29 May 2003
Radio Authority publishes assessment of local licence award for North Norfolk
The Radio Authority has today (29 May) published the details of its assessment of the local licence award for a service covering the coastal area of North Norfolk. The Authority awarded the licence to North Norfolk Radio Ltd. on 8 May 2003.
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.
LOCAL LICENCE AWARD: NORTH NORFOLK
ASSESSMENT OF SUCCESSFUL APPLICATION
BY NORTH NORFOLK RADIO LTD. (NNR)
Applications for a licence to serve the North Norfolk area were invited on 14 November 2002. By the closing date of 4 March 2003, two applications were received, as follows:
North Norfolk Radio Ltd. (NNR)
Go-FM (Absolute Radio Norfolk Ltd.)
The licence was awarded to North Norfolk Radio Ltd., to run for eight years from the date that the service commences broadcasting.
Assessment of the winning application
embers considered that NNR's proposals for a radio station for the North Norfolk area were well-researched, well-developed, and would result in a locally-relevant service of broad appeal.
The board of NNR has been in place since November 2001, and combines individuals with a proven track record in operating small-scale ILR services with prominent members of the local community. The group benefits from the involvement of Tindle Radio, a company with a successful history of operating small-scale radio stations. A number of these serve areas in the East of England, including The Beach in Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft, which will provide operational support with its news and sales functions, as well as general management assistance.
NNR intends to provide a music-led programme service with local news bulletins targeting an audience of 25-54 year olds. The programming will consist of 25-40% speech during weekday daytimes and 20-35% at weekends. Members considered that the quantity and variety of speech features which NNR had committed itself to broadcasting would easily meet these proposed speech levels, and noted that a relatively high speech commitment should help to attract older listeners, who represent an above-average proportion of the local population. Speech programming will include interviews with local people and a daily local history item, as well as coverage of farming issues and coastal conditions. The local focus of the speech should help to ensure that NNR's output is distinct from that of other stations which can be received in parts of the coverage area. The group's news proposals would guarantee bulletins containing local content throughout weekday daytimes, with an extended bulletin at 17.30, and until 13.00 on Saturday and Sunday. NNR proposes to employ two full-time journalists, and will have the support of other
Tindle-owned stations in the area, which should enable the group to deliver its proposals effectively. The music output will be differentiated from other services broadcasting in the area by capping the proportion of post-1999 material to 50% of the total music played. The group has also committed to providing two specialist music programmes, featuring 'soft rock' and 'soul and
motown', for broadcast at weekends. Members were impressed by the way in which the results of the group's robust audience research was used to inform its programme proposals.
NNR has carried out two trial broadcasts for this licence and has developed well-established relationships within the local community.
The Members acknowledged that, because of factors such as terrain and population distribution, achieving satisfactory coverage for the broadcast signal in this local area presented a considerable challenge to applicants. The successful applicant will be encouraged to explore the possibility of developing its transmission plans so as to optimise coverage within the licence area.
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 a local licence for the North Norfolk area, the Authority invited public comment on the local radio needs of listeners in this 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 sections of the public libraries in Cromer, Wells-next-the-Sea and
Fakenham, and at the Authority’s offices in London. A notice was issued on 4 March 2003 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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