corporate Resources

Background Papers

Bro Radio Business Plan 2012-2015

Bro Radio annual report and accounts 2012-13

 

Contact Officer

Beverly Noon, Operational Manager - Corporate Policy and Communications

 

Officers Consulted

Communications Manager

Operational Manager - Legal Services

 

Responsible Officer: Sian Davies, Managing Director

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