10 JULY 1964, Page 15


Sia,—In the first paragraph of their article, Richard Hoggart and Stuart Hall rightly say that `to argue that local, commercial radio would be "free" is simply to assert more than we know.' Yet, for their own purposes, they are quite willing to make exactly the same type of mis-statement. 'Under the commer- cial system,' they write, 'you would expect to hear, as you moved up the MI from county to county, the same sort of disc-jockey putting on the same sort of programme (apart from a few local gimmicks) with the same interspersed advertisements.' How do they know that this will be the case? Arguments by analogy may suggest this—but analogies can be notoriously misleading. The density of our popula- ation means that we would probably demand a varied broadcasting service—which is what Pro- fessor Hoggart has elsewhere described as the aim. If commercial television has not entirely satisfied the original critics, it has certainly not been the. cultural disaster prophesied at its birth. There seems no good reason for condemning commercial sound radio—unless one's faith in the good taste of the public is non-existent.

Isn't it a fact that we don't yet know either the financial or the cultural effects of commercial sound radio? Messrs. Hoggart and Hall are tilting at ogres

of their own imagination. R. F. LAUGHTON Waldorf Hotel, Aldwych, WC2