Small-scale DAB is an innovative technology which provides a low-cost route for local commercial, community and specialist music services to broadcast on terrestrial digital radio to a relatively small geographical area.
A number of small-scale DAB multiplexes have been running on a trial basis over the past five years, but Ofcom is now advertising non-trial small-scale radio multiplex licences. Radio stations wishing to broadcast their service via a small-scale DAB multiplex need to apply at the appropriate time for either a Digital Sound Programme (’DSP’) licence or a new Community Digital Sound Programme (‘C-DSP’) licence.
We have received a large number of applications for licences to broadcast drive-in services, including drive-in movies and drive-in church services.
We acknowledge that carefully planned drive-in events may be a way for people to come together and still observe social distancing, but the laws and guidance in relation to whether they may lawfully be held are different in different parts of the UK. These laws and guidance may also be subject to change, and with little advance warning, depending on the progress of the coronavirus pandemic.
At the start of lockdown, we developed a new temporary licence product in light of the extraordinary circumstances of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. This licence is for those wanting to provide a radio service designed specifically to share information, news and updates about the Covid-19 pandemic with their community.
A short-term restricted service licence (SRSL) is a short-term radio licence broadcast on AM or FM analogue radio, granted for coverage of events, religious festivals or for trial broadcasts in preparation for applying for a longer-term licence. SRSLs are usually granted for a maximum of 28 consecutive days and are for small-scale community use. The service is restricted in both coverage and duration to make optimal use of the radio spectrum available for this type of licence, and to satisfy as far as is practicable the level of demand from applicants.
As existing commercial analogue radio licences approach their expiry date, our general approach is to issue a "pre-advertisement", inviting current or potential licensees to declare their intentions to apply. If more than one applicant declares an interest, we will issue a full re-advertisement of the licence and assess these according to our criteria. We will also advertise any licences that become available, for example if surrendered by the current licence holder.
A more straightforward way of setting up a radio service is to start an internet/intranet radio station. We do not regulate online-only radio services, and so these stations do not require a licence from Ofcom.
However, to play any music on an online station, you will need the relevant licences from the music royalty collection agencies, PPL and PRS for Music. These organisations operate separately from Ofcom, and you will need to contact them directly to find out if there are any additional requirements and costs.
In the UK the use of any radio transmitting device is required to be either licensed or specifically exempted from licensing under the Wireless Telegraphy Act 2006. Find out more about radio spectrum and the law.
Information on applying for a TV broadcast license including, Digital TV Programme Service/Digital TV Additional Service (DTPS/DTAS), Television Licensable Content Services (TLCS) , Local TV (L-DTPS), Restricted services for an event (RTSL-E)