Radio broadcast update August 2021

29 September 2021

Digital radio

Local/national DAB multiplex variations

The following multiplex variations were agreed during this period:

ChangeMultiplex
Addition of Magic Soul – A soul and pop station.
Removal of Magic Chilled: A mainstream popular music service.
Birmingham
Removal of MAX - A radio service broadcasting old school dance music and R&B, and specialist dance music programming.Wolverhampton and Shropshire
Addition of All Oldies Radio – A local radio station for Herts, Beds and Bucks providing a mixture of classic hits pop music and hourly news and traffic, with speech containing items of local focus aimed at the 40+ demographic with a female bias.Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, and Buckinghamshire
Removal of Fire Radio – A music-led service primarily targeting 15-44 year olds with appropriate speech content to appeal to local listeners. The music will focus primarily on current hits and a mix of music from the last 15 years.
Removal of Hits Radio UK – A service offering a broad range of hits from current and non-current chart music. The station will appeal to a broad 25-44 adult audience and include entertainment news and features relevant to the target audience.
Addition of Hits Radio (Bournemouth) – A music-led service primarily targeting 15-34 year olds with appropriate speech content to appeal to  local listeners. The music will focus primarily on current hits and a mix of music from the last 15 years.
Addition of Absolute Country – A genre-based music station playing primarily a range of modern country music (including American and UK) aimed at all adults.
Bournemouth
Removal of Hits Radio UK – A service offering a broad range of hits from current and non-current chart music. The station will appeal to a broad 25-44 adult audience and include entertainment news and features relevant to the target audience.
Removal of Sam FM – An adult alternative station playing adult-oriented album tracks, classic rock and predominantly non-contemporary rock/rock hits with particular appeal for 15-50 year olds, with 24-hour news.
Addition of Hits Radio (Bristol) – A station playing current hits and the best hits from the past 20 years with local news and information appealing to a 25-44 year-old audience in the Bristol area.
Addition of Absolute Country – A genre-based music station playing primarily a range of modern country music (including American and UK) aimed at all adults.
Bristol
Addition of Bailiwick Radio Hits – Upbeat pop music and local news for the Channel Islands.
Addition of Bailiwick Radio Classics – Classic pop hits and local news for the Channel Islands.
Addition of UCB1 – A station featuring today’s Christian hit songs, with speech that helps make sense of the world around us including topical conversation and encouraging features.
Addition of UCB2 – A station focussing on praise and worship and so much more to bring you closer to God with popular worship music, life-changing stories and edifying chat.
Channel Islands

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

LicenceeService name
Lighthouse Media (C.I.) Limited Bailiwick Radio Hits and Bailiwick Radio Classics
Salisbury Radio Ltd Salisbury Radio
RedArmy Group Limited THE TOON, THE CAT
United Christian Broadcasters Limited UCB 1 and UCB 2

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

LicenceeService name
David Lloyd Serenade Radio

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

Community digital sound programme licence applications received in this period can be found on our website. Applications have been made for services in North Birmingham, Tynemouth and South Shields and Inverclyde.

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

LicenceeService name
Bradley Stoke Radio Ltd Bradley Stoke Radio
Radio Shields NE CIC Radio Shields
Islam Radio LtdMarefa Radio
S&Q Digital Media LtdApni Awaz

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:

AreaService nameCurrent LicenseeCurrent expiry date
Sunderland Sun FM Sun FM Limited 31 December 2021

Local radio licence transfers

Ofcom has approved the transfer of the following local commercial licences:

AreaService namePrevious LicenseeNew Licensee
Buxton Imagine Radio Imagine FM LimitedBauer Media Audio Limited acting as a general partner for Bauer Media Audio LP
StockportImagine RadioImagine FM LimitedBauer Media Audio Limited acting as a general partner for Bauer Media Audio LP

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.

