UKRD’s Spire FM is to bid against Celador Radio for the tiny commercial radio licence for Warminster, being re-advertised by Ofcom.
The licence is the smallest in England and Wales, covering just 18,000 people in west Wiltshire including Frome and Westbury. It’s being fully re-advertised after Ofcom received two “declarations of intent”, from the current licence holder, Celador Radio, broadcasting as The Breeze, and from Spire FM, around 20 miles away in Salisbury. Warminster and Frome are also already served by two community radio stations. The new licence will run for seven years.
At present, The Breeze’s Ofcom Format requires it to broadcast locally-produced material for seven hours each weekday and four hours on Saturdays and Sundays. Locally-made programmes must be produced within the Warminster, Bristol or Bath areas; and output can be shared between the Warminster, Bristol, Bath, Bridgewater & West Somerset, Yeovil and Shaftesbury stations.
Spire FM’s Managing Director, Ceri Hurford-Jones, said that if its bid was successful, the new station would “mirror the lives and activities of people living in the area… having a physical presence in the area is important in terms of fulfilling the expectations of listeners for live, up‐to‐date local information.”
The Warminster licence has had a turbulent history, starting life as The Local Radio Company’s 3TR-FM. Since being sold by TLRC in 2008, it’s been owned by Laser Broadcasting, South West Radio, YMC and More FM, before being acquired by Celador and rebranded as The Breeze in November last year.