‘Devolve broadcasting’ call as bilingual radio replaced by English-only station in Welsh-speaking area

Radio broadcasting desk

Language campaigners have called for powers over broadcasting to be transferred to Wales.

The call comes after the announcement that a bilingual radio station serving one of the country’s most Welsh-speaking areas will be replaced with an English-only one.

Radio Ceredigion will close following a decision by Ofcom to allow the English-only Nation Radio to be broadcast on its frequencies instead.

Half the population of Ceredigion county speak Welsh.

Heledd Gwyndaf from Welsh language campaign group Cymdeithas yr Iaith said that devolving broadcast powers would allow Wales to decide what it wanted from broadcasters.

“It’s obvious that the Westminster-run broadcasting system is not benefiting Ceredigion or our country,” she said. “Devolving the power over broadcasting to our Senedd in Wales is the only answer.

“For a start, regulatory powers should be devolved, so we as a nation can decide what we want from our broadcasters.

“The British Government, through Ofcom, is currently planning to reduce regulation even further – there won’t be any obligation for commercial radio to report on national Welsh news or to broadcast in the Welsh language if they get their way.

“Powers over broadcasting really need devolving to Wales so we as a nation can set the rules ourselves, based on what’s important to us.

“What sense does it make for the country next door to us to be responsible for broadcasting in our country?”

Nation Radio already broadcasts on FM in Cardiff, Swansea, Carmarthen and Pembrokeshire and on digital platforms.

Ofcom approved the change despite saying that Nation Broadcasting’s application “provided barely any evidence that its proposal to provide the Nation Radio service would cater for the tastes and interests of listeners in the Ceredigion area.

“The lack of a commitment to provide any Ceredigion-specific local content for the new licence period, and the removal of any obligation to provide content in the Welsh language in an area with a relatively high proportion of Welsh speakers, contributed to this view.”

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