Apply for a radio broadcast licence
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.
Restricted services are radio services with small coverage areas that are used to broadcast at events, or within a particular establishment or other locations in the UK. Examples include:
- dedicated radio services for religious observances such as Ramadan;
- radio services for hospitals and universities;
- drive-in movie soundtracks; and
- commentary for events.
To be kept informed about community radio, including notification of when we invite applications as well as other broadcasting issues, sign up for our broadcasting email updates.
Guidance and application materials
Choosing a transmitter site for your community radio station (YouTube video - also available with Welsh subtitles)
Six community radio licence awards: March 2020 (PDF, 160.9 KB)Note: This statement has been revised to reflect the accurate coverage area for West Kent Radio.
Eight community radio licence awards: April 2018 (PDF, 215.9 KB)
Note: This statement has been revised to include a condition which will apply to the Buchan Radio licence.
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.
Pre-advertisements and re-advertisements
Digital Additional Sound Service (DAS) application form (DOCX, 94.5 KB)
Multiplex broadcasting application
Digital Sound Programme Service (DSPS) application form (DOCX, 91.2 KB)
Multiplex broadcasting application form
Updated on 10 July 2019: Paragraph 2.5 (page 2) has been corrected to £1,000 for the application fee (from £5,000).
Radio Licensable Content Service (RLCS) application form (DOC, 186.0 KB)
Satellite and/or cable broadcasting applications
Radio Licensable Content Service (RLCS) guidance (PDF, 183.2 KB)
Information for satellite and cable applicants
Radio Licensable Content Service (RLCS) guidance (RTF, 2.1 MB)
Available in RTF format information for satellite and cable applicants
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.
Following advertisement in December 2021, Ofcom awarded the Additional Services licence (PDF, 573.9 KB) to INRIX UK Ltd. This licence will end no later than 30 April 2031