August 2, 2009

Conservative official urges Radio 1 sale

British Conservative Party shadow Broadcasting Minister Ed Vaizey says his party wants the BBC to sell Radio 1 and publish the salaries of top BBC stars.

The Conservative Party spokesman on media and arts told The Sunday Times of London the BBC is threatening commercial broadcasters through its influence and inflated publicly funded budget.

Through Radio 1 and similar ventures, the BBC has an unfair advantage over its radio rivals in Britain, Vaizey said.

There is an unfair disparity, the Conservative official offered.

Vaizey also criticized Radio 1 for not appealing to younger audiences through its programming.

Radio 1 is not fulfilling its obligation to its audience, he told The Times. Its median age is those in their 30s when it should aim much more at teenagers and (those in) their 20s. There is then a good argument for the BBC to be rid of Radio 1 and give the commercial sector a chance to use the frequency.

BBC Trust Chairman Michael Lyons said the call for a published version of top BBC stars' salaries could violate the privacy of those individuals.