Ipswich FM to replace Town 102 after licence win

Town 102’s radio broadcasting licence will be handed over to a new group and relaunch as Ipswich FM after a decision by Ofcom.

The station launched in October 2006 under the control of Tindle Radio, and has since been operated by the Anglian Radio Group and more recently Celador.

Town 102 faced a challenge from Ipswich FM upon renewal of its 12-year licence, with the new group a partnership between Lincs FM Group, Nation Broadcasting and Muxco – which runs the Suffolk DAB multiplex.

In its decision, Ofcom highlights the Ipswich FM application’s commitment to broadcasting on DAB, giving the station a greater number of potential listeners. The regulator noted that Town 102’s application didn’t indicate any plans to broadcast on DAB.

Ofcom also notes that Lincs FM Group Ltd and Nation Broadcasting Ltd are “cash generative”, and that all three shareholders are “currently profitable and have positive shareholder funds, thereby providing – between them – a solid foundation for the business.” It also recognised the ‘considerable combined experience’ of the board of directors of Ipswich FM of running similarly sized local radio stations elsewhere in the UK.

Ipswich FM’s Chairman is Michael Betton, the CEO of Lincs FM Group, who started his career at Ipswich’s first commercial station Radio Orwell (now Heart) in the 1970s.

You can read the Ipswich FM licence application here – it was submitted to Ofcom back in January this year.

Today’s decision to award a licence to a challenger instead of the existing licence holder is the first time it’s happened since Ofcom took over as radio’s regulator.

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  1. Paul Cummins says

    I could be wrong but didn’t Eagle win it’s Guildford licence from the incumbent under OFCOM

    1. Stacey Harris says

      That decision would have been made by the Radio Authority

  2. Martin 1876 says

    This is good news because didn’t Ipswich FM promise to broadcast FROM Ipswich which is something that Town 102 doesn’t .
    Maybe TFM Radio will lose its licence to broadcast to Teesside Southern County Durham and North North Yorkshire seeing as it is now just a 24/7 relay of Metro Radio which is ILR for Tyne and Wear.

    1. Radio Geordie says

      No it won’t as it broadcasts on DAB meaning the licence will automatically be renewed.
      As to why Town FM lost, it tells you in the article – Town FM made no commitment to DAB whilst Ipswich FM do as MuxCo are the station’s parent company.

      1. Martin 1876 says

        Yes Towns application made no mention of future broadcasting on DAB BUT I’m sure also that Ipswich FM prmised to broadcast from Ipswich and Im sure I read somewhere (most likely RT) that even the local MP backed Ipswich FM’s bid because they promised to broadcast from Ipswich and not Norwich as Town does.
        Shame TFM won’t be replaced. Maybe another bidder will challenge them promising to be on DAB.
        It would be nicety have a Teesside based ILR station once again.
        I’m sorry but Alan Robson does my head in. I just don’t listen anymore.

  3. Tricky 1510 says

    It’s a pity that as usual no-one considered the people of West Suffolk ie. Bury St. Edmunds / Stowmarket as part of this, who have no decent local FM / DAB following the national takeover of SGR to Heart back in 2009. Every radio station in Suffolk seems to simply be Ipswich centric – and that includes the BBC.

  4. Stuart says

    One of the small but select group of stations that have lost their license when they’ve come up for renewal joing Victory, LBC, Devonair, Radio Mercury (Guildford), Liberty and a few more

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