Radio broadcast update June 2022

08 July 2022

A round-up of radio broadcast licensing activity in June 2022.

Digital radio

Local/national DAB multiplex variations

The following multiplex variations were agreed during this period:

ChangeMultiplex

Removal of Sunrise Radio – A simulcast of Sunrise Radio as set out in the Format contained in licence number AL000037.

Bradford & Huddersfield

Removal of Smooth Country – A music led service playing predominantly country music.

Addition of Nation Radio – A music station playing a mixture of current and classic hits.

Bournemouth

Removal of Fix Radio – A music, entertainment and information station aimed at trades people.

Addition of Breezy Radio – A music radio station playing relaxing favourites.

Addition of Nation 80s – A music station predominantly playing music from the 1980s.

London 2

Removal of Hope FM – A radio station playing Christian music and speech promoting the gospel Jesus Christ in the context of the Three Angels Messages of Revelation chapter 14.

North-East Wales & West Cheshire

Hereford & Worcester

Lincolnshire

North Yorkshire

Addition of Worthy FM – A simulcast of short-term service providing public welfare and information, travel information and entertainment for attendees of the Glastonbury Festival 2022.

Somerset

Removal of Peak Radio – A radio service featuring music from the 90s through to current chart hits, as well as news stories and bulletins.

Derbyshire

Removal of Gorgeous FM – A music service for Wolverhampton, Telford, Shrewsbury, The Black Country and Shropshire playing a mix from across the decades with an emphasis on 'feel good' that reflects the LBGTQ+ demographic.

Wolverhampton & Shropshire

Removal of Podcast Radio – Podcast Radio is a speech radio station showcasing podcasts, interviews with podcasters, reviews of podcasts.

Wolverhampton & Shropshire

Addition of Tomorrowland One World Radio – A music-based radio station, focusing on dance, RnB and pop music.

North-East Wales and West Cheshire

Somerset

Surrey

Addition of Nation Radio – A music station playing a mixture of current and classic hits.

South Hampshire

Small-scale DAB multiplex licensing

On 15 June Ofcom announced that it has revoked the small-scale multiplex award for Inverclyde, made on 11 March 2021 to UK DAB Networks Limited (now Nation DAB Networks Limited).

Ofcom has also extended the duration of the trial small-scale DAB multiplex for Norwich (which previously expired on 30 June 2022) for a further eight weeks, to 26 August 2022.

Digital sound programme service (DSP) and digital additional sound (DAS) licences issued during this period

Licensee Service name

International Communication & Services Limited

London ONE Radio

Digital sound programme service (DSP) and Digital additional sound (DAS) licences which have ceased to be licensed (handed back or revoked) in this period

Licensee Service name

Like Digital Broadcasting Ltd

Various

Mearns Community Radio Limited

Mearns FM

Community digital sound programme service (C-DSP) applications received during this period

Licensee Service name Multiplex area

The Adelphe Community Outreach CIC

Heartsong Live

Edinburgh

First Ox Digital Ltd

Fox Digital

Oxford

Borders Community Radio & Media Ltd

TD1 Radio

Edinburgh

Celtic Music Radio Ltd

Celtic Music Radio

Edinburgh

Memory Lane Productions CIC

Memory Lane Radio

Newcastle & Gateshead

2Funky Arts Ltd

Radio2Funky

Leicester

Higher Rhythm Ltd

Sine FM

Sheffield

Community Sounds and Stories CIC

Radio LEAR

Leicester

Community Broadcast Initiative Tyneside Ltd

Nova Radio North East 102.5FM

Newcastle & Gateshead

Community digital sound programme service (C-DSP) licences issued during this period

Licensee Service name Multiplex area

Spice Project Ltd

Spice Radio

Newcastle & Gateshead

Seerah Academy (Radio Seerah)

Radio Seerah

Leicester

WWL Radio

WWL Radio

Wigan

Analogue commercial radio

Licence renewals granted in this period

A ten-year renewal has been granted to the following:

Area Service name Current Licensee
Greater Manchester Gold

Capital Gold Manchester Limited

Coverage improvement and extension requests

During the last month the service below had its request for an improvement to its existing coverage provisionally agreed, subject to the new technical arrangements going through our usual formal clearance process (this includes Ofcom liaising with a number of outside agencies before changes can be implemented).

