Radio broadcast update October 2021

02 November 2021

  • Digital Radio
  • Analogue Commercial Radio
  • System maintenance

    Online licensing services will be significantly reduced between Friday 26 November and 13 December 2021 due to planned system maintenance.

    During this time, you will not be able to make Debit or Credit Card payments via the Ofcom Payment Portal. Payments will still be accepted via BACS, but confirmation of your payment and/or the issuing of any due licence documents will be delayed until after 13 December.

    To minimise the risk of revocation of your broadcasting licence(s) please ensure payment of licence fees is made at your earliest convenience and prior to the 26 November cut off.

    The Broadcast Licensing Team will still be available to deal with any general enquiries during this time. Please email broadcast.licensing@ofcom.org.uk with your query. If you would like to speak to a member of the team over the phone, please send an email requesting a call back.

    Please accept our sincere apologies for any inconvenience this may cause.

    Digital radio

    Local/national DAB multiplex variations

    The following multiplex variations were agreed during this period:

    Change

    Multiplex

    Removal of MAX - A radio service broadcasting old school dance music and R&B, and specialist dance music programming.

    Exeter, Torbay and North Devon

    Addition of Gateway - Gateway is for residents of Basildon and the surrounding area. It provides a service to reach and involve the communities of Basildon and East Thurrock and enhance

    community cohesion.

    Essex

    Addition of GrandArcade Christmas - A Christmas music service.

    Cambridge

    Addition of Care Radio – Social Affairs – the station is here to surprise, delight and support the UKs carers, paid or unpaid, and those they care for.

    Addition of Lite Radio - Adult contemporary music-led regional service playing a mix of music predominantly from the 80s to today.

    Surrey

    Addition of Heart North Wales - A simulcast of licence number AL000329 (North and Mid Wales).

    North-East Wales & West Cheshire

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

    Licensee

    Service name

    On Air Radio Limited

    Life Radio

    Mediaphoenix Ltd

    Polish Radio Full FM

    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. We received applications for services in Winchester and Wigan & St Helens in this period.

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

    Licensee

    Service name

    Sab Rang Radio Bradford Ltd

    Sab Rang Radio Bradford

    Helping Hands for the Blind

    Helping Hands Community Radio

    Tyneside Community Digital CIC Ltd

    The Angel Radio

    Stockport One Digital Ltd

    Stockport One Radio

    Radio licensable content services (RLCS) which have ceased to be licensed in this period

    Licensee

    Service name

    Reason

    The Word Network

    The Word Network

    Company dissolved

    Coverage improvement and extension requests

    During the last month the service 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).

    Coverage extensions agreed:

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

    Station

    Q Radio

    Current licence area

    Newry

    Extended licence area

    Newry and surrounding areas

    Reasons for agreeing to the extension

    Increase in the licensed area: An extension via relay at Armagh 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 seeks to broaden the choice of available commercial radio stations in Armagh for listeners by implementing this relay. In its application, it stated that the extension of the service into Armagh will also provide a platform for local businesses to promote themselves on the Q service.
    • In its application, the applicant stated that once lockdown restrictions are relaxed, it would significantly increase its presence in the extended area, attending and promoting local events with street teams and outside broadcast   fleet, which is something they already do within the current licensed area.
    • There is clearly a relationship and an affinity between the current licensed area and Armagh. In terms of geographic proximity, there is less than 20 miles between Newry and Armagh which allows residents, such as school children and workers, to commute daily between the two locations.
    • There are significant links between the two (for example, they are in the same established parliamentary constituency, while county and college Gaelic Games also creates a strong affinity between the two).

    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.

    Imagine Radio (Stockport and Buxton licences)

    Published 01|11|21

    Analogue community radio

    Community radio fund

    The Ofcom Annual Report on Community Radio Fund 2019-20 (PDF, 240.5 KB) has been submitted to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and is available on our website.

    Ofcom has appointed a Non-Executive Member to the Community Radio Fund Panel. Details of membership and biographies can be found on the Community Radio Fund Panel page.

    The full statement can be viewed here.

    Licences issued in this period

    Service Name

    Licensee

    Location

    West Kent Radio

    West Kent Community Radio

    Tunbridge Wells

    Licence extensions granted in this period

    A five year extension has been granted to the following:

    Service name

    Licensee

    Location

    New expiry date

    Lionheart Radio

    Lionheart Radio and Media Community Interest Company

    Alnwick

    29 March 2027

    WCR

    WCR Community Radio

    Warminster

    31 March 2027

    Insanity Radio

    Royal Holloway and Bedford New College

    Egham

    06 March 2027

    Coverage improvement and extension requests

    During the last month the services listed below have had their requests for a coverage improvement 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 name

    Location

    Angel Radio

    Portsmouth

    Irvine Beat

    North Ayrshire

    Coverage extensions agreed:

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

    Station

    Radio Sangam

    Current licence area

    Huddersfield

    Extended licence area

    Huddersfield and areas of North Kirklees

    Reasons for agreeing to the extension

    Increase in licensed area:

    An extension via a relay at Dewsbury was AGREED.

    The increase in the size of the adult population served was deemed to be significant.

