Key radio industry figures to put RAB funding under the spotlight

The funding of the Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB) will come under the spotlight at a meeting of key radio industry figures and trade bodies, expected to take place in the next two weeks.

The meeting has also prompted a review by GCap Media chief executive Ralph Bernard of the group’s contribution to the RAB. It is thought that Bernard may be thinking of reducing the contribution to RAB with a review to investing in a wider range of industry initiatives. It is not clear how large the company’s contribution is, but it could be as much as &£1m. GCap Media is thought to account for nearly 40 per cent of the radio advertising market

It is also likely that the group is looking for ways to cut costs to counteract the effect of reducing its advertising inventory last December. No one from GCap was available for comment.

Meanwhile, at the industry meeting senior radio executives and key members of the industry trade bodies, including the RAB and the Commercial Radio Companies Association (CRCA), will review how groups can get more out of their investment in the industry and how it can further collaborate on programming and events. Senior sources in the industry say that the review aims to “look at how we [the industry] work and get the most out of the trade bodies”.

Another radio insider points out that there have been a variety of cross-industry initiatives such as the transformation of Hit40UK into three charts that are more relevant to audiences and contemporary stations. It proved that the industry can now collaborate more effectively than in the past.

This had led to suggestions that other organisations, such as Hit40UK, could help to develop industry events and networked programmes that could potentially offer more return on investment.

But another source adds that no decisions have been made and that the industry remains supportive of the RAB and the work that it has done.

Last year, the RAB announced plans to get more involved in programming content by helping the industry develop more network opportunities. It is understood that this has been prompted by changes in the commercial radio industry such as the formation of the largest radio group, GCap, through the merger of GWR Group and Capital Radio Group.

The meeting will also look at the how the industry moves to fight the BBC and increase advertising share in 2006.

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