LONDON: UK commercial radio marketing body Radio Centre is urging media regulator Ofcom to speed up reform of ownership rules so groups can be more easily consolidated to compete effectively with public broadcaster, the BBC.

Radio Centre ceo Andrew Harrison says the current rules, which insist that each local area has at least two commercial competitors to the BBC, are for a "bygone age".

In response to Ofcom's Future of Radio consultation, Harrison argues for "standard competition rules and public interest rules in radio".

Ofcom agrees radio ownership rules are too restrictive but is not prepared to relax them in the manner suggested by Radio Centre.

Says a spokesman for the watchdog: "Ofcom suggests that government may wish to consider combining the ownership rules for analogue and digital ownership to allow for radio groups to take advantage of further consolidation while maintaining a sufficient level of plurality, ie two local providers plus the BBC, in any area where there is a significant number of stations."

Data sourced from; additional content by WARC staff