HC Deb 01 March 1972 vol 832 cc383-4
4. Mr. Edward Lyons

asked the Minister of Posts and Telecommunications when the City of Bradford will have a local radio service.

Mr. Chataway

The frequency plan which I am considering with the B.B.C. and I.T.A. is not yet completed. It is too early to say when Bradford will be served.

Mr. Lyons

Will the Minister tell us whether he has decided on the kind of radio station that Bradford is to get? Will it be B.B.C. or commercial? If commercial, is this the reason for the delay in the announcement? Is there not enough consumer exhortation being directed at our citizens without having further commercial stations, particularly in Yorkshire?

Mr. Chataway

I do not take that view. The hon. Gentleman will be interested to know that the Opposition have now made it clear in Committee that they equally do not favour a B.B.C. monopoly in sound radio. It is possible that the B.B.C.'s Leeds station could in due course reach Bradford. It is also possible that Bradford will have its own I.B.A. station. However, the determination of this matter will rest upon the completion of the overall frequency plan.

Mr. James Hill

Will my right hon. Friend inform me whether Southampton is to be on the list to obtain one of these few commercial radio stations?

Mr. Chataway

I certainly hope so; but we cannot make an announcement about the places which will be served by commercial radio until the frequency plan, which will determine the frequencies to be used by the I.B.A. and by the B.B.C. has been completed.

Mr. Russell Kerr

Will the Minister tell us what reasons were adduced by Opposition spokesmen in Committee against the monopoly of the B.B.C. in sound radio? It is news to us.

Mr. Chataway

I am sure that the hon. Gentleman will want to address that question to his hon. Friends. I suspect that they must have been persuaded by the arguments which we put forward. For the time being there appears to be no inclination on the part of the Opposition either to wind up commercial television or to oppose in principle commercial radio.

Sir G. Nabarro

Is my right hon. Friend aware that, irrespective of frequency, large tracts of country are totally muted in this context? South Worcestershire has no local radio cover whatever, either commercial or B.B.C. Cannot we have some priority before these well-served areas such as Bradford get on to the list?

Mr. Chataway

I am deeply disturbed at the idea of South Worcestershire being muted. I will endeavour to do what I can in the matter.

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