Community radio stations to get better coverage

Ofcom is giving existing community radio licensees an opportunity to apply to improve or extend their current licensed coverage area.

Stations in all areas are eligible to apply but coverage improvements or extensions are unlikely to be possible in every location, as some may lack frequencies or face interference.

Once applications have been received, Ofcom will examine frequency availability and outgoing interference as part of its assessment.

Typically, community radio services have a coverage area restriction of 5km radius unless specifically allowed to cover a larger area, such as Dales Radio in Yorkshire and Radio Caroline in East Anglia.

Ofcom will prioritise coverage improvements before than extensions, with the application document saying: “Ofcom can authorise an extension to a licensed area into an adjoining area or locality only if: it would not result in a significant increase in the licensed area, or if Ofcom considers that the increase in the licensed area is justifiable in the exceptional circumstances of the case.”

The closing date for applications for improvements is 23:59 on 31 July 2018 and for extensions to existing licensed coverage areas is 23:59 on 18 September 2018.

Ofcom is recommending that licensees first check the existing transmission limits in their Wireless Telegraphy Act licence, to see if they are making full use of their equipment to reach these upper limits. If not, there might be scope for changing or upgrading equipment in order to improve the radio signal while remaining within the limits authorised under their WTA licence.

The regulator will not be charging any fees for applications for coverage improvements or extensions.

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  1. Michael V says

    This is far long overdue. One example is here in vale of Glamorgan, Bro Radio only covers the East of the county & is not even half. They’ve move their transmitter to go an extra two miles west but then the town on the east side of the country now suffers poorer signal. But in one area it suffers from interference from Radio1 from south West of England. I lie they’ll definitely take up this offer to cover the area they are ment to cover.

    1. JAYE says

      yes totally agree lots of people love community radio because we at SUSY RADIO 103.4fm Sussex and Surrey bring a wide range of music and topics.The commercial and national radio stations are just stuck in the same groove and think all listeners are aged 15 to 20 years old .CRAZY.Radio is about variety and choices too.On a final note tune in to JAYES SOUL AND JAZZ FUNK SHOW….SATURDAY NIGHTS 8 TIL 11PM…also on line ‘@SUSYRADIO.COM or via uk radio player or Tune in radio APP……….Spread the WORD on the streets… CHEERS….AM OUT [ JAYE ]

  2. Mike P says

    Hope Radio Caroline apply for extended coverage from the Brighton DAB Transmitter to better serve Worthing than now

  3. Peter White says

    Great idea! A good example is Meridian FM in East Grinstead. I live in neighbouring Dormansland. Just under 3 miles away and the signal is rubbish!? Yet the station editorially covers this neck of the woods.

  4. Dave says

    It is a start but there needs to be a total rethink on community radio.
    It has been over 10 years since the first community radio stations & more & more people are listening on line.
    Having community stations only having the range of 2 to 3 miles max is just not viable.

  5. radio producer says

    Long overdue, but it doesn’t go far enough as usual.
    The playing field will never be level, while the greedy Corporates insist on having everything their way.
    Tail wagging the dog as ever!

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