Service nameLocation
Imagine FM Buxton
Greatest Hits Rotherham

Analogue community radio

Community Radio Fund – Round 1, 2022-23

The first round of the Community Radio Fund 2022-23 closed for applications on 10 June 2022. The list of awarded grants will be announced in due course following the forthcoming meeting of the Community Radio Fund Panel.

Licence extensions granted in this period

A five-year extension has been granted to the following:

Service nameLicenseeLocation New expiry date
Witney Radio

The Wittas Wireless Telegraphy CIC

Witney

13 July 2027

Islands FM

Islandsfm Ltd.

Isles of Scilly

2 September 2027

Siren FM

University of Lincoln

Lincoln

10 August 2027

Coverage improvement and extension requests

Coverage extensions received:

During the last month the services listed below have requested an extension to their licence area. The application(s) are published on the community radio page of our website. Ofcom will accept representations up to one month following publication before we make a formal decision. Representations can be sent to broadcast.licensing@ofcom.org.uk

Service nameLocation
Radio Winchcombe Winchcombe, Gloucestershire

During the last month the services listed below have had their requests for a coverage improvement provisionally agreed, subject to the new technical arrangements going through our usual formal clearance process (this includes Ofcom liaising with a number of outside agencies before changes can be implemented). We have considered the following requests to constitute coverage improvements.

Coverage improvements agreed:

Service nameLocation
Thornbury Radio Thornbury

Coverage extensions agreed:

See the guidance notes for the range of factors we take into account when considering these requests (in particular, paragraphs 3.45-3.48).

Station Caroline Community Radio
Current licence area

Parts of Maldon District

Extended licence area

Maldon District, Burnham-on-Crouch and the Dengie Peninsula

Reasons for agreeing to the extension

Increase in licensed area:

An extension via a relay at Althorn was AGREED.

The increase in the size of the adult population served was not deemed to be significant.

Exceptional circumstances: Ofcom did not need to consider whether there were ‘exceptional circumstances’ to justify an increase in this case.

Other considerations

  • The applicant noted that the service was originally intended to serve the entire Maldon District, but owing to topography and incoming interference from services on the continent – evidence of which was provided by the licensee – it has not been possible for the station to adequately serve its entire target community.
  • The extension will therefore enable the licensee to deliver a service in line with its original aspirations by providing an adequate and reliable level of service across the entire area.
  • There is a relationship and affinity between the existing and proposed extended areas as they are all part of the Maldon District. In addition, the station’s staff and volunteers are drawn from across the District, including those areas not currently served.
  • The applicant provided evidence of demand and support for the extension to cover the Malden District from the local council, who have also demonstrated their support for the purpose and aims of the service in the proposed extended areas.
  • The licensee indicated that the extension would enhance the social gain benefits of the service by generate increased interest and participation in the service.
  • The service’s existing coverage currently serves areas with low population density. The extension will therefore enable the service to be received in areas with communities not currently or adequately served.
Station TMCR FM
Current licence area Thorne, South Yorkshire
Extended licence area

Thorne and Epworth, South Yorkshire

Reasons for agreeing to the extension

Increase in licensed area:

An extension via a relay at Epworth was AGREED.

The increase in the size of the adult population served was not deemed to be significant.

Exceptional circumstances: Ofcom did not need to consider whether there were ‘exceptional circumstances’ to justify an increase in this case.

