Potential applicants for the expiring Heart and Smooth licences in Ipswich/Bury St Edmunds will need to wait till the Suffolk DAB licence has been awarded before they are re-advertised.
Ofcom has put the consideration of the renewal applications on hold, and extended the licences held by Global for Heart Suffolk and Smooth Suffolk for a period of six months, to 5 May 2016.
The regulator is waiting till it has decided who wins the local DAB multiplex licence – even though there is only one applicant – before continuing with the renewal. But if the local DAB applicant, MuxCo Suffolk, is successful, Heart and Smooth may join the line up, eliminating the need for a full re-licence procedure.
In short, if Heart and Smooth join the local DAB multiplex, they are automatically granted licence extensions, but the DAB multiplex is still under consideration.
Heart is broadcast on 97.1 and 96.4 FM and was previously known as SGR FM, whilst Smooth was more recently broadcasting as Gold. The area’s original station names were Radio Orwell and Saxon Radio.