BEIRG, the British Entertainment Industry Radio Group, will be declared the winner of the first Grand Prix prize at the Pro Sound Awards next month. The Awards team (editors of Intent Media titles Installation, PSNEurope, Audio Pro International, MI Pro, Audio Media, TVBEurope and Music Week) were in full agreement that the work of the campaigning action group should be presented with the accolade. The Grand Prix prize is sponsored by console manufacturer DiGiCo.
“BEIRG is absolutely delighted to pick up this award. To receive industry recognition for our collective efforts over the last nine years is very satisfying,” says the Group’s Alan March.
Since 2004, BEIRG has campaigned to ensure everyone involved in PMSE (Programme Making and Special Events) has continued access to sufficient quantities of interference-free spectrum. With continued financial input from companies, industry organisations and individuals, BEIRG has engaged with government, MPs, Ofcom, the European Commission and other stakeholders to ensure that the PMSE sector has a voice in the face of damaging spectrum management policies. (The picture above shows an image of Celtic Park courtesy of the forthcoming XX Commonwealth Games, Glasgow 2014, an event where availability and management of sufficient spectrum for broadcasters, reporters, referees and other wireless radio users will be paramount.)
To date, BEIRG has accomplished several key achievements. BEIRG’s early campaigning 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.
Faced with the possibility of no guaranteed quality spectrum allocation after Ofcom cleared Channel 69 to sell alongside 800MHz for mobile broadband, BEIRG’s second major success was to secure 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 pressurise the government into delivering compensation for PMSE equipment lost through the move to Channel 38. This culminated in BEIRG securing a commitment from the UK government to compensate users with 55% of the purchase price of their Channel 69 equipment.
The Group, with parliamentary and legislative support managed by its political team at Ranelagh International, continues to engage with Ofcom in developing UHF and PMSE strategies for the future. BEIRG will campaign resolutely to prevent the sell-off of 700MHz, or any other bands, for additional mobile broadband services at the expense of PMSE, as well as to secure a long-term home for the PMSE sector. It is also working hard to protect PMSE from the planned introduction of White Space Devices, which are likely to deprive or disrupt areas of interleaved spectrum currently used by PMSE.
“It's been a long road, and the journey is far from over,” says Alan March. “We would like to thank all of those companies, organisations and individuals who have supported us in the past and those that continue to support us today. Hopefully, this award will awaken more people to the issues that we still face and will result in even more support. The larger the membership, the stronger the message.”
BEIRG committee members will receive their trophy at the first Pro Sound Awards, to be held at the Ministry of Sound in London on 19 September. Headline sponsors for the event are DiGiCo and Sennheiser, with further sponsorship provided by Focusrite Novation, Fineline Media Finance, Genelec, Martin Audio, Medialease, Sony and ISE. The charity partner for the evening is Nordoff Robbins.