Radio broadcast update September 2021

05 October 2021

Digital radio

Local/national DAB multiplex variations

The following multiplex variations were agreed during this period:

Change

Multiplex

Addition of Angel Vintage – A service for adults aged over 60. The service is specifically tailored towards the older generation, with nostalgic music and informative speech on well-being issues to inform, entertain and educate.

Surrey

Addition of Rewind Radio - An open, accessible radio station made by and for people who live and work in Cornwall. Music will focus on the 90s, 00s and future classics.

Cornwall

Addition of Juice Radio - A station playing mainly urban music genres.

Kent

Addition of Nation Radio Scotland - A simulcast of licence number AL101546 (West Central Scotland).

Central Scotland

Publication of Round Two small-scale DAB multiplex applications

Ofcom has published the applications received for the small scale radio multiplex licence areas that were advertised in June. This type of licence is awarded in a competitive process, in which applications are judged against specific statutory criteria. We are inviting comments on the applications. Please send your representations to smallscaleDAB@ofcom.org.uk. The closing date for comments is Friday 22 October 2021.

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

Licensee

Service name

Juice Radio Ltd

Juice Radio

Cross Rhythms

xRhythms

VIBE Yorkshire

VIBE Yorkshire

Rush FM Limited

B Radio

Rewind Radio Ltd

Rewind Radio (Cornwall)

Mixer Radio Ltd

Mixer Radio - HIT MUSIC ONLY

Proper Community Media Lancaster T/A Beyond Radio Ltd

Beyond Radio

Millington Enterprises Limited

Radio West Norfolk

Great British Radio Ltd

Great British Radio

Lancashire Community Radio Ltd

Central 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, Wigan, Oldham and Rochdale, Blackburn, Burnley and Darwen, and Tynemouth and South Shields.

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

Licensee

Service name

Bradford Asian Radio Limited Company

Bradford Asian Radio

Switch Radio

Switch Radio

Analogue Community Radio

Licences issued in this period

Service Name

Licensee

Location

Croydon FM

Croydon FM CIC

Croydon

Rado Scarborough

Radio Scarborough CIC

Scarborough Town

Radio Wimborne

Radio Wimborne Ltd

Wimborne Minster

Licence extensions granted in this period

A five year extension has been granted to the following:

Service name

Licensee

Location

New expiry date

First FM

OX4 FM Community Interest Company

Oxford

26 February 2027

WestHull

West Hull Community Radio Limited

West Hull

25 March 2027

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. You can find information about the process, as well as an application form, on our website.

Changes to Key Commitments agreed in this period:

Stafford FM

Published 04|10|2021

Coverage improvement and extension requests

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

Black Country Radio

Current licence area

Stourbridge

Extended licence area

Stourbridge and Dudley

Reasons for agreeing to the extension

Increase in licensed area:

An extension via a relay at Dudley 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 currently broadcast to the Stourbridge area of the Black County and wish to extend the coverage of their existing service to the north and north-east area of the County.
  • The proposed extended area is not currently served by local community radio, despite the presence of their service and neighbouring community radio services, primarily due to the local topography. The applicant demonstrated that their current content already meets the needs of listeners from within the proposed extended area.
  • Further, the applicant highlighted that the current and proposed coverage areas already have relationships and affinities between them, noting that the regional identity within the Black County continues to increase. By extending their coverage into Dudley, it would add to this regional community and better serve the local population the opportunity for local residents and businesses to source locally-focused information.
  • The applicant highlighted that because of the existing links between both the current and proposed coverage area they already engage with individuals from the extended area, but their engagement is currently limited to off-air activities. The extension will therefore allow this engagement to continue on-air and continue to develop the community relationship between the two areas.
  • Evidence was provided to demonstrate how the licensee has built excellent links with local organisations and authorities, with representatives appearing on the service regularly to either provided locally-relevant information and showcase the work completed in the Licensed Area. The applicant confirmed that should the extension request be approved, they would continue to develop these relationships to ensure that they have a similar impact across the wider region.
  • The applicant also provided demonstration of evidence and demand of support for the extension application, with Dudley Council explaining that the service provides a valuable local service with the community at the heart of everything that it does. It continued to explain that the extension would allow the service to reach members of the community who otherwise would find it hard to access locally-relevant news and information.

