89/98 4 September 1998

CROSS MEDIA PUBLIC INTEREST TEST FOR TONBRIDGE/TUNBRIDGE WELLS/SEVENOAKS RADIO LICENCE
THE RADIO AUTHORITY INVITES COMMENTS

The Radio Authority has recently been notified by DMG Radio Ltd, a subsidiary of Daily Mail General Trust plc (DMGT), that it intends to acquire Kent & Sussex Radio Ltd. Kent & Sussex Radio Ltd broadcasts KFM, the local radio station for Tonbridge, Tunbridge Wells and Sevenoaks.

Daily Mail General Trust plc publishes the following local newspapers which circulate within KFM’s coverage area: The Kent and Sussex Courier, The Sevenoaks Chronicle, News in Focus and Sevenoaks News in Focus. It also owns the London Evening Standard, the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday. Under the provisions of the Broadcasting Act 1996, a company which owns a national newspaper, or a local newspaper in the same area, cannot own a local radio station 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 Kent & Sussex Radio Ltd was acquired by DGM Radio Ltd would it lead to a reduction in plurality of ownership in the broadcasting and newspaper industries in the area concerned, and if so would that reduction be against the public interest;
  • would there be less diversity in the sources of information available, or
  • would there be less diversity in the sources of the opinions expressed on the radio or in newspapers;
  • would there be any particular economic benefits if KFM was owned by DMG Radio Ltd instead of a company which was not connected to a newspaper; and
  • how would the arrangements affect any aspects of the newspaper or radio markets 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 1 October 1998.

NOTES TO EDITORS

1. KFM broadcasts adult contemporary hits and memories. The station went on-air on 8 July 1995.

2. DMG Radio Ltd’s cross media public interest test submission is available for viewing at the Authority's headquarters by appointment and a copy of the current 'promise of performance' for KFM is available by post from the Authority. Please contact the Press Office for details. A copy of the submission is also available for viewing at Tonbridge Library.

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 and Information 0171 430 2724
Out of hours 0370 375283