RF sale sparks industry backlash

AUTHOR: Inavate

A massive radio frequency sale in the UK is threatening the entertainment industry, according to 21 organisations including PLASA and ABTT. As Ofcom sells off radio frequencies, commonly used for wireless microphones, the UK entertainment industry will have to replace affected equipment at a potential a cost of millions.

The 21 organisations, under the umbrella ‘Save our Sound UK’, are calling on the Government, which is set to absorb the revenue created by the sale, to provide adequate funding to help their migration to new technologies.

Harvey Goldsmith CBE, music promoter and organiser of Live Aid, said the industry had to react quickly. “Yesterday Save our Sound UK wrote to Lord Mandelson to raise these crucial issues and urge the Government to intervene. The valuable real estate we are talking about will be sold-off very soon, and there will be no second chance to secure the future of those affected. The time to act is now’.

Save our Sound UK claims the funding scheme that Ofcom has put forward is “totally inadequate”, describing it as “a compulsory purchase order with little or no compensation”.

Under their proposed terms (1) only equipment that tunes to 8MHz out of the total 120MHz due to be sold would be eligible and (2) amounts provided would be based on an estimate of ‘residual value’ of equipment rather than what it will cost to replace.

Save our Sound UK is a joint initiative launched by the following organisations:
ABTT – Association of British Theatre Technicians
AMPS – Association of Motion Picture Sound
APRS – Association of Professional Recording Services
BECTU – Broadcasting Entertainment Cinematograph and Theatre Union
BEIRG – British Entertainment Industry Radio Group
CPA – Concert Promoters Association
Equity – the Actors and Artists Union
FEU – Federation of Entertainment Unions
IBS – Institute of Broadcast Sound
MIA – Music Industries Association
MU – Musicians Union
NCA – National Campaign for the Arts
NUJ – National Union of Journalists
PFA – Professional Footballers Association
PLASA – Professional Lighting and Sound Association
PSA – Production Services Association
RSC – Royal Shakespeare Company
SOLT – Society of London Theatre
TMA – Theatrical Management Association
The Writers Guild of Great Britain
Unite – Britain’s biggest union