Future of the Audio Content Fund

The Audio Content Fund (ACF) is a scheme to provide funding for the creation of original radio production in the UK. The fund was originally part of a pilot Contestable Fund, financed by the UK Government, to support the provision and plurality of public service content.

It has been used to produce distinctive, public service radio content for broadcast on commercial and community radio, supporting programming that is traditionally more difficult to support on a commercial basis (such as documentaries, comedy, drama, events).

Following the conclusion of the pilot scheme period in March 2022, the ACF does not currently have any further funding in place to support programming (although it will continue to run until March 2023 in order to administer the remaining funded content).

In the meantime we have organised an Open Letter to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport to show that the Fund is well-supported by producers, radio stations, organisations, educators and audiences across the UK.

The Open Letter below will be sent to DCMS. We would like you to support the campaign to continue public funding of the Audio Content Fund by adding your name to the signatories list.

The most recent names added to the list are available below.

Signatories include:

Chloe Straw, Managing Director, AudioUK
Ian Moss, Chief Executive, Radiocentre
Colin Browne, Chair, Voice of the Listener and Viewer
Dom Chambers, Chair, Community Media Association
Phil Maguire OBE, Chief Executive, Prison Radio Association
Kellie While, Chair, Audio Production Awards
Phil Riley, Chair, Audio and Radio Industry Awards (ARIAs)
Matt Hill, co-founder, British Podcast Awards
Joby Waldman, on behalf of Multitrack Audio Fellowship and Reduced Listening
Dyfrig Davies, Chair, Teledwyr Annibynnol Cymru / Welsh Independent Producers
Tim Crook, Emeritus Professor, Media, Communications and Cultural Studies, Goldsmiths, University of London
Richard Berry, Senior Lecturer in Radio, University of Sunderland
Dr Caroline Mitchell, Associate Professor Radio and Participation, University of Sunderland
Professor Sean Street, Emeritus Professor of Radio, Bournemouth University
Deborah David Wilson, Head of Dept, Journalism and Media, Nottingham Trent University
Dr Lawrie Hallett, Senior Lecturer in Radio, University of Bedfordshire
Helen Boaden, Chair, Funding Panel, Audio Content Fund
Adam Uytman, Member, Funding Panel, Audio Content Fund
Mukti Jain Campion, Member, Funding Panel, Audio Content Fund
Kate Cocker, Member, Funding Panel, Audio Content Fund
David Lloyd, Member, Funding Panel, Audio Content Fund
Rob Littlejohn, Member, Funding Panel, Audio Content Fund
Matt Deegan, Station Manager, Fun Kids
Iain Meadows, Station Manager, Two Lochs Radio
Liam McCann, Programme Controller, Central FM
Suzy Lee, Station Manager, Radio Skye
Martin Mumford, Managing Director, Nation Broadcasting
Nick Pitts, Content Director, Jazz FM
Paul Sylvester
, Content Director, Absolute Radio Network
Andy Ashton, Network Content Director, Greatest Hits Radio
Paul Gerrard, Programme Director, Hits Radio
Gary Stein, Group Programme Director, Hits Radio Network
Rebecca Frank, Content Director, Kiss Network
Tony Moorey, Group Content Director, Magic, Absolute Radio, Scala Radio
Ric Blaxill, Content Director, Planet Rock, Kerrang Radio
Ben Cooper, Chief Content and Music Officer, Bauer Media 
Chris Hurst, CEO, Dee Radio Group
Neil Sloan, Group Content Director, Communicorp UK
Louis Timpany, CEO, Fix Radio
Phil Critchlow OBE, CEO and Founding Director, TBI Media
Stuart Morgan, Managing Director, Audio Always, Manchester
Bernard P Achampong, Director, Unedited
Nick Low, Managing Director, Demus Productions, Glasgow
Andy Cartwright, Managing Director, Soundscape Productions, Yorkshire
Nina Robinson, Soundtruism, Birmingham
Gus Beattie, Managing Director, Gusman Productions, Scotland
Andrew Mark Sewell, Creative Director, B7 Productions Limited
Simon Barnard, MD, Bafflegab Productions
Peter Curran, The Foghorn Company, making programmes in Northern Ireland
Peter Shevlin, Director, C60 Media
Callum Marks, Production Director, Listening Dog Media, Manchester
Alex Anderson, Director, Tandem Productions
Alex Jungius, Director, Distorted, Leeds
Richard Berry, Director and Kirsten Lass, Associate Director, Loftus Media 
Gregory Watson, Managing Director, Folder Media 
Ray Paul, Creative Director, The Playmaker Group
Eloise Whitmore, Managing Director, Naked Productions, Manchester
Rachel Barton, CEO, We Are Grape Ltd
Karen Pearson, CEO / Founder, Folded Wing, Essex 
Jon Holmes, Managing Director, Unusual
Melanie Harris, Managing Director, Sparklab Productions, Manchester
Trevor Dann, Creative Director, Trevor Dann’s Company, Herts
Chris Skinner, Vice President, Somethin’ Else
Mike Hally, Partner and Senior Producer, Square Dog Radio, Scotland
Tim Hammond, Managing Director, Listen
David Prest, Managing Director, Whistledown 
Leona Fensome, Creative Director & Oral Historian, Inkslingers Media
David Tyler, Producer, Pozzitive TV Ltd
Ashley Byrne, Creative Director, Made In Manchester
Caroline Raphael, Director, Dora Productions
Katharine Kerr, Director, Podcast Pioneers

