Local Broadcasting: Radio

Department for Culture, Media and Sport written question – answered at on 2 May 2023.

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Photo of Rachael Maskell Rachael Maskell Labour/Co-operative, York Central

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment she has made of the role of local radio services in addressing loneliness.

Photo of Julia Lopez Julia Lopez Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office), The Minister of State, Department for Culture, Media and Sport, Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)

Radio plays a vital role in helping to address loneliness, offering companionship and connection to listeners across the UK. Local radio from the BBC, commercial radio and community radio stations plays a unique role in connecting listeners and providing local information, entertainment and support. This was recognised by the joint government and industry Digital Radio and Audio Review, which highlighted evidence from WaveLength (a charity which gives media technology to lonely people living in poverty) showing that people feel less lonely after receiving a radio.

In December 2020, as part of a £7.5 million funding package to help those most at risk of loneliness during the coronavirus pandemic, and in recognition of the value of local radio in particular in addressing loneliness, the Government provided £500,000 of support to local radio stations. £200,000 was made available through the Community Radio Fund to support community radio stations that were taking steps to tackle loneliness and isolation within their localities. £300,000 was made available through the Audio Content Fund to support independent producers making programmes targeted at alleviating loneliness for commercial and community stations.

We will continue to explore ways in which we can continue to support the valuable work done by local radio broadcasters within their communities.

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