Local Radio Stations (Scotland)

Oral Answers to Questions — Wireless and Television – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 25th July 1968.

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Photo of Mr James Dempsey Mr James Dempsey , Coatbridge and Airdrie 12:00 am, 25th July 1968

asked the Postmaster General what consideration he is now giving to the development of local radio stations in Scotland; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Mr Willie Hamilton Mr Willie Hamilton , Fife West

asked the Postmaster-General how many local radio stations are now working; and what proposals he has received from local authorities in Scotland in this field.

Photo of Mr John Stonehouse Mr John Stonehouse , Wednesbury

All eight of the B.B.C.'s experimental stations are now broadcasting. Any plans for further stations must await the review of this experiment. I have received no further proposals from local authorities in Scotland.

Photo of Mr James Dempsey Mr James Dempsey , Coatbridge and Airdrie

Is my right hon. Friend aware that probably one of the reasons for the lack of enthusiasm for local radio is the fact that since the B.B.C. have become pop-punchers, traditional radio programmes have been adversely affected? Will he try to improve the service and thus encourage local authorities, especially in the central belt, to proceed with local radio stations?

Photo of Mr John Stonehouse Mr John Stonehouse , Wednesbury

I am not aware that the quality of B.B.C. programmes as a whole has deteriorated as a result of the experiment, but I will certainly look very kindly at my hon. Friend's suggestion when we review the experiment in about a year's time.

Photo of Mr Willie Hamilton Mr Willie Hamilton , Fife West

What representations have been received or what initiatives have been taken by which local authorities in Scotland? Does any initiative rest with my right hon. Friend to encourage them to set about this imaginative scheme?

Photo of Mr John Stonehouse Mr John Stonehouse , Wednesbury

I am not in a position to say which authorities have been in touch with us, but I will certainly take initiative next year if, in the light of the conclusions of this experimental run, we think that that will be a wise thing to do.

Photo of Mr Stratton Mills Mr Stratton Mills , Belfast North

Is the Postmaster-General in a position to answer the Question put to him last week by my hon. Friend the Member for Howden (Mr. Bryan)—how much has the B.B.C. spent to date on the running costs of these experimental stations?

Photo of Dr Horace King Dr Horace King , Southampton, Itchen

Order. The Question is about local radio stations in Scotland.

Photo of Mr Stratton Mills Mr Stratton Mills , Belfast North

On a point of order. With great respect, Mr. Speaker, the first part of Question No. 14 deals with the general point and it is only the second part which relates to Scotland.

Photo of Dr Horace King Dr Horace King , Southampton, Itchen

I agree. The Minister will answer the supplementary question.

Photo of Mr John Stonehouse Mr John Stonehouse , Wednesbury

I will obtain the information and write to the hon. Member.