BEIRG moves forward with added industry support
Wednesday, 10 March 2021
beirg-logoThe organisation has a new logo and new website
UK - The British Entertainment Industry Radio Group (BEIRG) will push into 2021 with a new logo and website, but “the same determination to ensure that the UK entertainment industry has access to enough quantity and quality of spectrum to maintain its position as a world leader,” says the organisation.
At the end of 2020, the steering group was bolstered with the return to the group of industry veteran John Steven, who had served on the steering group from 2006 until 2015; Jonathan Edwards from Terry Tew Sound & Light; and Phillip Brown from the Society of London Theatre. Meanwhile, familiar industry faces and BEIRG veterans Duncan Bell, Tuomo Tolonen and Andy Lillywhite remain steadfast in their drive on the steering group, and Anna Wolffe of Ranelagh provides support and expert strategic political guidance as she has done for nearly 10 years.
The group has expanded with representation from PLASA, who were closely involved with the steering group in the beginning of the political lobbying process and have retained close ties ever since, and ABTT (Association of British Theatre Technicians) who have also been major BEIRG supporters.
Commenting on the new relationship, PLASA MD Peter Heath states: “PLASA has supported BEIRG from the beginning and on behalf of PLASA members would like to recognise the significant contribution BEIRG has made in ensuring the Live Events industry’s continued access to spectrum over many years. Now is absolutely the right time to formalise that relationship with more direct input from us and our colleagues at ABTT.”
Robin Townley, chief executive at ABTT, adds: “We have been a supporter of BEIRG’s work for a long time. We are delighted to be expanding that partnership, and look forward to growing the support and recognition for BEIRG's work through close collaboration with our members and partners.”
Since it was founded in 2004, and following the introduction of the Steering Group in 2006, has campaigned to ensure everyone involved in PMSE (Programme Making and Special Events) has continued access to sufficient quantity and quality of interference-free spectrum.
With ongoing financial input from companies, industry organisations and individuals, BEIRG has continued to engage with government, MPs, Ofcom, the European Commission and other stakeholders, to ensure that the PMSE sector has a voice in the face of potentially damaging spectrum management policies.
To date, BEIRG has accomplished several key achievements. Its early campaigning and political lobbying successfully raised awareness in the UK parliament, with help from some influential MPs, including Peter Luff when he was chair of the business select committee. This led to a significant shift in Ofcom’s approach to managing the ‘Digital Dividend’, effectively saving the PMSE sector from market failure through careful licensing and protected access, agreed in December 2007.
BEIRG also successfully galvanised different sectors of the industry behind the PMSE Pro User Group to successfully deliver a more unified voice. An initial announcement from Ofcom of their intention to clear ‘the 800MHz band’ in the form of 806MHz to 854MHz (TV channels 63 to 68), for Mobile Broadband was greeted with a mixed reaction by the PMSE users at the time. Since this spared the UK PMSE users much loved ‘Ch.69’ many users were initially unconcerned. A few months later however Ofcom made a new announcement that it would in fact be clearing a much larger band from 790MHz to 862MHz, all the way from Ch.61 to Ch.69.
Faced with the possibility of no guaranteed quality spectrum allocation after Ofcom cleared Channel 69 to sell alongside the rest of the 800MHz band for mobile broadband, BEIRG’s persistence led to the industry securing a like-for-like replacement for Channel 69. Channel 38 was announced as a UK-wide exclusive channel for PMSE users in June 2009.
Following this announcement, BEIRG launched a high-profile campaign, Save Our Sound UK, to encourage the government into delivering compensation for PMSE equipment lost through the move to Channel 38. Save Our Sound UK was a banner campaign that united the views of over 20 organisations and industry bodies from all sectors of the entertainment industry. This culminated in securing a commitment from the UK government to compensate users with 55% of the purchase price of their Channel 69 equipment.
More recently, BEIRG’s work and long-standing co-operation with Ofcom and the Government led to another compensation package being approved and initiated with the clearance of 700MHz for yet more mobile broadband services.

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