Saturday 5 September 2009

Wrexham Radio Station Promotes UKIP

A pioneering radio station which was the first community radio station in Wrexham back in 1997 and the first to launch an exclusive online radio service for the town in September 2008 is first again, by creating promotional advertisements to play on the air for UKIP.

Wrexham FM managers John Humberstone and Roy Norry came upon the idea after observing a virtual blanking of UKIP by the mainstream media. The adverts feature quotes and sound bites from UKIP leader Nigel Farage in what Roy Norry describes as “a powerful series of messages”.

The managers of the radio station checked broadcasting regulations of Internet radio stations and found there is no restriction in place. Roy Norry said “We’re pretty free to do as we wish, and in view of recent media reluctance in general to acknowledge UKIP, and in view of the overtly biased coverage that the BBC gave to everyone except UKIP in the Norwich by-election, I wanted a chance to redress the balance, and as it happens John was thinking along similar lines. There followed a discussion with a UKIP Wales representative who was delighted with the idea”.

The UKIP radio adverts are viewed by the managers of Wrexham FM as “an innovation in online community broadcasting”. Licensed FM stations in the UK which are regulated by Ofcom are not allowed to broadcast political adverts and stations that fail to observe this particular piece of Ofcom code are punished with heavy fines and a possible revocation of their broadcasting license. Roy Norry said “Why shouldn’t bona-fide political parties be allowed to advertise online if they choose to? The rule is as archaic as the one which for years prevented solicitors from advertising on radio stations.

“We are now in the digital age, an age of innovation and an age of pushing new boundaries, and Wrexham FM is once again leading the way in innovative programming by doing something that other radio stations dare not do and cannot do, legally.

“In addition, and just as important, all of my personal dealings with UKIP have been with an army of volunteer workers who live in the community and who work hard for the party because they believe that it will make their community and quality of life better, and that makes local political parties no different to other local community groups who are striving to better their environment through what they believe in, be it religious organisations, charitable groups or social organisations, all of which are allowed to promote themselves on radio. So why can’t local political parties? As far as I’m concerned there is a place for everyone on Wrexham FM if they care to make use of it”.