It's emerged Ofcom gave approval for Banbury Sound to be co-located with other stations run by new owners Quidem ahead of the recent sale of the station.
In their latest radio licensing update for September – released today – the regulator indicates that permission was granted to former owner Russell Harrison last month.
[link=http://radiotoday.co.uk/news.php?extend.6326.2]We told you[/link] last week that Quidem had added Banbury Sound to its portfolio of stations in the midlands, now totaling six. When the group took over five stations from CN Group in 2009, it didn't buy the Banbury station (at the time branded as Touch FM), leaving a consortium from the station to take it over independently and later sell it to businessman Russel Harrison.
Quidem say they intend to retain the Banbury Sound name, but refused to comment on any plans for co-location.
In his application to Ofcom to co-locate, Mr Harrison said: "The Banbury service was launched in 2006 as Touch fm by the CN Group. Despite the expertise and resources of the owners, and programme sharing with the other Touch services based in Honiley, the business did not achieve viability. When Quidem acquired CN’s Midlands radio services, the transaction specifically excluded the Banbury licence because of the losses it was incurring, and it was offered to the existing management. The management buy-out struggled to stem the losses and it was acquired by me and relaunched as Banbury Sound in 2009. Despite improvements to the output and stronger Rajar figures the business remains unprofitable as a standalone service with the overhead of premises costs."
He added: "We are seeking to co-locate the service within the Stratford-upon-Avon TSA at Honiley. The Stratford and Banbury MCAs overlap on Banbury’s western margin and the geographic distances are not great. The Quidem portfolio in the Midlands consists of similar sized towns to Banbury (such as Rugby and Warwick) and they share a number of characteristics for example, in the make-up of the employment and commercial markets.
"I have agreed to sell Banbury Sound (BBC Ltd.) to Quidem subject to Ofcom approval of both the transaction and a change of format to allow co-location in Honiley."