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Broadcasting

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 13th May 1965.

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Photo of Mr Maurice Edelman Mr Maurice Edelman , Coventry North 12:00 am, 13th May 1965

The hon. Member for Seven-oaks (Sir J. Rodgers) was one of the most enthusiastic and effective supporters of the commercial television lobby. I am interested tonight to hear that his voice has not lost its cunning. On the one hand, the hon. Member has argued in favour of an extension of commercial radio, suggesting that in some way it is a public service. On the other hand, he has made it clear that there are interests concerned with commercial radio who consider it not as a public service but simply as a normal means of profit-making.

Indeed, the whole case for commercial radio, the reason for the general enthusiasm for it on the benches opposite and the reason why, under all the rather bland statements of hon. Members opposite, we can hear the grinding of the axes of the commercial radio lobby is precisely because here there seems to be a rich field for great pickings.

The hon. Member said that he had just returned from the United States. I was there at the same time and I have had some small experience of American radio. In my opinion, American commercial radio is an abomination. It confuses advertising with opinion, it blurs thought and it creates confusion in the mind of the listener about what is being promoted commercially and what is being put forward objectively as an opinion. The result is that apart from the drug of the steady stream of pop music which pours out of American commercial radio—that stream of popular radio which somehow creates a sort of hebetude in the mind of the American public—I see nothing to commend it. I can, however, imagine that those who run the stations make extremely great profits out of it and I understand perfectly well why there are those in this country who would like to imitate the system of American commercial radio and to profit from it.