Open Letter to The Rt Hon Nadine Dorries MP, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

Dear Secretary of State

Since April 2019, at the cost of just £1m a year, the Audio Content Fund has been commissioning a wide range of unique public service radio content for a wide range of commercial and community stations.

This has resulted in many positive benefits – commercial and community radio have been able to overcome the challenges of creating and airing new landmark content in a highly competitive environment; independent production companies around the UK have forged new creative partnerships with those stations and employed further audio professionals; and most importantly of all, audiences have benefited from some truly innovative, thoughtful and uplifting programmes broadcast on their stations of choice.

So far the ACF has commissioned 145 projects from 83 different suppliers, broadcast on 340 commercial and community stations, amounting to 620 hours of unique programming that is traditionally more difficult to support on a commercial basis.

The three mandatory criteria of quality, additionality and audience reach, which each new project must meet, along with the other five criteria of diversity, nations and regions, innovation, new voices and additionality, have ensured that the content is genuinely unique and not replicated on the BBC or elsewhere. It has funded everything from the first children’s soap opera on the radio; a tour of Manchester’s musical heritage; the first drama on Jazz FM; unique content in Welsh, Gaelic, Irish and Ulster Scots; and introduced a new range of diverse presenter talent on a major national network.

We are aware that DCMS will shortly be working with the Audio Content Fund to evaluate the scheme.  We are in no doubt that there is a good deal of evidence available that will demonstrate positive impact of the fund.

Radio’s unique relationship with the listener has also enabled the Government to reach out to diverse audiences which the BBC does not reach to the same extent. It has done so twice during the lifetime of the three-year pilot, once in 2020 with the special £400k Coronavirus round designed to lift the national mood through projects such as Absolute Radio 40s, celebrating VE Day’s 75th anniversary, and again at the beginning of 2021 with the £300k Loneliness Round, designed to tackle mental health issues caused by the lockdown periods.

We note that your department’s forthcoming Creative Industries Sector Vision is focussed on aspects such as growth, filling workforce gaps and looking at the role creativity has in wider society. Along with other measures, continuing to fund the ACF will help to ensure audio production is part of the overall success story of the UK’s creative industries going forward. To demonstrate the workforce impact, last year the ACF reported that the scheme, in just over two years of the three-year pilot, created 4,301 freelancer days, 141 part-time jobs and 28 full-time jobs.

