Radio broadcast update June 2020

07 July 2020

Analogue Commercial Radio

Licence renewals granted in this period

A seven year renewal has been granted to the following:

Area (station)Current licensee
Wave 105 (Solent) Bauer
Heart MorecambeGlobal

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.

Channel 103 (Jersey)  (PDF, 190.4 KB)
Published 03|07|20

Island FM (Guernsey) (PDF, 184.5 KB)
Published 03|07|20

Sam FM (Solent) (PDF, 316.3 KB)
Published 03|07|20

Swansea Bay Radio (PDF, 321.7 KB)
Published 03|07|20

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.

KL.FM (Kings Lynn) (PDF, 211.2 KB)
Published 30|06|20

Yorkshire Coast Radio (Scarborough and Bridlington) (PDF, 199.1 KB)
Published 30|06|20

Wessex FM (Wemouth & Dorchester) (PDF, 240.2 KB)
Published 10|06|20

Rutland Radio (PDF, 241.1 KB)
Published 09|06|20

Pirate FM (Cornwall) (PDF, 185.4 KB)
Published 04|06|20

Mix 96 (Aylesbury) (PDF, 198.4 KB)
Published 04|06|20

Digital Radio

Local radio multiplex services: Channel Islands; Morecambe Bay, and; North and West Cumbria

Ofcom has granted requests from the prospective licensees for each of the three new local radio multiplex services listed above for a postponement to the backstop launch date of their services, as follows:

Local radio multiplex serviceOriginal backstop launch dateNew backstop launch date
Channel IslandsOctober 2020October 2021
Morecambe BayDecember 2020December 2021
North and West CumbriaDecember 2020December 2021

Each request was granted on the basis that the proposed launch date was not one of the key factors in Ofcom’s licence award decision, and because of the exceptional circumstances arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.

All three licensees have indicated that they hope to launch their multiplex service earlier than the revised backstop date.

Small-scale DAB

In response to requests from stakeholders for higher-resolution versions of the polygon area maps contained in Ofcom’s Statement on Licensing small-scale DAB (PDF, 6.0 MB), we have made a Google Earth (KML) file available which contains shape files for all of the indicative licence area polygons. Users of the file should note that these areas solely reflect the indicative areas shown in the Statement, and may not reflect the eventual advertised licence areas. The file is available.

DAB multiplex variations

The following multiplex variations were agreed during this period:

ChangeMultiplex
Addition of Times Radio – A speech radio station from The Times and The Sunday Times. Sound Digital (national); Aberdeen
Removal of talkRADIO – A speech service  featuring current affairs and entertainment programming and regular UK and international news. Aberdeen     
Addition of Magic Musicals – The best of musical theatre plus theatre showbiz news and features.Tayside
Addition of Colourful Radio – A service for the African Caribbean community.London 3
Removal of Eagle 80s – A music-based station playing songs from the 1980s.Surrey
Removal of Encore Radio – A radio station playing music from theatre and film musicals, with speech of relevance for the target audience.Surrey
Removal of Suffolk First – A local service for Suffolk featuring a complementary mixture of Country and Contemporary music.Suffolk
Removal of Pulse 80s – Music from the 1980s.Bradford & Huddersfield
Removal of Signal 80s – Music from the 1980s.Stoke-on-Trent
Removal of Wave 80s – Music from the 1980s.Swansea
Addition of Absolute Classic Rock – A classic rock music service.Bradford & Huddersfield; Stoke-on-Trent; Swansea
Addition of Country Hits – Today’s best Country hits stationBradford & Huddersfield; Stoke-on-Trent; Swansea
Addition of Hits Radio –  A classic and contemporary hits station.Bradford & Huddersfield; Stoke-on-Trent; Swansea
Addition of Magic Chilled – A chill-out music service.Bradford & Huddersfield; Stoke-on-Trent; Swansea
Addition of Magic Soul – A soul and pop music service.Bradford & Huddersfield; Stoke-on-Trent; Swansea
Addition of Magic Musicals – The best of musical theatre plus theatre showbiz news and features.Stoke-on-Trent

Analogue Community Radio

Community Radio Fund – Round 2, 2020-21

The second round of the Community Radio Fund 2020-21 will open for applications from eligible stations on 21 July and will close at 5pm on 3 August 2020. The awarding Panel will meet in August 2020 to consider the applications.

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. Application documents for the second round will be published when the window opens, and we recommend that applicants read the statement from the first round ahead of applying. This can be found at Award of grants 2020-21 Round 1.

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 Fund team at communityradiofund@ofcom.org.uk or visit the Community Radio Fund page on our website.

Licences issued in this period

Service nameLicenseeLocation
Radio2Funky 2FUNKY ARTS LTD Leicester

Licence extensions granted in this period

A five year extension has been granted to the following:

Service nameLicenseeLocationNew expiry date
Leisure FMLeisure FM LimitedBraintree East09/07/2025
Fuse FMUllans Speakers AssociationBallymoney05/07/2025
Nova FMRadio Nova LimitedNewport, Shropshire03/07/2025
Uckfield FMUckfield Community Radio LimitedUckfield30/06/2025
GaydioGaydio Community Interest CompanyCentral Manchester17/06/2025

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:

Gateway 97.8 (PDF, 183.2 KB)
Published 09|06|20

First FM (PDF, 180.5 KB)
Published 09|06|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
Angel Radio Portsmouth
Canalside's The Thread 102.8 FMBollington

Coverage extensions agreed:

See the invitation to apply (PDF, 325.1 KB) for the range of factors we take into account when considering these requests (in particular, paragraphs 2.46-2.49).

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

Increase in the licensed area: the addition  two relays to extend the service were 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:

  • Due to the typography of the area, coverage to the desired areas could not be achieved by means of power increase.
  • The applicant highlighted that Chipping Norton is underserved by local services and that the village experiences poor coverage from the existing transmission parameters. The extension will therefore enable the target population to be served by an FM service which provides targeted local news and information.
  • The licensee would like to extend their service to areas which are located in the adjacent postcode to their existing coverage area, demonstrating the affinity and relationship between the areas.
  • The licensee provided significant evidence of demand and support for extending the coverage of the service.
  • The applicant noted that the service already covers local news, and promotes and supports events and local amenities in Chipping Norton and neighbouring connovations, despite poor coverage to these areas.
StationExmouthAiR
Current licence areaExmouth and Sidmouth
Extended licence areaExmouth, Sidmouth and surrounding villages
Reasons for agreeing to the extension

Increase in the licensed area: the addition of a relay to extend the service outlying villages in the east Devon district 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:

  • Due to the topography of the area, coverage from the current sites does not reach the desired areas. Analysis concluded that these areas could not be reached via power increase.
  • The applicant highlighted that some parts of these villages continue to be underserved. The extension will therefore fill in coverage gaps and enable the target population to be fully served by an FM service which provides targeted/vital local news and information. Further, the application indicated that there was demand and support for coverage within these villages.
  • There is an affinity between the existing coverage area and the outlying villages as they are under the jurisdiction of East Devon district area.