73/98 16 July 1998

PUBLIC INTEREST TEST FOR HEREFORD AND WORCESTER
THE RADIO AUTHORITY INVITES COMMENTS

The Radio Authority has recently been notified by Murfin Music International Ltd which holds the licence for Sunshine 855 (a service which broadcasts on AM in Ludlow) that it intends to acquire Classic Gold 954/1530 (which broadcasts on AM in Hereford and Worcester) from Radio First plc. These stations’ coverage areas overlap to a significant extent.

Under the provisions of the Broadcasting Act 1996 a company cannot own two overlapping local AM services – unless the Authority conducts a public interest test and is satisfied that the arrangement would not operate against the public interest.

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

  • if the licence for Classic Gold 954/1530 was held by Murfin Music International Ltd would it lead to a reduction in plurality of ownership in Hereford and Worcester’s Independent Local Radio services and if so would that reduction be against the public interest;
  • would there be an effect on the range of programmes available on Independent Radio in the area;
  • would there be less diversity in the sources of information available in the area or
  • less diversity in the sources of the opinions expressed on the radio in the area.

Comments on these matters should be made in writing to the Licensing Officer The Radio Authority Holbrook House 14 Great Queen Street London WC2B 5DG to arrive by 12 August 1998.

ENDS

NOTES TO EDITORS

1. Classic Gold 954/1530 broadcasts hits from the 1960 and 1970’s. The station went on-air on 14 October 1982. Sunshine 855 has been broadcasting melodic popular music since 1 October 1992.

2. Murfin Music International Ltd’s public interest test submission is available for viewing at the Authority's headquarters by appointment. Copies of the current 'promises of performance' for Classic Gold 954 and Sunshine 855 are available by post from the Authority. Please contact the Press Office for details. Copies of the submission are also available for viewing at Hereford and Worcester libraries.

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.

Contact: Tracey Mullins 0171 405 7058
Press & Information Office 0171 430 2724
Out of Hours 0370 375283