Barbados could to have two new radio stations on the air in the coming weeks.
Chairman of the soon-to-be-renamed and re-branded Barbados Broadcasting Authority (BBA) Dr Allyson Leacock told a news conference this afternoon at Government Headquarters that the board has already started to review the applications for the two radio licences.
“We are ready…I’m talking days, weeks because we already have applications and as long as the applicants can be given spectrum, we expect that would not be a lengthy process at all. The review has commenced and we have two at the moment and we expect that there will be more after people are aware that we are ready to roll out new applications,” Dr Leacock said.
She said while the two applications are for radio licences, there have been none for television as yet.
The former General Manager of the state-run Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) however told reporters the Authority does not want new applicants to duplicate existing formats and was therefore considering issuing licences in new categories such as talk radio – news and sports, all local radio and all music genres. She pointed out that this was not mandatory.
Dr Leacock said the BBA will also be facilitating the exposure and promotion of Barbadian creativity and culture.
“So there is no doubt about it, these platforms are another avenue to empower many of our creatives to be able to have their material more visible or more frequently aired on radio,” she added.
She contended that as the lines between broadcasting, social media and telecommunications continue to get thinner, there will be opportunities for many of the island’s bright young people to generate revenues from their creations and for media houses to capitalize on this showcase of the best of Barbados.
Dr Leacock said she expects that if there are applications for television licences the owners would also place greater emphasis on reflecting the Barbadian culture.
The chairman also placed broadcast media on notice that the Authority will be policing the various entities for acceptable standards and content.
“We are certainly looking at that very seriously. I would say however that policing in and of itself is a challenge because we have zero policing virtually online. So one of the things that we discussed this morning with the executives is the importance of media houses that also have online platforms, policing those platforms,” she said.
She disclosed that the board of the BBA has agreed that each member would adopt a station or two that they would monitor.
“And our desire to have access in social media that would allow the public to make inputs and give us feedback or to say ‘look, I heard this today and I was very unhappy with it.’ These are the kinds of collaborative approaches…it’s a collective because this is our Barbados…this is our society. And therefore if there are things we would like to see approved, while the ultimate responsibility may be ours, we could only do it as a collective, as a nation,” contended the head of the broadcast regulator.
Dr Leacock also announced that the Authority will be overhauled to reflect the new technological age.