The head of the UK's publicly funded broadcaster, the BBC, has told commercial radio stations they have more to fear from the internet than from his organization.
The corporation's director general, Mark Thompson, made his remarks at a Broadcasting Press Guild meeting in response to widespread criticism of the BBC's perceived dominance of the UK radio sector.
Opined Thompson: "There is no evidence at all that the BBC is crowding out commercial activity."
He added: "The principal issues faced by commercial radio broadcasters are from internet advertising not the BBC. The battle is about where the advertising dollars go for these media and the BBC has nothing to do with this."
He believes the challenge for commercial radio companies lies in the "fragmentation of the advertising-funded marketplace".
Earlier this year the Commercial Radio Companies Association painted a bleak picture of the future if the BBC's ambitions were allowed to go unchecked [WAMN: 28-Feb-06].
CRCA ceo Paul Brown branded Thompson latest utterings as "arrant nonsense", thundering: "Only a state-funded broadcaster could come out and say that the number of listeners you get has no relevance to the amount of advertising and advertising revenue you can get."
Data sourced from MediaGuardian.co.uk; additional content by WARC staff