Radio broadcast update April 2020

05 May 2020

Analogue Commercial Radio

Re-awards

Ofcom has announced that it has re-awarded the following local FM commercial radio licence to the current licensee. The licence has been re-awarded under Ofcom’s ‘fast-track’ process, as set out in published guidelines, and will be for a period of 12 years from the current expiry date:

Area (station)Current licenseeCurrent expiry date
Weymouth and Dorchester (Wessex FM) Wessex Broadcasting Limited 3 September 2032

Licence renewals granted in this period

A seven year renewal has been granted to the following:

Area (station)Current licensee
West Cumbria (CFM) Bauer Radio Limited

A five year renewal has been granted to the following:

Area (station)Current licensee
Birmingham (Radio XL) Central Air Radio 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).

Coverage improvement agreed:

ServiceLicensed areaChange agreed
Asian SoundEast LancashirePower Increase

Coverage extension agreed:

StationStar Radio
Current licence areaCambridge
Extended licence areaCambridge
Reasons for agreeing to the extension

Increase in the licensed area: the frequency change and power increase extends the service to the outskirts of Cambridge. 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 highlighted that the population of greater Cambridge has increased since the launch of the service. This has resulted in in new housing developments on the outskirts of the city which are not being adequately served by the current frequency.
  • Furthermore there is variable field strength in the centre of Cambridge. The changes will therefore enable the population on the outskirts to be served.
  • The extended coverage area will not overlap with other local commercial radio services, while outgoing interference to other services was deemed to be acceptable.

Change of Control Reviews

Whenever a local radio licence undergoes a ‘change of control’ (for example when it is sold), Ofcom is required under section 355 of the Communications Act 2003 to undertake a review of its programme output.

Specifically, Ofcom must review the likely effect of the change of control on:
The quality and range of programmes included in the service;

The character of the service, and;

The extent to which local material and locally-made programmes are included in the service.

When the review has been completed, Ofcom may amend the content requirements of the licence.

Trax FM (Doncaster and Bassetlaw) (PDF, 288.1 KB)
Published 16|04|20

Dearne FM (Barnsley) (PDF, 270.7 KB)
Published 16|04|20

Eagle Radio (Surrey & North East Hampshire (PDF, 290.9 KB))
Published 16|04|20

Minster FM (York and Northallerton) (PDF, 225.5 KB)
Published 30|04|20

Digital Radio

Digital sound programme service (DSPS) licences issued during in this period

Licensee
Mahomed Jussab

DAB multiplex variations

The following multiplex variations were agreed during this period:

ChangeMultiplex
Addition of Absolute Radio 00s – A 2000s-centric music station London 1
Removal of Bliss Radio – A radio station playing a wide range of music with speech catering for the local community. North East Wales & West Cheshire 
Removal of Baikal Radio – A music radio service featuring British and American pop music, and popular hits in other languages including Russian, with local and world news in English and Russian, and DJ links mostly in Russian.
(Note that this service failed to launch on the multiplex within the required period).
Surrey

Analogue Community Radio

Community Radio Fund

Emergency funding due to the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak

For 2020-21, grants will be provided as emergency cash funding to support stations facing severe financial difficulty due to the coronavirus (“Covid-19”) outbreak.
We expect to only hold one funding round in 2020-21. This is to ensure that emergency funding can be accessed as soon as possible.

The window for applications opens on 4 May 2020 and closes 5pm on 11 May 2020. The awarding Panel will meet in May 2020 to consider the applications.

Grants can only be made to community radio licensees in the UK, who are broadcasting under a community radio licence. Applications from eligible licence-holders may be submitted in Welsh. Any application submitted in Welsh will be treated no less favourably than an application submitted in English.

For further information, please contact Ofcom's Community Radio team at communityradiofund@ofcom.org.uk

Licence extensions granted in this period

A five year extension has been granted to the following:

Service nameLicenseeLocationNew expiry date
107.5 Switch RadioSwitch radioCastle Vale, Birmingham29/04/2025
Radio NewarkRadio Newark LimitedNewark-on-Trent02/05/2025
Stafford FMStafford Radio Broadcasting LimitedStafford24/04/2025
ABC FMPortadown Community Radio LimitedPortadown11/06/2025

Key Commitments changes

Each station has as part of its licence, ‘Key Commitments’ which outline what the essential nature of the service is and details any specific expectations of that service. Licensees may request changes to a station’s Key Commitments. Information about the process, as well as an application form, are on our website.

Changes to Key Commitments agreed in this period:

Insanity Radio (PDF, 182.2 KB)
Published 28|04|20

Siren FM (PDF, 210.8 KB)
Published 21|04|20

Coverage improvement and extension requests

During 2018, Ofcom invited community radio stations to submit requests for coverage improvements and extensions if they wished. During the last month the services listed below have had their requests 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
Air 107.2Weymouth
AwazGlasgow
Moorlands RadioBiddulph