HC Deb 23 March 1967 vol 743 cc1900-1
27. Mr. Gwilym Roberts

asked the Postmaster-General if he will now give the location of the remaining six local radio stations.

24. Mr. Leadbitter

asked the Postmaster-General how many local authorities applied to be considered to establish local radio stations; how many have made firm applications following the conference with the officials of the British Broadcasting Corporation; and what local authorities have been selected to establish local stations.

The Postmaster-General (Mr. Edward Short)

The B.B.C. tells me that 76 towns registered with it varying degrees of interest in the experiment. Eighteen have registered with the Corporation applications for a station. I have already announced the names of the first three places selected to take part in the experiment. The next four stations will be at Brighton, Manchester, Nottingham and Stoke-on-Trent. More time is needed before the locations of the remaining two stations are decided on, because some of the applications require further discussion between the B.B.C. and the local interests concerned.

Mr. Roberts

Will my right hon. Friend tell the House how long the experimental period for local radio will be so that other areas which have not been brought in either in the four or the next two can look forward to a time when they can be considered again for local radio?

Mr. Short

I expect to be able to evaluate the experiment at the end of about 12 months.

Mr. Tinn

Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind the claims of the new county borough of Tees-side, one of the most rapidly developing areas, and will he postpone his choice until the new county borough has had a chance to make its position clear on the matter?

Mr. Short

I understand my hon. Friend's point of view. I believe that the elections for the new county borough will come in April and the borough will start functioning in May. It may well be May before we can decide on the location of the remaining two stations.

Mr. Berry

When will the Postmaster-General be in a position to tell the House what the local interest of chambers of trade and other bodies will be in the new four stations or even the three he has already announced?

Mr. Short

The hon. Gentleman has some Questions down about that for next week.

Dr. Winstanley

Is the Postmaster-General entirely satisfied that the finance for future maintenance of these new stations will be forthcoming in the areas covered by his announcement?

Mr. Short

That is one of the purposes of the experiment. If we knew that that was assured, we would not need an experiment. It is one of the reasons for having it.

Mr. Rowland

Is it not a fact that, with only two stations to come, there are still some major omissions, notably the Greater London area—where many Members would like at least to be able to hear a station in operation—Scotland and, of course, any rural area?

Mr. Short

This is a nine-station experiment. When we have all the nine, there will still be some omissions.

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