Station

BRO Radio

Current licence area

Barry, Llantwit Major, Penarth and surrounding areas

Extended licence area

Barry, Llantwit Major, Penarth and St Athan

Reasons for agreeing to the extension

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

Other considerations

  • St Athan sits in the middle of the station’s current transmitters (100.2MHz in Llantwit Major & 98.1MHz in Barry) and is therefore at the centre of the station existing coverage area. Despite hopes that St Athan would be served via 100.2MHz in Llantwit Major and 98.1MHz, this has not been the case and coverage in the village remains poor. The extension will therefore help secure clear coverage to the proposed extended area. The extension will also ensure the increase in the quality of the service which already provides relevant local news and opportunities for residents and volunteers in the extended area, and in turn   promote better engagement with the service.
  • The applicant indicated demand and support for the service in the extended area by highlighting that the   station already has strong links and works closely with local businesses and charities including ECube solutions, South Wales Aviation Museum and the Community Council. The service also has, in principle, agreed a partnership with the Gathering Place, a community centre and church located at the heart of the village.
  • The licensee noted that both the extended and existing coverage areas are part of the ‘Vale of Glamorgan’ and are linked by the B4265 which is indicative of the relationship and affinities between the two areas. This is demonstrated further by some of the existing volunteers who reside in St Athan which helps the service keep audiences up to date with events in the extended area, and close proximity to studio facilities in Llantwit Major provides easy access and, therefore, additional volunteer opportunities.
  • The applicant asserted that the proposed extended coverage area remains one of the most deprived areas in the Vale of Glamorgan, and that the Vale of Glamorgan Council is also keen to see improvements made to coverage in St Athan as it struggles to engage with people in this area. The extension will therefore aid efforts to reach at risk, isolated and vulnerable members of the community.
  • The decision-maker in this case felt that the additional increase in adult population figures and additional   coverage could not be considered ‘exceptional’ because the extension will only result in a relatively small increase in those who will be able to receive the service.
  • However, the decision-maker did have regard to the cumulative impact that has been created due to the fact that this is the third extension that has been approved along with a power increases at the licensee’s original site and one of the newly approved relay sites. The impact of these approved extensions and power increases means that any further applications to extend the coverage of the service is likely to be considered significant – this is because the impact of any extension request must be considered against the original licensed coverage area and adult population figures (rather than the position following the last   approved extension) in determining whether it could be considered as a significant increase. Therefore, any future request would have to take into account the cumulative impact that these extensions have had on the licensed service and present exceptional circumstances to justify the extension.

Station

East Devon Radio

Current licence area

Current Licence area: Exmouth, Sidmouth and surrounding villages

Extended licence area

Extended Licence area: Exmouth, Sidmouth and surrounding villages

Reasons for agreeing to the extension

Increase in licensed area:

An extension via a relay at Ottery St Mary was AGREED, because the increase in in adult population figures served was deemed not to be significant in this case.

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

Other considerations

  • The applicant has demonstrated that the proposed extended area cannot be served via its existing transmitters due to the local topography. The applicant has also demonstrated the relationship and affinities between the existing licensed area and the proposed extended area, including the fact that the proposed area is in the same District Council area as the areas they currently serve.
  • Further, the applicant has explained that there is significant demand for the extension of their service into Ottery St Mary. The applicant argued that Ottery St Mary is not currently served by local radio, with only two commercial radio stations covering the area which is further impacted by poor FM reception because of the local terrain.
  • Ottery St Mary already features on the service, including local news an traffic updates, while the service   features on-air guests from the extended area which demonstrates the relationship the proposed extended area already has with the towns and villages included in its existing coverage area.
  • The applicant provided extensive evidence of demand and support for the extension from local individuals who have argued how important it would be for them to gain access to the service on FM. Further, the applicant has provided  letters of support for this request from local organisations and from their local MP.
  • The decision-maker in this case felt that the additional increase in adult population figures and additional   coverage could not be considered ‘exceptional’ because the extension will only result in a relatively small increase in those who will be able to receive the service, while the local topography would limit the wider   transmission of the service.
  • However, the decision-maker did have regard to the cumulative impact that has been created due to the fact that this is the third extension that has been approved along with a power increase at the licensee’s original site. The impact of these approved extensions means that any further applications to extend the coverage of the service is likely to be considered significant – this is because the impact of any extension request must be considered against the original licensed coverage area and adult population figures (rather than the position following the last approved extension) in determining whether it could be considered as a significant increase. Therefore, any future request would have to take into account the cumulative impact that these extensions have had on the licensed service and present exceptional circumstances to justify the extension.

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.