The final DMU #RadioLab Lecture for this session was given by Carina Tillson of Global Radio, who guided DMU radio students and volunteers for DemonFM through the minefield that is compliance and broadcast regulation in the UK. Effortlessly engaging and brimming with examples of why community radio stations need to take compliance seriously, Carina mapped-out the scope of regulation for radio broadcasters, from the application process to the complaints process, and often what happens when things slip between.
Carina is Head of Compliance at Global Radio, and as such is responsible for over 2500 hours of broadcast content each week – a mighty task by any standards. This content is split across national network stations, such as Capital, Heart, Classic FM and LBC. Carina’s philosophy is that everyone at a station is responsible for ensuring that the stations stays on the right side of the law and the broadcast code. It doesn’t matter which department you work in, radio is a team effort, and so everyone should be listening-out for issues that might damage the trust that a station has built with it’s audience.
In an increasingly competitive jobs market, Carina’s advice to the students and volunteers at DMU focussed on a couple of key points: be better at your job than everyone else; make the most of your opportunities; and look for ways that you can get an edge on the other candidates. According to Carina students and volunteers at DemonFM will never get a better chance to gain as much experience as they can while running a community radio station. The privilege of making shows that say something about you as a person is enormous, but there is a heavy burden of responsibility to make sure that you get it right and do it properly. Breaking the trust of the listener can have lots of consequences, so use it wisely, was Carina’s message.
Carina was impressed that so many of our volunteers on DemonFM know their way around the broadcasting code, and where able at one point to recite it back! Ultimately, Carina argued, it is down to the individual presenter to take responsibility for their output, but the general rule can be summed up in four words – don’t be a dick!. If you want to avoid the Ofcom Sanctions Panel, then a station can take prudent steps to ensure that their content is free from the potential to cause offence and harm, and if it is not able to guarantee that content won’t cause offence that it at least is broadcast at a time when children won’t be listening.
It was refreshing to hear the rules for broadcasting explained with such passion and knowledge. Keeping trust with your listeners is not something to be taken lightly, but has to be nurtured and protected at all times. Carina gave us a clear account of our responsibilities then urged us to make the most of our creative freedom.
Carina gave a massive plug for Sound Women, the newly established group that promotes the interest of women in the radio and audio industries. More information can be found at www.soundwomen.net.