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UK Regulator Launches Investigation into Murdoch’s TalkTV over Politicians Presenting News

“This will be carried out by an expert research agency and we aim to publish the findings later this year.”

Maddy Troy

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TalkTV

Ofcom, the media regulator in the UK, has initiated investigations into GB News and TalkTV, owned by Rupert Murdoch, due to concerns over the employment of serving politicians as presenters on right-wing television channels.

The emergence of GB News and TalkTV, which offer opinionated television news content in a manner not typically seen in British television, has posed a challenge for Ofcom as it tries to apply a broadcast code that was developed during an era dominated by the BBC and ITV.

Current British broadcast rules prohibit serving politicians from acting as news presenters on television and radio, unless there are exceptional circumstances. However, there is a distinction allowing politicians to host current affairs discussions, although the line between the two categories is becoming increasingly blurred.

Any potential changes to the rules regarding politicians as presenters could be politically contentious, particularly considering that the main beneficiaries of these new channels have been Conservative Members of Parliament.

Ofcom has received 40 complaints regarding the former Conservative minister Jacob Rees-Mogg acting as a newsreader on a breaking news story following a court verdict involving Donald Trump’s alleged sexual abuse of a journalist.

The regulator is also investigating whether Murdoch’s TalkTV violated impartiality rules in relation to comments made by Alex Salmond, the leader of the Alba party. Salmond hosted a discussion in April questioning whether the SNP, his former party, was impeding progress towards independence.

According to The Guardian, GB News is already under investigation by Ofcom for allowing serving Tory MPs Esther McVey and Philip Davies to interview Conservative chancellor Jeremy Hunt about his spending plans. The regulator is assessing whether the MPs, who are married and earned around £1,000 per episode, ensured a diverse range of viewpoints when interviewing a colleague.

The competition among sitting Tory MPs for lucrative presenting roles on these new channels is evident. Other MPs with their own shows include Lee Anderson on GB News, who filmed a promotional video for his broadcast on the roof of Parliament, and Nadine Dorries on TalkTV, who has indicated her intention to step down as an MP.

Ofcom stated, “The rules around politicians presenting programmes were first introduced in 2005. Given the rise in the number of current affairs programmes presented by sitting politicians and recent public interest in this issue, we are conducting new research to gauge current audience attitudes towards these programmes.

“This will be carried out by an expert research agency and we aim to publish the findings later this year.”

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Media Business

Curtis LeGeyt: NAB ‘Depend on AM’ Radio Campaign ‘Played Crucial Role’ in Support for Congressional Bill

“We are making significant progress, but our work is far from over.”

Barrett News Media

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A photo of Curtis LeGeyt
(Photo: Jay Mallin NAB)

The AM Radio for Every Vehicle Act continues to wait to be voted on by both houses of Congress. NAB President/CEO Curtis LeGeyt believes an initiative from the organization played a paramount role in garnering support for the legislation.

In a story authored by the executive for Radio Ink, he made the case that the “Depend on AM” campaign released by the organization was pivotal for Congressional support for the industry.

“The NAB’s Depend on AM campaign has played a crucial role in rallying this support. We’ve emphasized the importance of AM radio not just as a cultural, news and sports hub, but also as the resilient lifeline during emergencies, offering unmatched reach and reliability,” LeGeyt wrote. “This legislation ensures that AM radio remains accessible to all Americans, especially during public safety crises. We are making significant progress, but our work is far from over.”

Curtis LeGeyt claimed more than 250 members of the House of Representatives and 62 Senators have backed the bill that would require automakers to include AM radios in new and electric vehicle models or require manufacturers to inform customers the new model was not equipped with the band.

The NAB has been a vocal proponent of the bill’s passage, with LeGeyt testifying in front of Congress in support of the legislation.

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Media Business

Local News Becoming Less Prevalent on Radio, New RTDNA Study Shows

68.4% of locally-owned operations air local news updates, while 54.1% of non-locally owned outlets do the same.

Barrett News Media

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RTDNA logo

Local news has been a focal point for radio stations for decades. But that may be fading away, a new RTDNA study shows.

65% of commercial stations still air local news in 2024, down slightly from 66.2% in 2023. Non-commercial stations have dropped 12% points in the past two years, down to just 60.7% airing local news.

However, the disconnect appears to come from locally owned stations versus non-locally owned. 68.4% of locally-owned operations air local news updates, while 54.1% of non-locally owned outlets do the same.

Not only are there drops in the number of stations broadcasting local news, but the airtime those updates occupy has also shrunk, according to the RTDNA study.

“The biggest drop in average minutes came in large markets, suggesting that fewer all news or news/talk stations there filled out the Survey this year,” the study states. “Medium markets are down a bit; small markets dropped an average of over 20 minutes per weekday.”

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Media Business

YouTube Largest Podcast Discovery Platform By Wide Margin, Westwood One Study Shows

Not only is the Google-owned video platform the most used among podcast newcomers, but it also holds that distinction for heavy podcast consumers and longtime podcast listeners.

Barrett News Media

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A photo of the YouTube logo displayed on a phone

In the span of three years, YouTube has gone from the third most popular podcast discovery platform to the top spot, a Westwood One study suggests.

In a study of more than 600 weekly podcast listeners, 31% say YouTube is the most utilized podcast listening platform. 21% say they use Spotify most frequently, while 12% claimed Apple Podcasts was their go-to destination.

Not only is the Google-owned video platform the most used among podcast newcomers, but it also holds that distinction for heavy podcast consumers and longtime podcast listeners.

YouTube’s podcast listening profile is slightly more male-dominated and also younger than the typical Apple Podcasts audience, according to the results from Westwood One Audio Active Group.

Naturally, the majority of Apple and Spotify users utilize smartphones to access their favorite podcasts, while 38% of YouTube’s audience uses computers and televisions for their favorite shows.

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