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Ashford radio licence decision to be challenged in High Court

The Chairman of A-Ten FM has been given the go ahead to challenge the government communications regulator Ofcom on its decision to award the new Ashford local radio licence to a company which is majority owned by the Kent Messenger newspaper group.

In his legal challenge, Chairman Francis Wildman claims the licence award decision was seriously flawed in several ways – in particular that the winning licensee plans to beam in around half of its programming from its existing radio stations elsewhere in Kent.

Mr Wildman said ?Ofcom have failed in their principal duty to encourage competition and diversity of choice for listeners. They have ignored what Parliament intended and more importantly what the people of Ashford wanted. Although I believe some local people supported the trial broadcasts of Lark FM, what KM are now offering bears no resemblance. Even the local news bulletins will be piped in from elsewhere in Kent.”

?If Ofcom?s decision is allowed to stand, the people of Ashford will be left with a third rate local radio service which poorly serves the area and its people. This is not what Ashford wants or deserves.?

?Ofcom simply cannot be allowed to ignore the rules laid down to them by Parliament or to ride roughshod over the wishes of the people of Ashford?

Mr Wildman welcomes comment on his legal challenge at info@atenfm.co.uk.

There were a total of six applications for the licence which was awarded in January 2005. A date for the High Court hearing has yet to be announced.

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