Other considerations:

  • There is evidence of a relationship and affinity between the existing and proposed extended licensed areas as both are connected by the same motorway, while Thorne train station is the closest to Epworth and surrounding areas which is used to commute between the two. The licensee also highlighted that the close rural setting of both towns means they share common interests including traffic, travel, and farming news, and have similar sized businesses.
  • The applicant explained that although it occasionally attends outside broadcasts from the extended area due to common interests as outlined above, the programming has limited audience reach due to the rural nature of the area. This is further compounded by poor quality broadband meaning listeners are unable to access the content online, and poor reception on DAB leaning to limited consumer choice and audiences being underserved. The extension will therefore enable audiences in the extended area to receive and benefit from a locally-focused service.
  • Whilst the new relay appeared to significantly increase geographical area of the licensed coverage area, the increase is offset by a large proportion of the extended area being made up or farmland, so is sparsely populated meaning that the population increase in real terms is modest.
  • The applicant provided evidence of support from Epworth Town Council, in the extended area.
  • The decision maker had regard to the impact of the extension on other stations and was satisfied that there was no overlap in core areas of neighbouring services.
  • Ofcom did not receive any representations on the licensee’s plans to extend coverage.
Station Penistone FM
Current licence area Penistone
Extended licence area Penistone and Stocksbridge
Reasons for agreeing to the extension

Increase in licensed area:

An extension via a relay at Stocksbridge was AGREED.

The increase in the size of the adult population served was not deemed to be significant.

Exceptional circumstances: Ofcom did not need to consider whether there were ‘exceptional circumstances’ to justify an increase in this case.

Other considerations:

  • The licensee already provides programming that is relevant to the proposed extended area but due to the local topography, receipt of the service is undermined by signal fade along the Stocksbridge valley on the approach to Stocksbridge. This means that listeners from the existing and extended areas are unable to receive a continuous service when traveling between the two. The extension will therefore improve reception for listeners in the existing coverage area and enable the licensee to better serve residents in the extended area.
  • The applicant explained that the ‘deep valley’ location of the proposed extended area means it is not adequately served by local commercial radio. The closest community radio service (and only source of local content for audiences in the extended area) is Penistone FM. The extension will therefore enable this underserved community to receive the programming already being provided by the service, which is of relevance and interest, and meets the needs of audiences in the extended area.
  • Although the two towns of Penistone and Stocksbridge are four miles apart and separated by hills and a valley, the licensee asserted that residents regard themselves as one community who are bound by history, share a similar regional identity, and close community spirit. Further, the proposed extended area looks to Penistone for work, health and leisure related activities. The relationship and affinities between the two areas is further demonstrated by volunteers, members and guests of the service residing in the proposed extended area. Also, individuals often commute between the two areas.
  • Other examples of the relationship and affinities highlighted by the applicant include both towns being situated on the edge of the Peak District, the proposed and existing areas sharing the same postcode, and the constituency of Penistone and Stocksbridge being served by the same MP. The coverage extension will therefore facilitate the provision of a united service for audiences in the existing and extended areas.
  • The decision maker was encouraged by the plans presented by the applicant to ensure the on and off-air social gain benefits that would arise in the extended area. They included the involvement from local community and voluntary groups who have already been engaged, and the replication of training currently provided at the local grammar school to schools in the extended area.
  • The applicant provided significant evidence of support for the extension from numerous groups and individuals including the Member of Parliament for Penistone and Stocksbridge and Stocksbridge Town Council both of whom highlighted the importance access to local sources of information for residents in the extended area. Evidence of support was also provided from local schools, the voluntary services sector, community groups and local businesses.
  • Ofcom considered that the extension would not result in any overlap into the core licensed area of any other neighbouring analogue services.

Please note:

The success of an application is, amongst other things, dependent on frequency availability and whether there may be an increase in harmful outgoing interference to other stations. In every case we need to take account of other services (community, commercial and BBC) on the same frequency or an adjacent one to yours (or to a frequency that we may be considering for a relay). Please see the guidance document (PDF, 325.1 KB) for further information.