Radio broadcast update May 2019

04 June 2019

Analogue commercial radio

Licence renewals granted in this period

A seven year renewal has been granted to the following:

Area (station) Current licensee
Grimsby (Compass FM) Compass Radio Limited
Medway Towns (KMFM) KM Media Group Limited

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.

The Breeze (Portsmouth)
Published 04|06|19

The Breeze (Southampton)
Published 04|06|19

The Breeze (Winchester)
Published 04|06|19

KCFM (Kingston-upon-Hull)
Published 04|06|19

Digital radio

Digital sound programme service (DSPS) licences issued this period

News Radio UK Limited
Noah's Ark Glasgow
Revival FM (Glasgow) Ltd
Positive Digital Media Ltd

New local radio multiplex licences: Morecambe Bay, North and West Cumbria and southwest Scotland

Following feedback from stakeholders, Ofcom has reconsidered its approach to local radio multiplex licensing in the areas listed above.

Instead of advertising two new local radio multiplex licences - one for the Morecambe Bay area, and the other for the North and West Cumbria and Southwest Scotland area – as stated in the last Monthly Update (April 2019), Ofcom will instead advertise the availability of three DAB frequency-blocks which can be used (on their own, or in different combinations) to provide DAB coverage across part, or the whole, of the three areas listed above.

It will be up to applicants to decide which frequency-block(s) they wish to use to achieve their desired coverage for their proposed programme service providers. Ofcom will then award a local radio multiplex licence, or licences (up to a maximum of three) having regard to the criteria in section 51 of the Broadcasting Act 1996, and the available spectrum.

We hope to publish the advertisement shortly.

DAB multiplex variations

The following multiplex variations were agreed during this period:


Removal of Capital FM – A contemporary and chart music led service for under 40s.

Addition of Smooth Radio - A mainstream music station, playing mainly easy listening music.


Removal of Panda Radio – A mix of talk shows & music for UK residents aged 25 - 45 with an interest in finding out more about China, its culture, language and people.  Service also intended for English-speaking adults of Chinese origin and Chinese students studying in the UK

London 2
Addition of Spectrum Radio - A full service music, information and speech service utilising Spectrum Radio’s experience of broadcasting to minority ethnic groups and the general public with an interest in multi cultural London. It will include A mix of talk & music for UK residents. 

Analogue community radio

Licences issued in this period

Service nameLicenseeLocation
Maritime Radio Greenwich Media C.I.C Greenwich, London
Radio Ramadan 365Noah's Ark GlasgowGlasgow

Licence extensions granted in this period

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

Service nameLicenseeLocation New expiry date
Academy FM 107.8 Academy FM Thanet Thanet, Kent 4 April 2025
Peace Full Media LimitedPeace Full Media LimitedHulme, Manchester 30 September 2024
Pulse 98.4Pulse Community Radio LtdBarrhead, East Renfrewshire27 July 2024
Sine FMHigher Rhythm LimitedDoncaster, South Yorkshire18 September 2024
SparkUniversity of SunderlandSunderland, Tyne and Wear25 October 2024

Services which have ceased to be licensed (handed back or revoked) in this period

Service nameLicenseeLocationReason
DemonFM Demon FM Limited Leicester Licence expired

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).

Coverage improvements agreed:

Service nameLocation
Academy FM Ramsgate, Kent
Cross Rhythms Plymouth Plymouth, Devon
Hillz FM Coventry, West Midlands
Pulse Community Radio Barrhead, East Renfrewshire

Coverage extensions agreed:

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

StationKoast Radio
Current licence areaAshington and its surrounding areas.
Extended licence areaAshington, Cramlington, Blyth and Morpeth.
Reasons for agreeing to the extension

Significant increase in the licensed area: An extension to add Cramlington, Blyth and Morpeth to the licence for Ashington was AGREED. Ofcom considered that the change would amount to a large increase in the licensed area, but not a significant increase. We considered that there were clear relationships and affinities between the locations, which are all part of the South East Northumberland Delivery Area (a sub area of Northumberland county Council).

Exceptional circumstances: Ofcom did not need to consider whether there were ‘exceptional circumstances’ to justify an increase in this case. 

Other considerations:

  • An   increase in power is possible to serve the areas requested (although Morpeth   may not be fully served), which has been capped to ensure there is no   inference into other services.
  • Koast is   currently receivable in the areas requested, although reception is poor.
  • The   licensee has a team of volunteer presenters from the communities in the   proposed extension area.
  • Koast is already “heavily involved in these wider   communities in supporting local groups and sporting and leisure events   including live broadcasts” (taken from the application). Other   information was provided about how Koast would   ensure output and services were relevant to the proposed new areas.
  • The   extended area would not overlap with any other community radio stations or   small commercial stations.
StationVixen 101
Current licence areaMarket Weighton and the surrounding area
Extended licence areaMarket Weighton, Pocklington and the surrounding area

Reasons for agreeing to the extension

Significant increase in the licensed area: An extension via a relay to Pocklington was AGREED, because it was considered not to be significant increase in the licensed area. Pocklington is a small village within the adjoining area of the current licensed area with a small population. The increase in the licensed area is therefore 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:

  • Vixen 101’s current   licensed area is specified as ‘Market Weighton and   the surrounding area’. The decision-maker deemed that Pocklington could   easily be encapsulated within this description.
  • There was plenty of   demand and support for the request, with letters provided both by their local   councillor and their MP.
  • It is important to   recognise that the area of Pocklington was previously served by a community   radio station (West Wolds Radio) who were unable to sustain the service given   the size of the area for which it served. By allowing Vixen 101 to extend its   licensed area to include Pocklington, the decision-maker suggested that this   could help support the licensee in its ability to maintain the service   for the duration of the licence.
  • We said in our   invitation we would take into account the   whether there was a relationship or affinity to the existing licensed area   and whether a coverage extension would be appropriate in view of a station’s   stated target community as described in its Key Commitments. For Vixen 101,   it explained in its application that both Market Weighton and   Pocklington are located within neighbouring electoral wards, while the   geographical distance between the two towns is relatively small.
  • Our predictions   indicated that Pocklington would be properly served with the use of a relay,   which would improve the weak signal that listeners in Pocklington currently   have available to them.

Please note:

Ofcom received over 130 requests in total for an improvement or an extension from existing community radio stations. It will take 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.

If a technical change is possible, in each case we will consider whether the request is in line with the requirements we set out in the guidance, including the statutory criteria, as part of our process. We will get back to each applicant in due course, by email.

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, is available on our website here

Changes to Key Commitments agreed in this period:

Radio Caroline (PDF, 215.2 KB)
Published 29|05|19

Community radio licence applications

Ofcom invited community radio licence applications to provide services in the areas listed in the invitation of applications for community radio licences (PDF, 196.3 KB). The closing date for receipt of applications was Tuesday 26 March 2019. The list of applicants is available on Ofcom’s website, in the section: Applications for community radio licences, along with a public copy of each application.