Radio broadcast update July 2019

06 August 2019

Small-scale DAB consultation

Ofcom is consulting on its approach to licensing small-scale DAB, and how it would exercise its new powers and duties being proposed by the Government. The consultation sets out:

  • our proposed spectrum allocation and licensing process;
  • our approach to developing a coverage area plan; and
  • how we intend to advertise licences and assess applications.

More information is available in the consultation document (PDF, 6.8 MB), and details about how to respond on our website. We would like to hear from interested parties by Friday 4 October 2019, and intend to start advertising licences early in 2020.

Analogue commercial radio

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
Weymouth and Dorchester (Wessex FM) Wessex Broadcasting Limited


Ofcom has announced that it has re-awarded the following local FM commercial radio licences to the current licensees. The licences have 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 licensee Current expiry date
Alton and Haslemere (The Breeze) Celador Radio Limited 21 November 2019
Ludlow and South Shropshire (Sunshine Radio) Murfin Media Limited 30 September 2019
Southend (Radio Essex) Radio Essex Limited 28 March 2020

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.

Local radio coverage improvement

During the last month the service listed 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).

ServiceLicensed areaChange to licensed area
Downtown Radio/Cool FMNorthern IrelandLow-power relay for Newtonabbey

Digital radio

Digital sound programme service (DSPS) licences issued this period

Awaz FM Limited
Upload Radio Ltd

DAB multiplex variations

The following multiplex variations were agreed during this period:


Removal of Cyber Rock – Classic rock

Addition of Fun Kids Junior – A radio station for pre-school children and their families, with music and relevant speech content


Addition of Capital – A contemporary and chart music-led service for the under 40s

Addition of Heart – A mainstream popular music and information station for under 44s

Addition of Smooth Radio – An easy listening station targeting listeners aged 50 plus

Hereford and Worcester, Lincolnshire

DAB multiplex applications

Ofcom has received three applications for the Channel Islands local radio multiplex licence. You can see the applications and details on how to provide comments on our website.

Analogue community radio

Licences issued in this period

Service nameLicenseeLocation
Purbeck CoastSwanage Pier Trust (The)Swanage, Doreset
Revive FMMinhaj-Ul-Quran InternationalLondon Borough of Newham
The FlashThe Flash On Air LimitedWaterlooville, Hampshire

Licence extensions granted in this period

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

Service nameLicenseeLocation New expiry date
Alive Radio Alive Christian Media Limited Dumfries 31 August 2024
Speysound Radio Speysound Radio Limited Aviemore 5 December 2024

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
Hermitage FM Coalville, Leicestershire
Hitmix RadioNewcastle under Lyme
Inspire FMLuton
Salford City RadioSalford
The CatCrewe and Nantwich
Unity RadioCentral Manchester
Youthcom RadioWorcester

Please note:

Ofcom received over 130 requests in total for an improvement or an extension from existing community radio stations. It is taking us some time to complete all the work required to assess each one; we have dealt first with requests for improvements before we turned our attention to extension requests.

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.

Community Radio Fund end-of-year report

The Community Radio Fund end-of-year report 2018-19 (PDF, 183.7 KB) has been submitted to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and is available on our website.