26 September 2001
Radio Authority publishes assessment of re-awarded local licence for North London
The Radio Authority has today published the details of the North London local licence re-award made to London Greek Radio on 6 September 2001.
A copy of the full assessment is attached.
NOTE TO EDITORS
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.
RE-ADVERTISED LICENCE AWARD: NORTH LONDON (HARINGEY)
ASSESSMENT OF SUCCESSFUL APPLICATION BY
LONDON GREEK RADIO
Applications for the re-advertised licence for an area of North London, focusing upon Haringey and surrounding boroughs, were invited on 7 February 2001. By the closing date of 8 May 2001, two applications were received, from:
Fusion FM Ltd. (Di' Fusion)
London Greek Radio Ltd., the existing licence holder.
A third application was received after the 2.00pm deadline for submissions. This was declared invalid and was therefore not considered for award.
The licence was re-awarded to London Greek Radio on 6 September 2001, to run for a further period of eight years from 1 January 2003.
Assessment of the application
Authority Members appreciated the cogent and well-presented application proposals submitted by London Greek Radio (LGR) for the re-award of this licence.
LGR proposes to continue its ‘full service’ station for the Greek speaking listeners and for the second and third generation Greek community which is well represented within the population in this part of North London. LGR’s service has successfully catered for the tastes and interests of that community, and broadened the choice of local radio stations available in the area by virtue of its very distinctive nature. The main alteration to its current service which is planned for the new licence period is an increase in the level of English and bi-lingual programming to an average, rather than a maximum, of 15%. This programming would predominantly be broadcast during the evenings, when young listeners are available. The station also proposes increasing the amount of music popular with a younger age group, such as 'moderna' and 'elfra'; again this increase would be most in evidence during the evenings, and at weekends. Members considered that the wide-ranging speech content proposed by LGR for its new licence term particularly the review and discussion programmes and its comprehensive news service, was impressive.
Members noted that LGR is a well-established and operationally successful company with proven commitment to providing a quality service to its community. Its application demonstrated prudent and achievable financial forecasts, based on previous experience, and a sensible business plan. LGR is deeply involved with its community and has established a range of relationships with charitable and educational organisations. As a result, the degree of local support which its application had drawn was substantial.
When licensing Independent Radio services, it is the duty of the Authority under the Broadcasting Act 1990 ("the Act") to do all that it can to secure the provision within the UK of a range and diversity of local services (section 85(2)(b) of the Act). Furthermore, under section 85(3) of the Act the Authority must discharge its functions in the manner which it considers is best calculated to:
(a) facilitate the provision of licensed services which (taken as a whole) are of high quality and offer a wide range of programmes calculated to appeal to a variety of tastes and interests; and
(b) ensure fair and effective competition in the provision of such services and services connected with them.
Under section 105 of the Act, the matters to which the Authority shall have regard when determining whether, or to whom, to grant a local licence are:
(a) the ability of each applicant to maintain the proposed service throughout the licence period;
(b) the extent to which the proposed service would cater for the tastes and interests of persons living in the area or locality for which the service would be provided, and, where it is proposed to cater for any particular tastes and interests of such persons, the extent to which the service would so cater;
(c) the extent to which the proposed service would broaden the range of programmes available by way of local services to persons living in the relevant area or locality, and, in particular, the extent to which the service would cater for tastes and interest which are different from those already catered for by existing local services in the area; and
(d) the extent to which any application is supported by persons living in that area.
While the requirements of sections 85 and 105 of the Broadcasting Act 1990 will invariably form the basis of all awards and re-awards, each licence award will be made on an individual basis, with regard to the factors which, in the view of the Authority, are particularly relevant to that case.
The existing licence for the North London (Haringey) area, held by London Greek Radio Ltd., expires on 31 December 2002. The licence was 'pre-advertised' in November 2000 under the provisions of the 'special application procedure' introduced in the 1996 Broadcasting Act. Two 'declarations of intent to apply' were received, and therefore the licence was fully re-advertised. The Authority invited public comment on the local radio needs of listeners in the area, and the type of programme service required. Copies of the non-confidential sections of the applications were made available for public inspection in the reference section of Wood Green Library, and at
the Authority’s offices in London. A notice was issued on 8 May 2001 inviting public comments on the applications. The Authority took all replies into account when reaching its decision.
The application was considered carefully by the Authority in accordance with the Act, and as against the advertised criteria set out in the Authority’s Notes of Guidance for Local Licence Applicants (Re-advertised Licences) and the coverage brief for this licence, issued at the date of the licence re-advertisement.
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