Capital (Banbury) (PDF, 627.5 KB)
Published 23|08|21

Capital (Birmingham) (PDF, 363.7 KB)
Published 23|08|21

Capital (Coventry) (PDF, 363.5 KB)
Published 23|08|21

Capital (Leicester) (PDF, 364.4 KB)
Published 23|08|21

Capital (Nottingham & Derby) (PDF, 366.0 KB)
Published 23|08|21

Capital (Rugby) (PDF, 364.5 KB)
Published 23|08|21

Capital (South East Staffordshire) (PDF, 372.6 KB)
Published 23|08|21

Capital (Stratford-upon-Avon) (PDF, 247.2 KB)
Published 07|09|21

Capital (Warwick) (PDF, 361.8 KB)
Published 23|08|21

Imagine Radio (Buxton) (PDF, 203.3 KB)
Published 17|08|21

Imagine Radio (Stockport) (PDF, 223.6 KB)
Published 17|08|21

Nation Radio Scotland (West Central Scotland) (PDF, 359.8 KB)
Published 04|08|21

Analogue commercial radio licences which have ceased to be licensed in this period

LicenseeService nameLocationReason
Bauer Radio LimitedAbsolute Classic RockBirminghamSurrendered
Bauer Radio LimitedGreatest Hits RadioCoventrySurrendered

Analogue community radio

Community Radio Fund – Round 1 2021-22

The Community Radio Fund Panel met on 11 August 2021. They awarded 23 grants, totalling £221,467. A statement on the award of grants can be found on our website.

Licence extensions granted in this period

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

Service nameLicenseeLocation New expiry date
Angel Radio Angel Radio Limited Portsmouth and Havant 31 January 2027
BFBS Blandford BFBS Blandford Limited Blandford Camp and Dorset 22 August 2027
BRFM 95.6 FM B.R.F.M. Bridge Radio Limited Sheerness, Isle of Sheppey 29 October 2026
NuSound RadioNuSound Radio LimitedNewham18 March 2027
BFBS AldershotBFBS Aldershot LimitedAldershot10 December 2026

Licence transfers in this period

Service nameLocationPrevious LicenseeNew Licensee
Calon FMWrexhamCalon Communications LimitedWrexham Community Broadcasting CIC

Analogue community radio licences which have ceased to be licensed in this period

Service nameLicenseeLocationReason
Tudno FMLlandudno Community Radio LimitedLlandudnoSurrendered

Coverage improvement and extension requests

Coverage improvements agreed:

Service nameLocation
Coast FMPenzance

Coverage extensions agreed:

See the guidance notes (PDF, 284.2 KB) for the range of factors we take into account when considering these requests (in particular, paragraphs 2.46-2.49).

StationSeaside Radio
Current licence area Withernsea
Extended licence area

Withernsea, Holderness and Hornsea

Reasons for agreeing to the extension

Increase in the licensed area: An extension via relays at Hornsea and Garton 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 several affinities between the existing and extended coverage area including a shared MP, common interests and concerns such a coastal erosion, and established commuter links for residents - the towns are also served by a sole local newspaper.
  • The extension with therefore complement strong existing ties between the current licensed area and the two extended locations.
  • The applicant indicated support for the extension from the local council and umbrella voluntary and commerce organisations.
StationCoast and County Radio
Current licence area

Scarborough Town

Extended licence area

Scarborough Town and Whitby

Reasons for agreeing to the extension

Increase in licensed area:

An extension via a power increase at its current site along with two relays at Whitby and Ravenscar was AGREED, because the increase in in adult population figures served was deemed not 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 provided extensive evidence of demand and support for the extension from various organisations in the extended area including Whitby Town Council, Whitby Town FC and various community-based organisations
  • There is a relationship and affinity between the existing and proposed extended licensed areas.   Scarborough Town and Whitby are neighbouring coastal towns connected by the A171 and fall under the jurisdiction of Scarborough Borough Council. Both areas face issue of being isolated and are therefore served by CaVCA, a social inclusion collective which the service currently works closely with.
  • The applicant highlighted that although there is already a substantial contribution to the service from   members of the team and target community based in the extended area, including the provision of information and delivery of social gain, the service is not receivable there. The extension will therefore enable the station to enhance it social gain provision through the development of a studio hub in the extended area.
  • The extended area, although part of the original licence application, could not be served by existing transmission parameters due to the local topography. The addition of these transmission sites will therefore meet the expectations of listeners in the extended area who are currently unable to receive the service.
StationKennet Radio
Current licence areaNewbury and Thatcham
Extended licence areaNewbury, Thatcham and Hungerford
Reasons for agreeing to the extension

