Radio Independents Group

Radio Independents Group

The Radio Independents Group, or RIG, is the trade body that represents the interests of the independent radio producers of the United Kingdom. Established in June 2004, RIG is mandated to negotiate terms with broadcasters and audio consumers such as digital publishers, that are to the benefit of its members. The organisation is a non-profit making body, solely financed through membership fees and donations.

tructure

RIG is a membership organisation whose members annually elect an Executive Committee, a Chair, Secretary and Treasurer. All positions in the management structure are voluntary and unpaid.

Current Executive Committee (as of January 2007)

Chair - Neil Gardner (Ladbroke Radio)Secretary - Judith Kampfner (CIM)Treasurer - Mike Hally (Pennine Productions)Exec Members - Sue Clark (SC Productions), Kerry Luter (Unique), Steve Ackerman (Somethin' Else), Phil Critchlow (TBI Productions), Graham Frost (Ear 2 Ear Productions), Clive Stanhope (CSA), Roger Elsgood (Art & Adventure)

Membership

Membership of RIG is open to any UK-based independent radio producer or production company. Current membership (as of Jan 2007) is 85, of a total possible number of UK indies of 130. The trade body represents all sizes of business from sole-traders and partnerships, to limited companies and public companies.

Independent Radio Producers

An independent radio producer is defined as a supplier of radio programs who is not affiliated in any manner with the commissioning broadcaster or company. They can be individuals working in a sole-traders and partnerships, as well as limited companies and in some instances public companies. In the UK there are approximately 130 such companies supplying the BBC, with many more freelance producers and small production companies supplying commercial radio and corporate clients. There are some indies in radio who are also independent television producers. Many radio indies supply additional audio, training, teaching and various other services due to the low budgets inherent in the industry.

The Sector

For the majority of radio indies the BBC national radio networks are the main, or only, commissioner of their programs. BBC Radio 1, BBC Radio 2, BBC Radio 3, BBC Radio 4, 5 Live, BBC 6 Music, BBC 1Xtra, BBC Asian Network, BBC World Service, BBC Radio Scotland and BBC Radio Wales all actively commission independently produced programming. Unlike the television sector, which has a legally guaranteed 25% share of the BBC's output (with an additional 25% open to competitive bidding), the radio sector has no such guarantee. The BBC chooses to voluntarily offer approximately 10% of its 'eligible' hours to independent production. This figure has not changed in over 13 years and both the BBC and the British Government refuse to alter the status quo. This has led to an unstable and uncertain sector with large numbers of companies pitching for small amounts of air-time. The Radio Independents Group is tasked with getting the voluntary 'quota' increased.

Radio indies also produce many hours of programming for the Commercial Radio companies, such as chart shows, traffic & travel bulletins and entertainment news. However, unlike the BBC, the majority of this material is paid for by third party sponsors rather than by the radio stations. There is very little commissioned programming on UK commercial radio due to the cost of making such material and the low programming budgets of commercial radio stations.

Radio Indies & The BBC

Up until Dec 2004, when commissioning programs from independent producers, the BBC would purchase an 'all rights' deal. This meant that the independent producer retained no ownership or control over their product. Following negotiations between RIG and the BBC in 2004, the new Terms of Trade now in place have had a considerable positive effect for independent producers:

* Indies now own their productions entirely
* The BBC purchases a 10 year UK-only broadcast license consisting of 2 transmissions and audio-on-demand rights
* Indies can now commercially exploit their productions both in the UK and internationally
* Indies gain improved repeat rates and improved rates for repeats on BBC World Service and BFBS

Current Issues

* BBC World Service - new Terms of Trade between the network and the independent sector
* Update to the General BBC Terms of Trade
* Update and continuation of BBC Worldwide BFBS contracts
* Submission to the BBC Trust regarding the damage to indie's rights by the planned BBC Online/iPlayer proposal
* Push for more opportunities and access to air-time for independent producers
* Creation of standardised industry 'draft' contracts
* Supporting the work of the Radio Academy and the Radio Industry Diversity Group
* Training and resources for radio independents

External links

* [http://www.radioindependentsgroup.org RIG Website]
* [http://www.radioacademy.org The Radio Academy Website]
* [http://www.bbc.co.uk/commissioning BBC Independent Commissioning Website]


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