RWS fm In Breach of Broadcasting Licence in Bury St Edmunds
RWS FM 103.3 is a local radio station in Bury St Edmunds. It’s at the West Suffolk Hospital and is for the people living there. They are required to follow rules called “Key Commitments” as part of their licence. Someone complained they were not following these rules, so Ofcom investigated it.
Problem with Key Commitments
Ofcom asked RWS FM for recordings and schedules from September 26 to October 2, 2022. They found that there weren’t any shows talking about social issues in Bury St Edmunds. Also, they didn’t have enough original shows that week.
RWS FM’s Response
RWS FM said they’re the only radio station just for Bury St Edmunds and the nearby areas. They do not use other shows from different places. All their programs are made in Bury St Edmunds.
They did not agree with Ofcom about not talking about social issues. They said their listeners, local businesses, and the town mayor knew they talked about these things. They had a list of almost 13,000 news stories they talked about since 2015.
RWS FM also said it was hard to have enough original shows because some workers were sick and they couldn’t find new ones because of the Coronavirus pandemic. They were going to ask to change their Key Commitments after the investigation.
Ofcom found that RWS FM didn’t have shown about social issues in Bury St Edmunds, but they talked about them in news bulletins and other programs. They also did not have enough original shows on September 29 and October 2, 2022.
“The Licensee failed to fulfill the requirements specified in its Key Commitments to provide a minimum of 7 hours of original output per day. Breaches of Licence Conditions 2(1) and 2(4).”
Character of service
During the period monitored, there were no specific programs addressing social issues arising in the town, but social issues did feature in daily local news bulletins and during some programs. We appreciate that the absence of some volunteers during the week monitored may have also impacted the Licensee’s ability to broadcast programs addressing the social issues arising in the town.
During the period monitored, we found that the Licensee failed to broadcast the required seven hours of original output per day on September 29 and October 2, providing five and six hours, respectively. We acknowledge that RWS FM broadcast at least 61 hours of original output during the week monitored and over delivered on its daily requirement on four of the days monitored.