Increase in licensed area: An extension via a relay at Hungerford 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 reports the receipt of several requests from community leaders and listeners in the proposed extended area for the extension of the service. The demand has also been verified through the station’s investigations and is evidenced by letters of support from local councillors, local clubs and organisations   including the Town and Manor of Hungerford.
  • The applicant highlighted the relationship and affinities between the existing licensed area and proposed extended areas. Both areas are adjacent to one another and therefore part of the local government district of West Berkshire. Further, residents commute regularly between the existing and proposed extended areas for work, social and domestic reasons. The service also has several volunteer presenters from the extended area meaning members of the proposed target community are already engaged with the service.
  • It was noted that the service has a history of covering events through outside broadcasts in the extended area.
  • The extension of the service will also enable the station to broaden its social gain commitments through the recruitment of volunteers in the extended area.
  • The licensee highlighted that the proposed extended area is underserved by local and community radio services. The extension will therefore enable audiences in the extended area to receive local content that is of relevance and interest to them.
StationMKFM
Current licence areaMilton Keynes
Extended licence areaMilton Keynes and surrounding villages
Reasons for agreeing to the extension

Increase in licensed area: An extension via a relay at Bletchley and Wolverton 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 

  • MKFM already serves this area via is DAB radio coverage. By approving this extension request, listeners in the area of Bletchley will be able to listen to the service on both analogue and digital radio platforms.
  • This extended area is already considered by the service when they design their editorial policy because of the availability of the service on digital radio. The service will continue to feature items relevant to the extended area.
  • The licensee has committed to strengthening their links with local parish councils and councillors in the extended coverage area, to ensure they are providing a local service directly relevant to the extended area.
  • The licensee has committed to a marketing campaign targeted at the extended area to encourage local people to become directly involved with the service as a volunteer or contribute in other ways to our programming.
  • Coverage from their original transmitter site reached parts of Bletchley, but analysis has demonstrated gaps in coverage which will be filled by this extension.
  • Bletchley is within the borough of Milton Keynes and is served by the same two local MPs who have provided support for this application, which demonstrates the relationship and affinity between the original coverage area and the proposed extended area.
StationY01
Current licence areaYork
Extended licence areaYork and Selby
Reasons for agreeing to the extension

Increase in licensed area: An extension via a relay at Selby 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 closure of local industries means that the majority of the working   population travel for work using the A19, which connects York to the proposed extended area of Selby. However, the current coverage area from YO1 Radio's existing transmitter only provides partial coverage along the A19 travel corridor resulting in the significant fade in signal on the approach to Selby. This means a loss of service for commuters as they approach Selby, an inability to listen to the service for the entire journey and a subsequent loss in service at their final destination in Selby such as place of work or home. The extension of the service will therefore enable the reception of a continuous service for listeners who travel between the two towns and better serve the many Selby residents who already enjoy the output from York.
  • The licensee further highlighted the relationships and affinities between the existing and proposed extended   coverage areas, noting that York is the area of choice for health and leisure activities for residents in both towns and is the centre for healthcare provision which also serves residents in both towns. The service therefore already provides editorial content of relevance to the extended area due to substantial level of commuting and leisure travel between the existing and extended areas.
  • The existing licensed area and proposed extended area of Selby are underserved by independent local radio   and other community radio services. The extension will therefore enhance the ability of residents and businesses to source locally focussed information.
  • The applicant noted that many businesses in the proposed extended area are classed as ‘micro-businesses’ and that advertising opportunities are cost-prohibitive. The extension will therefore allow businesses to reach local customers in an affordable manner.
  • YO1 Radio already provides a substantial number of on-air and off-air volunteering opportunities and is   developing a new 'academy' approach to media training for younger people. The extension will therefore enable the target audience in the extended area to also access these social gain benefits whilst providing local community groups in the extended area access to on-air promotional activity.
  • The applicant provided evidence of demand and support from individuals and groups in the proposed extended area including a local school, local MP, local businesses including the owners of the proposed transmitter site for the new relay, and Selby Town Council.

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, 284.2 KB) for further information.

Long-term restricted service licensing

Long-term restricted service licences issued during in this period

LicenseeService name
Leicester Community Radio Broadcasting CICLCR1

Short-term Restricted Service Licensing

High demand window

On Monday 13 September 2021, Ofcom will open an application window for short-term restricted service licence (SRSL) applicants hoping to broadcast on any dates between Wednesday 30 March and Tuesday 3 May 2022. This window is slightly earlier than anticipated due to the implementation of a new system at Ofcom.

The application window will remain open until 5pm on Friday 17 September 2021.

Applicants should ensure they are familiar with the application criteria detailed in the guidance note (PDF, 419.2 KB) and must use the current version of the application form (ODT, 71.2 KB). The guidance note explains what will happen after the window closes.