163/99 9 November 1999

PUBLIC INTEREST TEST FOR MANCHESTER AM AND WARRINGTON FM RADIO LICENCES THE RADIO AUTHORITY INVITES COMMENTS

The Radio Authority has recently been notified by The Wireless Group Ltd, which holds the licence for Signal FM (the Stockport FM licence), that it intends to acquire Independent Radio Group plc, which holds licences for 1458 Lite AM (Manchester) and 107.2 Wire FM (Warrington).

Under the provisions of the Broadcasting Act 1996, a company can only own three overlapping local licences if 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 licences for Lite AM and Wire FM were held by The Wireless Group Ltd, would it lead to a reduction in plurality of ownership in the independent local radio services in the Greater Manchester area, 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 3 December 1999.

ENDS

NOTES TO EDITORS

1. 1458 Lite AM has been providing an easy listening and news service since 20 June 1994. 107.2 Wire FM broadcasts adult contemporary and classic hits of the 80’s and 90’s, local news and information. It went on-air on 1 September 1998. Signal FM is a classic hits service, which has been broadcasting since 17 February 1990.

2. The Wireless Group Ltd’s public interest test submission is available for viewing at the Authority's offices by appointment. Copies of the submission are also available for viewing at Manchester, Warrington and Stockport libraries. Copies of the current formats for Lite AM, Wire FM and Signal FM are available by post from the Authority. Please contact the Press Office for details.

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:
Press enquiries: 
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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