The Fund has from the start taken a geographically agnostic approach and as a result has contributed to creating an enhanced share of voice from people across the UK and supporting the Levelling Up agenda. So far 62% of ACF grant funding has been awarded to companies outside the M25 and 65% of the projects awarded funding are based outside the M25.

The ACF’s creation has led to a wealth of important and exciting content, brought businesses together and created new jobs around the UK. Audiences have been able to enjoy its unique programmes and we call upon the DCMS to protect its future by allocating just £1m a year for its permanent continuation. This would be a good way to follow up on the work your department has already recently done to boost other creative sectors, for example the allocation of £21m to the UK Global Screen Fund and £8m to the UK Games Fund.

We do hope that your department will bear this in mind as it conducts its evaluation in a timely manner so that the continuation of the Fund can be secured while it remains in operation.

Sign the letter

When you add your signature below you will be sent a verification email. Check your inbox and click on the link to complete the sign-up process. By signing the letter, you agree to our using the data you provide for the purposes of the Audio Content Fund Future Campaign. Your name, title and organisation or company will be displayed on this website and shared with the DCMS. It may also be used for campaign promotional use, including press information.

Latest signatures

Tony Ricketts, Producer, Freelancer
Chris Collings, Director, Aspen Media Ltd
Rachel Oakes, Audio Producer , Freelance
Sam Coley, Course Leader, MA Media Production, Birmingham City University
Frank Kamau, Managing Director & Group Editor, Mojatu Foundation (Mojatu Magazine & Community Media)
Janieann McCracken, Audio Lecturer, University of Stirling
John Boyd, Audiosmith, By The Way
Mike Thornton, Audio Producer, Studio File
Magz Hall, Senior Radio Lecturer/Sound Artist, CCCU
Dominic de Terville, Director of Audio and Branded Content, Zinc Media Group
Neil Cowling, Founder, Fresh Air Production
Dominic Hawksley, Voice actor, Freelance
Rob Wills, Head of Broadcast, kmfm
Lewis Reeves, Production Coordinator, BBC
Daniel Rose, Media Consultant, DRA
Fergus Brazier, Freelance Radio Producer, BBC Audio
Liza Ward, Presenter, Journalist, Director, LJW Productions Limited
Sean Allsop, Factual Producer, Audio Always
Pennie Stuart, Director, Adventurous Audio
Aradhna Tayal, Director, Radio TechCon
Andy Coote, Director, SourceFM
Chiara Muzzi, Content Producer, CMFE
Lewis Harrower, Audio producer , Freelance
Andrea Elder, Communications and Events Coordinator, Greener Kirkcaldy
Sara Royle, Broadcast journalist/producer, Freelance
Sara Gosney-Hughes, Traffic and Travel Broadcaster, Inrix
Jodie Schofield, Radio producer/ presenter community radio , K107
Bukky Fadipe, Assistant Producer , Freelance/Unedited/Storyglass
Gareth Evans, Director / exec producer , 18Sixty
Jaja Muhammad, Audio Producer , Freelance
Alisdair McGregor , Sound engineer/ designer, Holy Mountain
Anya Goncharova, Head of Marketing, Message Heard
Bronwen Price, Voice actor, Freelance
Mike Butterworth , Retired , K107fm
Leon Gower, Podcast Producer / Content Producer, Freelance
