There are nearly 250 Ofcom-licensed community radio stations broadcasting in locations across the UK. These stations are small, not-for-profit services which bring a range of benefits to their target communities, and are run with the help of volunteers.
Ofcom is coming to the end of its third round of community radio licensing and would like to offer more licences where suitable spectrum is available. We propose to run a fourth round, which will be shorter and more focused than previous rounds, and this consultation seeks views on our preferred licensing approach for this forthcoming round.
We have had feedback regarding our current technical policy. Some existing stations and applicants feel that it does not sufficiently take into account individual station requirements, which may differ. As a result, we are considering changing it. We are seeking views on a revised technical policy which would take into account individual stations’ requirements, and consider requests from stations to improve the coverage in the area they are licensed to cover and/or to extend the area they are licensed to cover to an adjoining area or locality.
We are also seeking views on which aspects of our community radio work we should be prioritising after our current round of licensing is completed. We currently consider that inviting applications for new licences should be our first priority, followed by considering requests for improvements to coverage within the existing licensed area, and requests for extending licensed areas into an adjoining area or locality, and then planning for the future licensing of small-scale DAB services.