Radio broadcast update April 2021

11 May 2021

Analogue Commercial Radio

Licence ‘pre-advertisements’

On 10 May 2021, Ofcom invited declarations of intent to apply for the following FM local commercial radio licence. Please click on the ‘area’ in the first column for further detail on the pre-advertisements:

Area/current Licensee (station)Current expiryProposed expiry date following re-awardClosing date for declarations of intent
Tunbridge Wells/Sevenoaks (PDF, 189.9 KB)7 July 20227 July 20343pm on 4 June 2021

Invitations to apply under fast-track

Ofcom has received one declaration for the following licence, from the current licensee. We are therefore inviting the incumbent licensee to re-apply for the licence under the ‘fast track’ procedure as set out in Ofcom’s guidelines:

Area (station)Current Licensee
Sunderland (Sun FM)Sun FM LImited

Licence renewals granted in this period

A seven year renewal has been granted to the following:

Area (station)Current Licensee
Worthing (More Radio)Splash FM Limited

Ofcom has set the financial terms for the renewal of each of the three Independent National Radio licences at a nominal cash bid of £10,000 per annum with a 0% PQR (percentage of qualifying revenue).

Classic FM and Absolute Radio have accepted these terms, and their licences have been renewed for a further ten-year period commencing 1 May 2021. talkSPORT has until 31 December 2021 to accept or reject the new financial terms. If the terms are accepted, its licence will be renewed for a further ten-year period commencing 1 January 2022.

Analogue station Format changes

Each station has as part of its licence, a ‘Format’ which outlines what the essential nature of the service is and details any specific expectations of that service.

Any changes to a format can only be made by following the correct procedure and with the appropriate permission from Ofcom.

Greatest Hits Radio (Plymouth) (PDF, 236.8 KB)
Published 08|04|21

Imagine Radio (Stockport) (PDF, 221.4 KB)
Published 09|04|21

Imagine Radio (Buxton) (PDF, 224.0 KB)
Published 09|04|21

Original 106 (Aberdeen) (PDF, 280.9 KB)
Published 15|04|21

Kingdom FM (Fife) (PDF, 284.8 KB)
Published 15|04|21

Update to localness guidelines

Ofcom has today updated its localness guidelines for commercial radio, to reflect some recent changes in station ownership and names and to provide some other minor clarifications. In particular, the guidelines now make clear that where we say “it is our expectation that the main presenter or host of any programme broadcast during a station's locally-made hours should be physically located within that station's licensed or approved area”, “physically located” in this context does not necessarily mean a studio building – it could equally mean a presenter broadcasting from their home, or a public location such as a café.

Digital Radio

Small-scale DAB: latest multiplex licence awards

The following small-scale radio multiplex licence awards were announced by Ofcom on 5 May:

Community digital sound programme (C-DSP) licence applications received

Community digital sound programme licence applications received between 31 March and 27 April 2021 can be found on our website. Applications have been made for services in Basingstoke. Bradford, Glasgow and Winchester.

C-DSP licences issued during in this period

LicenseeMultiplex
Drive 105 (Community Radio) LtdDerry/Londonderry
Safer WalesCardiff

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

Licensee
Gateway Community Media CIC
The Hits Club Radio LTD
Double Stack Media Limited

DAB multiplex variations

The following multiplex variations were agreed during this period:

ChangeMultiplex

Removal of Absolute Radio – A rock-oriented station combining new music with classic album tracks aimed at 25 to 44-year-olds.
A simulcast of the analogue service (Greater London).

Addition of Absolute Radio 10s – Absolute Radio 10s plays the best music of the last decade from a rock, pop and dance perspective.

London 1

Addition of Absolute 70s – A 70s-centric music service

London 2

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

Derbyshire

Addition of Point Blank Radio – Classic and contemporary electronic music.Surrey
Addition of MAX – A radio service broadcasting old school dance music and R&B, and specialist dance music programming.

Exeter, Torbay, and North Devon

Wolverhampton and Shropshire

Addition of Hot Gold Radio – Remembering the good times with the best in feel good tracks from the 70s, 80s & 90s.Bournemouth
Addition of Aspen Waite Radio – A mainstream music service mainly playing rock music.South East Wales

Analogue Community Radio

Licence extensions granted in this period

A five year extension has been granted to the following:

Service nameLicenseeLocationNew expiry date
NLive RadioThe University of Northampton Enterprises LimitedNorthampton30 September 2026

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:

Lionheart Radio (PDF, 240.6 KB)
Published 09|04|21

Coverage improvement and extension requests

Coverage extensions agreed:

StationWitney Radio
Current licence areaWitney, Eynsham, Chipping Norton and surrounding areas
Extended licence areaWitney, Eynsham, Chipping Norton, Farringdon and surrounding areas
Reasons for agreeing to the extension

Increase in licensed area: An extension via a relay at Farringdon 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 highlighted that the villages towards Farringdon are underserved due to poor reception. An extension into this area will therefore provide the villages surrounding the town with a local service with targeted news and information.
  • There is a relationship and affinity as Farringdon is immediately adjacent to the existing broadcast area and is a town with similar characteristics to Witney. Furthermore, the towns of Witney and Farringdon sit within the wider broadcast area of West Oxfordshire.
  • The applicant also referred to surveys with local people and the town council which show that a local radio service would be welcomed in Farringdon which suggest demand and support for the service.