Legislation requires Ofcom to secure that local commercial radio stations provide an appropriate amount of:
and to provide guidelines as to how the above requirements should be met.
These are the required guidelines. They set out Ofcom's general policy in relation to these localness requirements and how we are likely in most cases to apply them to local stations.
Ofcom considers each station on a case by case basis and how, if at all, these guidelines should apply to those stations. The extent to which local material and locally made programmes must be included in the service provided by a licensee is specified in the station's Format (and may vary by station).
How a station produces its locally-made programmes is a matter for each station. For example, there are no restrictions on the amount of automation (e.g. using voice tracking) that a station may use. However, licensees are expected to take into account listeners' expectations and be able to react to events on a timely basis when it comes to automated and live programming.
Localness is not an issue for all stations, but where it is required by a station's licensed Format, it should be informed by these guidelines.
These guidelines are not rules, but they outline the sort of considerations that may come into play if it becomes necessary to investigate a station's localness output. Many of these considerations are based on listener expectations.