Ofcom has approved a change of wording for Absolute Radio's national licence terms and also given permission to drop local news on the station's London FM service.
The format change means specific requirements for a certain percentage of output to be recent releases or album tracks no longer apply.
The new simpler format for Absolute Radio's national AM service will move to one in-line with the FM licence:
[blockquote]A ROCK-ORIENTED STATION COMBINING NEW MUSIC WITH CLASSIC ALBUM TRACKS, AIMED AT 25-44 YEAR-OLDS.[/blockquote]
Previously, over any seven-day period, the station's music output was required to be at least 75 percent 'rock-orientated', at least 25 percent (and no more than 65 percent) tracks released within the previous 12 months, and at least 5 percent made up of recordings which have never
featured in any top forty sales based singles charts. In addition, the previous promise of performance required 80 percent of Absolute Radio's music to have been released since 1970 and speech to not account for more than 25 percent of output (excluding adverts, sponsors and promos).
Deciding to approve the request to change, Ofcom's Radio Licensing Committee said: "It remains the case that Absolute would not be able to move to a speech-oriented format, or digress from its core music remit. It was also felt that the inclusion of a 25-44 year-old target age demographic in the revised Format should prevent the service from moving either very ‘old’ or very contemporary musically (which a number of restrictions in the current Character of Service are designed to prevent), while commitments to playing album tracks and new music are also retained in the new Character of Service."
In a separate request, Absolute asked for permission to drop the hourly peak-time local news service on its London 105.8FM frequency, with the service for the capital becoming part of the national network under Ofcom's 'Regional FM stations policy'. It will continue to air local advertising but this is the only thing that will now set it apart from the national service. Absolute highlighted that the station's presence on Digital One means it easily meets Ofcom's definition of a national service, and the regulator approved the request.
Absolute Radio's Head of Strategy and Planning Adam Bowie told RadioToday.co.uk: "We have simplified and aligned our AM and FM licences, updating the description of our output to reflect our national status."