Ofcom have turned down a request by UTV to relocate Imagine 104.9 FM. UTV wanted to move the Stockport station to their hub at Warrington, where it already houses three other stations.
The regulars cited a "failure to provide sufficient evidence" for the required format change necessary to co-locate the station.
According to Ofcom guidelines, stations such as Imagine FM which have an adult population of more than 250,000 adults should operate within its own licensed area unless in exceptional circumstances.
Despite broadcasting to 463,000 adults, UTV cited a fiercely competitive Manchester market as the main reason for the station's "failure", along with concerns in retaining staff.
In making their decision after a four week public consultation, Ofcom decided UTV did not convincingly demonstrate that co-location is required to ensure the financial viability of the station concerned.