BBC Charter Renewal


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Sound Start Group Response to the Select Committee Consultation on

BBC  Charter Renewal


Sound Start has run the National Campaign for Children’s Radio for over 30 years with particular focus on declining PBS delivery.  Last year, after decades of failure to engage them, the BBC wrote off its mandate to provide radio for these deserving young listeners and abandoned them to independent players.

Currently these consist of:

  • abracaDABra! First air date: January 2002 (the precursor of Fun Radio), now broadcasting as a non-profit internet stream.
  • FUN Kids – First air date‎: ‎May 2005 (as Fun Radio) broadcasting commercially on a DAB London licence with a complementary internet stream.

2a.Through our public rallies; Children’s Radio Days and wide media coverage we have attracted hundreds of supporters including MPs; Peers; parents and grandparents; carers; teachers, child-care professionals; writers; musicians; broadcasters (including empathetic BBC executives); Trades Unions in the education sectors; family focused charities and, of course, children.

We have responded to many public consultations including:

Generated EDMs:

Tabled Questions in the Commons and the Lords:

 The first two placed a national network for children above all the BBC’s five DAB services, the third joint top with R4Extra [then scheduling children’s content] and the fourth at third place.

4a.With evidence of such marked public preference for a DAB radio network for young children and their families, compared to the consistently low placement for the Asian Network,  Sound Start responded to the BBC Trust’s Review of the Asian Network proposing this narrowcast Service Licence should be rewritten to serve and support young children and families across all ethnic groups, in order to increase listenership and encourage integration, as reported in the Telegraph.

The Network was reprieved and continues to target young Asians aged under 35.

At £10.7m in the last Annual Accounts the format cost more per listener than any other national DAB network and we hold to our proposition that this bandwidth could economically and beneficially target young children and families and forge greater social cohesion.

5a.In partnership with abracaDABra! we run an all-day non-profit internet service of stories; songs; rhymes; music; games and information for listeners aged birth to 10 and their families to showcase what can be achieved, even with very limited funds.


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