Fears radio station will be too political

FEARS have been raised that a new community radio station in Bradford on Avon is a topic of fierce could be used for political gain.

Town councillors Simon McNeill-Ritchie and David Garwood spoke for the radio station to the town council in April, and colleagues voted to allow them free use of the room for their first year.

But some councillors are still raising concerns over the potential for political views to be promoted through the station, which is due to launch in the summer.

Cllr McNeill-Ritchie will help run it and has since been elected mayor of Bradford on Avon.

Cllr Jim Lynch was worried there would be no public oversight and the way the station was set up should be re-examined.

He said: “Council leader Dom Newton suggests that I should be aware of the merits of using a not-for-profit limited company to own and control the community radio station.

“I am, of course, fully aware of this legal structure and it has no such merits.

“It is entirely unsuitable for a community broadcasting outlet, especially when two of its directors are sitting town councillors.

 

“A limited company is a private entity and is subject to no public oversight.

“The opportunities for bias and for the perception of a conflict of interest are obvious.

“I ask the council to scrap the proposed company limited by guarantee and form a community partnership with an independent chairman and a truly representative working group, including young people.

“If the project is successful you can move on to form either a community cooperative or a community interest company.

“If you do that I promise my full, public and enthusiastic support.

“It is no less than this project requires and indeed, deserves.”

A spokesman for the town council said: “The council resolved to allow the use of the room and to wave the charges, following the democratic process.

“Currently the room in question is not utilised and this enterprise may open up opportunities for young people in the town who might have an interest in learning broadcasting skills.”

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