Louise Morris, Producer, BBC
Clare Lynch, Audio Producer, Freelance
Victoria Spooner, Producer / Writer, Freelance
James Stodd, Senior Executive Producer, Hits Radio Network, Bauer Media
Karen Rose, Director, Sweet Talk Productions
Indigo Wallis, Social Media Assistant , Reform Radio
Danny Lawrence, Director, Gateway 97.8
Tufan Ayd?n, Composer, Ding Dong! Audio
Abi McNeil, Producer, Freelance
Nikki Cannon, Production Co-Ordinator, 7digital
Oliver Slow, Multimedia Journalist, Freelance
Annabel Ross, Audio Producer, Messages from the Wild Ltd
Olivia Humphreys, Audio Producer, Freelance
Jill Achineku, Assistant Producer, Whistledown Productions
Meera Kumar, Producer, Somethin’ Else
Elliot Greenfield, Producer, Bauer Media
Jodie Bryant, Producer, KISS FM
Briony Chappell, Digital Editor, KISS
Simon Monk, Deputy Director, BFBS
Jonty Crowley, Producer , Kiss Network
Paul Holmes , Client Relations, ReelWorld
Jay McGregor, Assistant Producer, Bauer Media
Mikey Watson, Producer, Kiss Network
Nik Goodman, Director, Bounce
Alarna Moles, Branded Content Producer, KISS / Bauer
Andy Buckingham, Director, togglebit
Faraz Osman, Founder & MD, Gold Wala
Nia Visser, Presenter and Content Producer, Freelance
Alex Airnes, Programming , K107fm
Jonathan Cresswell, Chief Creative Officer, Aiir
John Rosborough , Director, Belfast DAB Plus Ltd
Richard M White, Journalist, Writer, Audio Historian , Freelance
Steven Mitchell, Developer Producer, Un Film De
Kevin Field, Creative Director, Radio Wanno / Think Listener
Neil Gardner, Managing Director, Ladbroke Audio Limited
Laura Broderick, Producer, Mother of All Solutions
Izzy Yon, Director, Boldface
Jesse Lawson, Director , Boldface
Dave Masterman, Head Of Content, Audio Always
Craig Van Ness, Director, Neognosis Media Ltd.
Rosa Eaton, Freelance audio producer, Rosa Eaton
Kary Stewart, Producer, Journalist, Ignite Creative
Samuel Wilkins, Audio Producer, Freelance
Matt Payton, COO, Radiocentre
Scott Lyons, Creative Producer, Freelancer
Howard Shannon, Producer, Freelance (primarily Whistledown)
Steve Doherty, Managing Director , GIDDY GOAT PRODUCTIONS LTD, North Wales
Ravi Sagoo, Presenter/Producer, Freelance
Richard Ward, Audio Producer and Sound Designer, Freelance
Carrie Morrison, Producer & Presenter, Freelance
Katie Revell, Audio producer, Freelance
Chris Attaway, Audio Producer, Freelance
Sarah Myles, Audio Producer, Freelance
Katie Bilboa, Head of audio , Bird Lime Media
Eloise Stevens, Audio Producer, Freelance/The Conversation
Geoff Bird, Producer, Freelance
Karl Bos, Producer, Folded Wing
Polly Thomas, Audio drama producer, Freelance
Nada Smiljanic, Audio Producer, Freelance
Boz Temple-Morris, Director, Holy Mountain
Tim Wilson, Policy and Regulation Lead, AudioUK
Hedley Finn, Director, Local Media Network
Gary Robinson, gary@localmedia.network, Director
Dave Stankler, Director, Local Media Network
John Dash, CEO, Local Media Nightwork
Michael Ireland, Head of Public Affairs, Radiocentre
George Butler, Head of Marketing, Radiocentre
Shivani Dave, Director, Aunt Nell
Tash Walker, Director, Aunt Nell
Adam Zmith, Director and producer, Aunt Nell
Nigel Dallard, Trustee, Winchester Radio
Emma Wilson, Researcher/consultant, Freelance
Georgia Coan, Podcast Producer , BBC
Jamie Gibson, Researcher, BBC
