Amazing Radio: 'BBC is a copycat'

Monday, November 9 2009, 14:11 GMT

By Andrew Laughlin,

Amazing Radio has filed a complaint with the BBC Trust alleging that the BBC Introducing website is a copy of its own service which threatens to distort market competition.

Launched on DAB in June 1, Amazing Radio only plays music from unsigned artists who have uploaded their material on the Amazing Tunes site.

However, the company recently took umbrage at the BBC Introducing platform, which also backs new and unsigned artists, reports The Guardian. The BBC's service has grown steadily in profile since it launched in 2007, including festival collaborations and various spots on the corporation's local radio stations.

In a letter to the Trust, Amazing Media Group chief executive Paul Campbell claimed that the site was an unnecessary copy of his own commercial offering.

He further said that the expanding platform now significantly threatens the prospects of Amazing Radio, which was made available two years earlier using private funds.

"It is an outrage that the BBC should use public funding to copy our concept and, by default, seek to put us out of business. This is to all intents and purposes a direct copy of our privately funded concept," said former BBC employee Campbell, who lodged the complaint following concerns raised by his investors.

"I am dismayed that my former employer should behave in so aggressive a manner towards a private British company. I would ask that the BBC Trust investigate BBC Introducing as a matter of urgency."

Campbell also likened BBC Introducing to the ill-fated online education platform BBC Jam, which was shut by the Trust in 2007 following complaints from commercial rivals.

In response, a BBC spokeswoman denied Campbell's allegations and also stressed that backing new talent was a core part of the corporation's remit.

"We strongly refute this suggestion. Supporting new talent is at the core of the BBC's mission and BBC Introducing has been offering unique broadcast and performance opportunities to new and unsigned musicians for over two years," she said.

"We are very proud of the work BBC Introducing does in championing new artists but, as it offers quite different opportunities to other new music schemes, we would encourage new bands to explore all the avenues open to them."

Last month, the Trust ruled that the BBC Executive "failed in its duty to conduct appropriate competitive impact principle assessments" in regards to the launch of its educational websites, such as Learning Zone and BBC Bitesize.