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Ofcom awards four new community radio licences

Ofcom today announces the award of four new community radio licences.

Community radio is a new sector of radio being introduced in the UK. It will become the third tier of radio which will complement the mix of services already provided by the BBC and commercial radio sectors. The characteristics of community radio are distinct from commercial radio in that the services will cover a small geographical area and be provided on a not-for-profit basis focusing on the delivery of specific social benefits to enrich a particular geographical community or a community of interest.

Ofcom has awarded community radio licences in the following areas:

-Stoke on Trent
-Neath and Port Talbot

The new community radio licensees in each of these areas are:

Angel Radio (Havant)
contact: Tony Smith, 17 Market Parade, Havant, Hampshire PO9 1PY
tel: 023 9248 1988,
email: angelradiohavant@yahoo.co.uk
website: www.angelradio.co.uk
The group currently operates one of the pilot access/community radio services and began broadcasting in March 2002. Angel Radio will provide a community radio service specifically for persons aged 60 and over who live in Havant.

Seven applications were received from groups in the Solent area. Two other applications in the Solent area, from The Island?s Play (Isle of Wight) and The Radio Foundation (Chichester) were considered, but have not been awarded a licence.

Ofcom is currently investigating whether there will be other frequencies available in the Solent area to enable further community radio services to broadcast.

Cross Rhythms Radio City Radio (Stoke on Trent)
contact: Steven Perry, PO Box 1110, Stoke on Trent, ST1 1XR
tel: 08700 118008,
email: steve.perry@crossrhythms.co.uk
website: www.crossrhythms.co.uk
Cross Rhythms City Radio serves the Christian access/community in the Stoke-on-Trent area. It has broadcast as one of the community radio pilot projects for over three years.

Three applications were received from groups in Staffordshire. The two other applications in Staffordshire, from FORward Radio (Stoke on Trent ) and Smart Radio (Stone), were considered, but have not been awarded a licence.

GTFM (Pontypridd)
contact: Andrew Jones, Pinewood Studios, Pinewood Avenue, Rhydyfelin, Pontypridd, Mid Glamorgan CF37 5EA
tel: 01443 406111
email: Andrew@gtfm.co.uk
GTFM aims to provide a local and inclusive radio service for the residents of Pontypridd. It is a partnership between a local residents? association and the University of Glamorgan. GTFM is another of the pilot radio station operators.

AfanFM (Neath and Port Talbot)
contact: Craig Williams, 80 Tirmorfa Road, Port Talbot, West Glamorgan SA12 7PG
email: craig@afanfm.co.uk
tel: 07791 375999
website: www.afanfm.co.uk
AfanFM will provide a community radio station for Neath and Port Talbot in South Wales. It will be aimed specifically at young people aged 11-25 and will deliver a music-based information service.

A further three applications have been received from groups in South Wales. These will be considered at a later date.

This brings the total number of community radio licences awarded to date to five. Licences are awarded for a five-year period.

Applications for the first wave of community radio licences were invited in September 2004. Ofcom received 194 applications and is currently in the process of assessing those applications and examining frequency availability options.

There are currently 14 pilot community radio stations operating around the UK. Given the large number of applications received for community radio licences, Ofcom decided to assess them in order of priority by first considering applications for areas where the 14 pilot community radio stations are currently broadcasting. This involves over 70 applications, and includes areas such as London, Manchester and Glasgow.

Ofcom is aiming to make decisions in these areas before the end of July, before moving on to look at applications for areas not involved in the pilot scheme. Ofcom expects to complete this round of the community radio awards process by the autumn.

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