The Radio Authority is next week (28 March) re-advertising the local radio licence for a service covering the towns of Royal Tunbridge Wells, Tonbridge and Sevenoaks, in Kent. This licence, for a service using two frequencies on the FM waveband, is currently held by Kent and Sussex Radio Ltd., broadcasting as Mercury 96.2 FM.
This licence was 'pre-advertised' in February, under the provisions of the 'special application procedure' introduced in the 1996 Broadcasting Act. Two 'declarations of intent to apply' were received, from the existing licence holder Kent and Sussex Radio Ltd. and one other party. Accordingly, the licence is now being fully re-advertised. It will be open to anyone (i.e. not confined to those who have previously submitted a declaration of intent) to apply.
The licence will be awarded for a period of eight years from 8 July 2003, following the expiry of the present licence. Anyone interested in applying for the licence should contact the Director of Development at the address given below. Prospective applicants will be sent an application form, notes of guidance on completing an application, and a coverage brief for this licence. The closing date for receipt of applications is Tuesday, 2 July, 2002. Applications (20 copies) must be submitted by 2.00 p.m. on that date; any applications delivered after this time will not be accepted. A non-refundable application fee of £1,500 will be payable, unless the application fee has already been paid in the course of an earlier submission of a 'declaration of intent to apply'.
The Authority welcomes views from the public about the local radio needs of listeners in this licence area, the extent to which these are met by the Mercury 96.2 FM service provided by the existing licensee, and the type of programme service required in future. These should be sent to the Director of Development, The Radio Authority, Holbrook House, 14 Great Queen Street, London WC2B 5DG, to arrive by Tuesday, 27 August 2002. The Authority expects to announce its decision on the licence award in the Autumn.
NOTES TO EDITORS
- This Independent Local Radio service, originally identified as KFM, started broadcasting in July 1995. The present licence holder, Kent and Sussex Radio Ltd., has recently been acquired by the KM (Kent Messenger) Group, subject to the satisfaction of a cross-media 'public interest test' which the Authority will be conducting shortly.
- 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.