21 August 2001

Cross media public interest test for CTFM the Radio Authority invites comments

The Radio Authority has recently been notified by Kent Messenger Ltd that it has acquired a controlling interest in CTFM Ltd. CTFM Ltd broadcasts 106 CTFM Radio, the local radio station in Canterbury.

The Kent Messenger Group publishes several of the newspapers in the Canterbury area: The Canterbury KM Extra, The East Kent Mercury, The Kent Messenger, The Kentish Express and The Kentish Gazzette. Under broadcasting law a company which runs a local newspaper in the same area cannot own a local radio station unless a 'public interest test' shows that the arrangement would not be against the public interest.

As part of the public interest test, the Authority is seeking comments on the following matters:

  • will Kent Messenger Ltd’s control of CTFM Ltd lead to a reduction in plurality of ownership in the broadcasting and newspaper industries in the area concerned, and if so would that reduction be against the public interest?
  • will there be less diversity in the sources of information available, or
  • less diversity in the sources of the opinions expressed on the radio or in newspapers?
  • will there be any particular economic benefits as a result of Kent Messenger Ltd controlling 106 CTFM Radio instead of a company which was not connected to a newspaper?
  • how will the arrangements affect any aspects of the newspaper or radio markets in the area?

Comments on these matters should be made in writing to the Assistant Secretary - Licensing, The Radio Authority, Holbrook House, 14 Great Queen Street, London, WC2B 5DG to arrive by Monday, 17 September 2001.



1. 106 CTFM Radio broadcasts music and information aimed primarily at 25-54 year olds in Canterbury, Whitstable and Herne Bay. The station went on air on 21 September 1997.

2. Kent Messenger Ltd’s cross media public interest test submission is available for viewing at the Radio Authority's offices in London by appointment. Please contact the Press Office for details. A copy of the submission is also available for viewing at Canterbury Public Library.

3. The Radio Authority is responsible for licensing and regulating independent radio in accordance with the statutory requirements of the Broadcasting Acts 1990 and 1996. It plans frequencies, awards licences, regulates programming and advertising, and plays an active role in the discussion and formulation of policies which affect the Independent Radio industry and its listeners.