26 September 2001

Radio Authority publishes assessment of new local licence for Rugby

The Radio Authority has today published the details of its assessment of the Rugby local licence award made to Rugby FM on 6 September 2001.

A copy of the full assessment is attached.



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.








Applications were invited on 21 December 2000. By the closing date of 10 April 2001, four applications were received, as follows:

Fosseway Radio (Jet FM Ltd.)

The Lion (Lion Radio Ltd.)

Rugby FM (Rugby Broadcasting Company Ltd.)

Rugby 1 (Rugby On Air Co. Ltd.)

The licence was awarded to Rugby FM on 6 September 2001, to run for eight years from the date the service commences broadcasting.

Assessment of the winning application

Rugby FM's board brings together individuals with a strong local profile and relevant experience, and the group benefits from containing well-established radio and newspaper interests as well as other local business involvement. Its investors include companies with current experience of running small-scale local stations in similar markets. The group remains largely unchanged since its application for a licence in a neighbouring area in 1997, and has demonstrated its ongoing commitment through operating trial broadcasts in Rugby subsequently.

Members welcomed the fact that the group used its research surveys to inform its programming proposals. Rugby FM proposes a full service radio station, targeting a broad range of listeners aged 25 to 54. The service will be primarily music-led, with a commitment to at least 20% speech content which will include features such as 'Network Neighbourhood', a local access programme, as well as tourist information, travel, and weather features. Rugby FM has established a news-sharing arrangement with the Rugby Evening Telegraph in addition to its in-house team of two full-time journalists, and consequently its plans for a local news service are well developed. The group has committed to broadcast regular, locally produced news bulletins throughout weekday daytimes and until lunchtime at weekends, as well as a separate daily business news bulletin.

Members took the view that Rugby was a sufficiently large and commercially vibrant town to be able to support a free-standing local radio service of its own. Rugby FM’s forecasts of the amount of advertising revenue that it could obtain from this local area during the early years of the licence period, while ambitious in relation to the revenue generated by some comparable stations elsewhere, were nevertheless potentially achievable. This group had also produced reasonably prudent estimates of the operating costs for a service of this scale. It proposed that support in some ancillary functions of the business will be provided by Kix 96 in Coventry.

Rugby FM received a substantial amount of local support, generated by the two trial broadcasts it has carried out in the town over the past three years and its involvement with the local community. The Authority received a notable number of letters of support from local people who had listened to its broadcasts.

Background to award

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 interests 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, 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.

When it advertised the availability of the Rugby local licence the Authority invited public comment on the local radio needs of listeners in this area, and the type of programme services required. Copies of the non-confidential sections of the applications were made available for public inspection in the information section of Rugby public library and at the Authority’s offices in London. A notice was issued on 10 April 2001 inviting public comments on the applications. The Authority took all replies into account when reaching its decision.

All of the applications have been 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 and the coverage brief for this licence, issued at the date of the licence advertisement. The applicants were invited to respond to written questions on programming, audience and support, and finance. Telephone interviews were conducted on the composition and history of the applicant groups.



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Julie McCatty, Chief Press Officer: 020 7887 4292
Kerry Curtis, Press & Information Officer: 020 7887 4290
Out of hours 07770 375283

General enquiries:
Press and Information Office: 020 7887 4294 or 020 7405 7058


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