HL Deb 19 May 1999 vol 601 c44WA
Lord Patten

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Why they think that BBC Radio 1 should be in public ownership; and [HL2088]

What are the reasons that they would give for not privatising BBC Radio 2. [HL2089]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey

The Government are committed to the BBC's role as the UK's principal public service broadcaster, providing a wide range of television and radio services at both national and local level. We have no plans to privatise Radios 1 and 2 because, alongside the three other national, and 39 local, radio stations and the BBC's television channels, they are key elements of the BBC's core obligation to inform, educate and entertain. Radio 1 puts new music first and provides specialist music programmes and information campaigns geared to the interests and concerns of its audience. Radio 2 broadcasts specialist music, as well as new and classic comedy, arts and religious programmes. Both bring new talent to national audiences and provide news and current affairs. The distinctive range and presentation of BBC programming, with its linked associated services, could not be sustained if its public service ethos was lost.