Ken Bentley, writer/director, freelance
Helen Quigley, Audio Producer, Freelance
Renay Richardson, CEO, Broccoli Productions
Helen Brown , Podcast Managing Editor, Purposeful Podcasts
Maya Cross , Workshop Facilitator, Reform Radio
Terri Sweeney, Media Consultant , Terri Sweeney | Media Ltd
Beena Khetani, Talent Executive , BBC Studios formally of Sonder Radio
Will Jackson, Radio consultant, Soundhound Media
David Spencer, Owner, The Media Mentor
Nicholas Newton, Producer, Promenade Productions
Rajesh Thind, Director, Producer, Writer, PINDU Productions
Helen Ledwick, Podcast Producer, freelance, Why Mums Don’t Jump
Ben Walker, Director, Fuzz Productions Limited
Dave Jones, Voice Actor, Freelance
Josephine Coleman, Lecturer, Brunel University
Mark Machado, Head of Production, 11-29 Media
Leah Marks, Production Manager/Actor, Naked Productions
Lina Chang, Freelance Audio Producer, Freelance
Alex Lawless, Executive producer, Somethin’ Else
Graham Duthie, Managing Director , Marlow FM
Philippa Geering, Director, Sonderbug Productions Ltd
Matthew Healy, Senior Producer , We Are Grape
Travis Glossop, Producer, KISS FM UK
Sue Clark, Founder/Producer, Sue Clark Productions
George McDonagh, Podcast Producer, Freelance
Sam Parker, Creative Director, WIZZFX
Flora Zajicek, Freelance Producer, Na
Christopher Sully, Managing Director, Manx Radio
Steve Urquhart, Audio Producer & Sound Artist, Freelance
Chris Nicoll, Founding Director, WIZZFX
Rosie Boulton, Managing Director, Must Try Softer Productions – Birmingham
Emma Crampton, Audio Producer, Freelance
Anna Harrison, Executive Producer, Head On Media
Robin Warren, Audio Producer, Robin The Fog
Nic Desborough, Podcaster, Fluid
Tess Davidson, Freelance audio producer, freelance
Gabrielle Morris, Assistant Producer, TBI Media
Lucia Scazzocchio, Director / Audio Producer, Social Broadcasts
Miles Russell-Stracey, Audio Assisstant, Reform Radio
Ailsa Rochester, Executive Producer, Audio Always
Harry Cooke, Researcher, Novel
Eleanor Biggs, Audio Producer, Novel
Lucy Evans, Audio Producer, Freelance
Pippa Smith, Producer, Novel
Dan Trelfer, T V Producer and Podcast Writer, n/a
Ciara Bryan, Employment Lead, Reform Radio
Evie Robinson, Audience & Partnerships Manager, Novel
Mikaela Carmichael, Freelance researcher, N/A
Erik Bria, Audio Producer, Freelance
Madeleine Drury, Journalist, Freelance
DeMarkay Williams , Specialist Producer, Capital XTRA
Talia Augustidis , Freelance audio producer , NA
Matthew Faulkner, Sound Designer, Freelance
Jake Wittlin, Audio editor & sound designer, Jake Wittlin
Eleanor Rhode, Freelance Director, Freelance
Conall Miller, Engagement Support, Reform Radio
Autumn Browne, Radio Facilitator , Reform radio
Morgan Johnston , Audio Producer, Reform Radio CIC
Alice Reid, Content Creator, Reform Radio
Richard Miron , CEO, Earshot Strategies Ltd
Emma Roberts, Audio Producer, Freelance
Jake Warren, CEO and Founder, Message Heard
Rachel Byrne, Audio Producer, Rachel Byrne
Rory Brummitt-Evans, Studio Assistant , Reform Radio
Charlie Towler, Audio Producer, Multitrack & Reduced Listening
Wajid Yaseen, Director, Modus Arts
Cathy FitzGerald, Director, White Stiletto Ltd
Thomas Curry, Head of Podcasts, Vespucci
Rachel Roger, Director, Reform Radio
Jacob Bentley, Workshop facilitator, Sonder Radio
