Watchdog to investigate 'only 7% Welsh language' radio station

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at
Tue Feb 1 14:54:41 UTC 2005

Watchdog to investigate 'only 7% Welsh language' radio station Feb 1 2005

Martin Shipton, Western Mail

THE row over Welsh language radio in West Wales has taken a new twist,
with Radio Carmarthenshire to face a new inquiry over its use of Welsh. An
investigation by S4C current affairs programme Y Byd ar Bedwar has
revealed only 7% of Radio Carmarthenshire's output is in Welsh,
highlighting serious doubt over their commitment to the language.
Broadcasting regulator Ofcom has announced it will investigate the
programme findings.

Following protests about the lack of Welsh content on Radio
Carmarthenshire, Ofcom issued a yellow card warning to the station last
October. The warning was lifted in December, when Ofcom found several
changes had been made by the radio station. Now following the new S4C
research, Welsh language campaigners have criticised Ofcom's readiness to
give the station a clean bill of health.

Cefin Campbell, director of Mentrau Iaith Myrddin, said, "Questions need
to be asked about the powers allocated to this new regulator, Ofcom.
Should there be new guidelines issued to make radio stations reflect more
accurately the linguistic and cultural character of the area represented?
I think there are serious weaknesses in the present regulations, which
allow Radio Carmarthenshire to ignore the wishes of local people."

Ofcom's director in Wales is Rhodri Williams, the previous chairman of the
Welsh Language Board. He refused to be interviewed for tonight's
programme, but said that since the yellow card was raised Ofcom hadn't
received one complaint from listeners. He added that Ofcom didn't have the
powers to impose quotas on radio stations, forcing them to broadcast a
specific number of hours in Welsh.

When Radio Carmarthenshire made their initial application for a licence
they had indicated that 30% of their output would be in Welsh. Three weeks
ago Y Byd ar Bedwar monitored the station for 24 hours and found that 93%
of the speech content was in English, with only 7% in Welsh. Cefin
Campbell said the results were disastrous.

Keri Jones, chief executive of Radio Carmarthenshire, claimed 99% of
people in the area are big fans of the station. Y Byd ar Bedwar goes out
tonight at 8.25pm, on S4C.

More information about the Lgpolicy-list mailing list