    Exceptional circumstances: While the subsequent increase in adult population and coverage was considered to be significant, Ofcom considered that there were ‘exceptional circumstances’ to justify this increase. Members of the target community, who are disproportionately affected by barriers such as poor health, employment, housing and education, have migrated over the years to the extended areas due to the availability of work. As the Radio Sangam signal is weak in the extended areas, this has created a sense of alienation, disenfranchisement and inequality amongst the community. This coverage extension will therefore enable the station to reach the currently underserved community and redress the balance through an increased investment to deliver social gain initiatives in the extended areas.

    Other considerations

    • The applicant highlighted that members of the community in the extended and existing areas   have very close relationship because they originate from the same areas in Pakistan and India, often from the same villages and towns, meaning there are   existing relationships between members of the target community in the   existing and extended areas. Further, its members operate as the same community with regards to identity, religion, festivals and, have common   deprivation factors. This demonstrates a close relationship and affinity   between the two areas, which are also part of the same metropolitan borough.
    • In addition, the station already has seven presenters who reside in the extended areas meaning   the service already cover issues, news and issues that affect people in the extended areas.
    • The applicant noted that the challenges experienced by members of the community in the extended area affect participation in the wider community. The extension of the service   will therefore enable the licensee to provide programming that reflects the challenges experienced by members of the extended community and provide this audience with education and information in an accessible (oral) format. The licensee specifically highlighted that females in the community are particularly disenfranchised and regard the service as a ‘life-line’ and a source of education and information.
    • The applicant noted that the service currently promotes community cohesion and that the extension will therefore support and enhance the station’s community cohesion drive in the   borough.
    • The extension of this service will enable the licensee to enhance its social gain through the investment in community projects in the extended area. For example, the applicant cited   plans to create a number of training placements, some of which will be exclusively earmarked for residents in the extended area which will further   promote the relationship and affinities between the two areas.
    • Although the proposed relay will result in overlap with a neighbouring community radio service, the   decision-maker considered that overlapping community radio services would not be unique in this area. Whist the transmitter sites of the proposed relay and existing relay of the neighbouring service are approximately 2km apart, the large frequency separation and antenna patterns mean the likelihood of interference is low.
    • Further, the key commitments and target audience of the applicant and the overlapping licensee are sufficiently different; the applicant and the neighbouring service would not be negatively impacted by the extension. In addition, the extension will result in a broader range of choice for listeners in the extended area.
    • Concerns were raised by a neighbouring service in relation to the close proximity of transmitters, focusing on the impact of this extension on the range of services available in the area and on future analogue licensing. Ofcom noted these comments but   did not consider them sufficient to decline this request especially in the light of the benefits detailed above and meeting of the statutory criteria   for coverage extensions.
      

    Station

    Sedgemoor FM

    Current licence area

    Bridgwater and its surrounding villages

    Extended licence area

    Bridgwater, Cheddar and their surrounding villages

    Reasons for agreeing to the extension

    Increase in licensed area:

    An extension via a relay at Fry’s Hill 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 noted that the   outlying villages in the extended area form part of the ‘Bridgwater   community’ and although the antenna in the existing area is mounted at the highest possible location, the topography results in patchy coverage which   prevents these outlying villages from receiving the service. The extension will therefore enable the service to be received in the isolated communities in the extended area which will in turn provide truly local and relevant   content, give a voice back to local residents and business, whilst sustaining the service through wider community support.
    • The licensee highlighted that residents and businesses in the extended areas   affiliate themselves with the region known as “Sedgemoor”. This indicates a relationship and affinity between the existing and extended coverage areas. Further, the town of Bridgwater is the main hub and capital of the whole   district, and hosts the local council. The entire region including the villages in the proposed extended area, fall within the administrative district of Bridgwater.
    • The applicant stated that there is a desire from residents, business and community groups for a local radio service that embraces the uniquely local aspects of rural life in Sedgemoor, and that can fully serve the close-knit   community. This was evidenced by letters of demand and support from the local MP, leader of Sedgemoor District Council, business leaders and the local   Deanery, in addition to a petition containing signatures from local business owners, residents and notable community supporters.
    • The extension of this service will provide listeners with greater choice and a diverse range of community radio output in addition to access to a variety of social gain initiatives.
     

    Station

    Cross Counties Radio

    Current licence area

    Lutterworth and surrounding areas

    Extended licence area

    Lutterworth and Blaby Town

    Reasons for agreeing to the extension

    Increase in licensed area:

    An extension via a relay at Blaby Town 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 they had originally applied to cover this area when they applied for their community radio licence, but the local topography meant that the service was not receivable within households of the proposed extended area. However, the applicant demonstrated that they are already serving the proposed extended area in their programming but require the extension to ensure that all potential listeners have the opportunity to listen to the service within their households.
    • The licensee further highlighted the relationships and affinities between the   existing and proposed extended coverage areas, noting that Blaby Town form   part of the same Parliamentary constituency.
    • The applicant demonstrated that the existing and proposed coverage areas both sit within the ‘Golden Triangle’, which houses the M1, M6 and M69 motorways and requires up to date news and travel information. Further, a significant   proportion of workers at Europe’s largest distribution centre (based in Lutterworth) live in either the existing or proposed coverage areas, which demonstrates the relationship between the two areas and why it is important   from the applicants perspective to serve both areas.
    • The applicant has been provided with feedback that the extended area is not currently served by other radio platforms, which means that the extension   will therefore enhance the ability of residents and businesses to source   locally-focused information.
    • The applicant provided evidence of demand and support from individuals and groups in the proposed extended area including both the Blaby District Council and from their local MP.

    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, 325.1 KB) for further information.