Ofcom has updated the planned timetable for the advertisement of new analogue local commercial radio licences to include a new licence for Herefordshire and Monmouthshire.
This licence is offered for a service designed to cover as much of the counties of Herefordshire and Monmouthshire as is technically possible, using up to four FM frequencies.
Coverage is expected to include the main population centres of Hereford, Ledbury, Leominster and Ross-on-Wye (in Herefordshire) and Monmouth and Abergavenny (in Monmouthshire), and the areas around and in between them. Due to a lack of available spectrum in southern Monmouthshire, coverage should not include Chepstow, and is unlikely to include Usk. This licence is not designed to serve any significant population centres located outside of Herefordshire and Monmouthshire (e.g. Worcester, Cheltenham, Gloucester, Newport), and therefore Ofcom does not intend to approve transmission proposals which would deliver unacceptably strong signals into any of these locations.
Ofcom is seeking international agreement for the use of the frequency 106.2 MHz, with transmission parameters similar to those of the existing Hereford & Worcester service operated by Wyvern FM on 97.6 MHz from the Ridge Hill transmitter site. This transmitter is expected to provide coverage very similar to that achieved by Wyvern FM.
A second frequency is offered to provide coverage of Monmouth and the surrounding area. It is expected that this frequency should be able to be used at a maximum effective radiated power (erp) of 1 kilowatt mixed polarisation, with a maximum erp of 500 watts applying in each of the horizontal and vertical planes of polarisation.
A third frequency will be made available to enhance coverage along the main A465 route between Hereford and Abergavenny. It is expected that this frequency would be able to be used at a maximum erp of 100 watts mixed polarisation, with a maximum erp of 50 watts applying in each of the horizontal and vertical planes of polarisation.
Finally, a fourth frequency should be available to be used on a co-channel basis at low power to extend coverage to and/or enhance coverage in each of Leominster and Abergavenny.
Apart from Ridge Hill, no transmitter sites is to be cleared for this licence until the successful applicant has finalised its transmission proposals.