Durham FM is looking to move its service to Sunderland to co-locate with sister station, Sun FM. An application by new TLRC local stations managing director Jason Bryant has been submitted to Ofcom.
The Future of Radio guidelines indicate that there is likely to be a stronger case for co-location where a population of less than 250,000 is involved, but Ofcom has agreed to look at requests to co-locate larger stations in exceptional circumstances, such as this. Durham FM's TSA is 295,628.
Although no request has been made to share programming, a public consultation has been launched in an attempt to gather more information on the request before a final decision is made. Comments are invited before January 28th 2009.
This is Bryant's first application for such a request in his new position at TLRC. He points out that the population of the city of Durham is only 42,939, and that the station was originally only intended to serve a adult population of 160,000. The current MSA is over 250,000, but the official TSA is 246,000. Durham FM is currently making a "significant loss", full details of which have been supplied to Ofcom.
A recent request by UTV Radio to co-locate Imagine FM (also with a larger than 250,000 TSA), 20 miles away was turned down.