§ Baroness David
asked Her Majesty's Government:
What arrangements are being made to provide access for children to the free-to-air radio network on digital and analogue frequencies; and
What provision will be made for a national free-to-air radio service for children and schools, following the Radio Authority's withdrawal of 225 kHz long wave, which had been proposed by Children 2000 and members of Her Majesty's Government for the purpose.
§ Lord McIntosh of Haringey
The frequency 225 kHz was assigned to the Radio Authority in 1996 to enable the authority to consider the feasibility of using it for new analogue radio services. However, the Radio Authority has concluded that a national service is not available on that frequency.
The Radio Authority plans to invite applications early in 1998 to operate the national independent digital radio multiplex. This will include new national radio services. It is the Radio Authority's responsibility to award the multiplex licence, and my right honourable friend the Secretary of State has no plans to direct the authority by specifying the nature of those new services.
Under the terms of its Charter and Agreement, the BBC is required to ensure that its output includes a high standard of original programmes for children and young people and contains programmes of an educational nature. Within this framework, decisions on editorial content and delivery of programmes are for the BBC itself.