UK Government Moving Forward On Pro-Radio Legislation


As King Charles presided over his first King’s Speech, the declaration of the UK’s reigning monarch to open Parliament, he announced the British government’s intention to make the first major change to the country’s radio broadcasting code in twenty years.

The UK radio industry has expressed support for new legislation outlined on November 7th, which aims to bolster the presence of UK radio on smart speakers. The proposed Media Bill, part of the government’s legislative agenda before the next general election, follows up on a draft presented in March and intends to mandate smart speakers to offer all UK-licensed radio stations by law.

The US does not legally obligate smart speakers to include radio stations, relying instead on pre-installed streaming services and various third-party providers.

The Culture, Media & Sport Select Committee also seeks to address commercial radio deregulation aspects outlined in 2017, including the adaptation of regulations regarding music formats, local production, and news dissemination on digital platforms.

Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer commented, “Radio is hugely popular in the UK, serving up the soundtrack to the lives of millions every day. As modern technology changes how people tune in, we must ensure stations have the right support in place to keep listeners entertained and informed. As set out in the King’s Speech today, our Media Bill will maximize the potential of the booming success of British radio by requiring the most popular smart speaker platforms to ensure easy access to listeners’ favorite stations, and ripping up decades-old red tape holding back commercial stations.”

Radiocentre CEO Matt Payton welcomed the Media Bill, emphasizing, “We are delighted that the King’s Speech has confirmed the government’s intention to proceed with the Media Bill. Radio listening is stronger than ever, but the way people listen continues to change and shift to online platforms like smart speakers. The measures on radio in the Media Bill reflect this change and will help secure the future of the UK’s world-beating radio content, along with the value it provides to audiences. We now urge the government to commence the parliamentary process for the Media Bill at the earliest opportunity so that these new powers can become law.”

the strength of radio listening and the shift towards online platforms like smart speakers. Payton urged for the swift commencement of the parliamentary process to enact the Media Bill.  highlighted the enduring popularity of radio in the UK and stressed the need for appropriate support to help stations continue to reach their audiences amid technological changes.


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