Cal Freeman, Content Creator, Reform Radio
Jamie Green, Audio Producer, Reform Radio
Olivia Swift, Producer and Podcasting Manager, Reform Radio CIC
Jemma Tanswell, Director , Reform Radio
Ben Tulloh, Director, Burning Bright Audio
Jules Hammond, Operations Manager, Mint & Co
Mike Swaine, Podcast producer, Low Key Audio
Marion Bettsworth, Assistant Producer, Tandem Productions Ltd
Nicola Hartley, CEO and Founder, Mint & Co
Dan Holland, Director, Adventurous Audio LTD
Jorja McAndrew, Assistant Producer, Listen Entertainment
Joe Haddow, Head Of Production, Spiritland Productions
Gareth Rhys, Presenter , Freelance
Gill Parry, Producer, feral inc
Toby Hilder, Studio Director, BBC
Dan McGrath, Music Producer, Cannon Studios Ltd
Jack Howson, Executive Producer, Reduced Listening
Dave Pickering, Podcaster and storyteller , Independent / Freelance
Dan Hudson, Host, A Gay And A Nongay Podcast
Beth Crane , Podcast writer , Battle Bird Productions/We Fix Space Junk
David Pascoe, Station Manager, Coast FM ( Penwith community radio station CIC)
Steve Austins, Director, Bengo Media
Monica Brown, Producer, Freelance
Catriona Oliphant, Founder Director, ChromeRadio
Tal Minear, Producer, Sidequesting
Oliver Morris, Audio Producer, Freelance
Ella Watts, Podcast Producer, BBC Studios
Sarah Devonald, Creative Director, Tandem Productions Ltd
Diane Hope PhD, Audio Producer & Sound Recordist, www.dianehope.com
hunter charlton, Producer, Burning Bright Audio
Gabriel Green, Creative Production Manager, A Million Ads
Laura mitchison, co-director, www.on-the-record.org.uk
Fiona Polly McDonald, TV Producer, self-employed
Kit Critchley, Freelance Audio Producer, Kit Critchley
Lyndsay Fenner, Producer, Mighty Bunny
Michael Curling, Producer, Freelance
Fendall Fulton, Freelance producer, Stabby Unicorn Media
Florian Bohr, Audio Producer, Freelance
Chrystal Genesis, Podcast Studio Owner , Stance Studios
Hannah Russell, Founder, Mags Creative
Stuart Beckwith, Producer, Marigold Audio
Harvey McCabe, Digital Specialist, Freelance
Pip Johnstone, Content creator, Freelance
Terry Newman, Writer, Freelance
Ali Beg, Project Manager, Awaaz FM Community Radio CIC
Andrew Cope, Director, Stafford FM
Kate Rudman, Kate@soundcommunities.co.uk, Sound communities CIC
Kate Arkless Gray, Content Creator/Editor, Freelance
hugh garry, Director, Storythings
Darrell Maclaine, Voice Actor, Composer, Sound Designer, Freelance
Robson James, Managing Director, AIR FM CIC (AIR 107.2)
Abiga Atiemo, CEO, Vanny Radio-Community Broadcasters
Nicholas Canham, Talent Manager, Vivienne Clore
Joe Parker, Chair, Radio West Fife (SCIO)
Greg Cochrane, Music journalist + broadcaster , New Allotment / Freelance
Chris Byland, Producer, Freelance
Gemma Ball, Project Coordinator , Buxton HAZ
Mike Hanson, Founder, Pod People Productions
Owen Hughes, Social media producer , Virgin Radio UK
Linden Wade, Producer/Director, Positive Media Company CIC
Andrew Peacock, Director, Positive Media Company
Ross Tilley, Creative Director, Hits Radio Pride, Bauer Media
Nicky Ness, Director of Broadcasting, BFBS
Zoë Anderson, Charity Lead and Podcast Creator, Charitable PR & Podcasts
Nathan Spackman, Co-Founder, Uk Community Radio Network
Martin Steers, Co-Founder, UK Community Radio Network
Paul Chantler, Director, Podcast Radio

Total signatures so far: 317