BCC discusses Ofcom ruling on Bute FM

A RULING by communications regulator Ofcom that local radio station Bute FM had breached the terms of its licence was discussed by Bute Community council this week.

All three of the island’s Argyll and Bute Councillors told the meeting they were not members of the station’s steering group, and would not be interested in joining at present.

They were responding to a section in the Ofcom report on the licence breach which quoted station manager Iain Donald as having told the regulator that an Argyll and Bute councillor was now a member of the steering group.

Councillor Len Scoullar told the BCC: “I wrote a letter telling them I didn’t want to be on the board. I was also going to say it wouldn’t be in their interest to have a councillor as a member on a board, or their steering group or in their management. In the event that they needed the council to do something for them, that councillor would have to leave the room and declare an interest.”

Councillor Isobel Strong said she had exchanged emails with Mr Donald offering to help, but did not state she wished to be involved - she believed that her comments may have been misunderstood.

Councillor Strong also said she had asked Mr Donald whether there were plans to invite back any of the presenters who resigned last August.

She quoted a reply from Mr Donald stating: “Sadly some of the various presenters have chosen to burn their bridges with the station, our volunteers and the community and will not be invited back. There are a few who have conducted themselves with good grace and decency whom we would welcome back in the future.”

BCC members also discussed community council representation on the station’s steering group; Marlene Hill said she had been approached by Mr Donald to represent BCC, and had passed the request to BCC secretary Peter Wallace.

Chairman Donnie MacLeod stated that this was not the usual way to approach matters – it would be for the community council to ask for volunteers - but on asking for a proposer and seconder for Mrs Hill to be BCC’s representative, both were given.

Rosemary Laxton suggested the community council write to Bute FM to enquire about their future plans, but it was decided not to do so, as Mr Donald has already been invited to the next community council meeting in February.

Ofcom ruled last month that there had been a breach of licence condition 2(4) in Part 2 of the Schedule to the community radio licence held by Bute Community Media Limited.