Apply for a radio broadcast licence

12 May 2017

We have received a large number of applications for May/June 2017, which is a peak period of short-term Restricted Service Licence (RSL) activity. In keeping with our practice in previous years, we will conduct a draw to decide which applicants will be awarded RSLs for this period in contested areas (for which we have received more than one valid application).

The draw will be held at Ofcom’s offices in London on the 24 March 2017 at 2pm. Applicants wishing to attend should email and we will send further details.

The results of the draw will be posted on our website, along with a video of the draw, which will be available to view for a short time.

Draw schedule for May/June 2017 applications:

May/June Draw


Number of Applicants





















Other applications received for this period and not in areas listed above will be considered in our standard process, and applicants have been notified.

After the above draw we will also conduct the following other draws:

Hajj (August 2017)
Draw 7: Bradford – 2 applicants

The closing date for applications to broadcast a temporary FM radio station using a Short-term Restricted Service Licence (‘S-RSL’) between 24 May and 28 June 2017 was 1 December 2016. The applications which have been received are listed at the link below.

Ofcom will not now accept any further applications to provide S-RSLs between 24 May and 28 June 2017 in the geographical areas listed at the link below. We may, however, still be able to accept applications for broadcasts in other parts of the UK during this period.

Details of applications received

An 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.

Short Term RSLs: Guidance notes for licence applicants and licensees PDF, 333.1 KB
Updated November 2015

Long Term RSL and Audio Distribution Systems RSLs: Guidance notes for licence applicants PDF, 531.8 KB
Updated November 2015

Short Term RSL Application Form DOCX, 231.2 KB

Long Term RSL Application Form RTF, 465.5 KB

Audio Distribution Systems RSL (ADS-RSL) application form RTF, 107.8 KB

ADS-RSL service information form to change or add services to an Audio Distribution Systems RSL licence RTF, 85.0 KB

Short Term RSL standard form licence PDF, 644.4 KB

Long Term RSL standard form licence PDF, 705.3 KB

ADS-RSL standard form licence PDF, 704.2 KB

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.

Planned timetable for the re-advertisement of local analogue commercial radio licences 2016/17 and the advertisements, applications and awards

Open re-advertisements

Re-advertisement of FM Local Commercial Radio Licence for TORBAY PDF, 359.3 KB

'Pre-advertisement' of Local Analogue Commercial Radio Licence for NORWICH PDF, 188.1 KB

Application forms

Local analogue commercial radio standard form licence (Broadcasting Act) PDF, 311.1 KB

Local analogue commercial radio standard form licence (Wireless Telegraphy Act) PDF, 87.1 KB

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.

Compliance checklist for radio broadcast content PDF, 71.2 KB