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Community awards explained

Ofcom have explained the factors behind the awarding of six community radio stations on 13th April 2006.

The six stations to win a new licence were Aldershot Army Radio (Aldershot, Hampshire), Beats FM (Cardiff), Cross Rhythms Teesside (Stockton on Tees), Pendle Community Radio (Nelson, Lancashire), Trust FM (Chesterfield) and 209radio (Cambridge).

All community radio services must satisfy certain ‘characteristics of service’ which are specified in Article 3 of the Community Radio Order 2004. The RLC was satisfied that each of the groups awarded a licence met these ‘characteristics of service’. In addition, each application was considered having regard to the criteria set out in section 105 of the Broadcasting Act 1990 (‘BA 1990’) (as modified by the Community Radio Order 2004). A summary of these criteria is set out below. The key considerations in relation to these criteria, which formed the basis of the RLC’s decisions to award licences to particular applicants, are also set out below. Where applicable, the relevant subsection of section 105 of the BA 1990 is noted in brackets.

Finally, the RLC was satisfied that, with the exception of 209radio in Cambridge, each group awarded a licence should be allowed to seek up to 50% of its annual income from the sale of advertising or programme sponsorship if it so wishes, in accordance with section 105(6) BA 1990, and that none of the new services would prejudice unduly the economic viability of any other local service (section 105(3) BA 1990).

209radio (Cambridge) will have a condition in its licence prohibiting income from the sale of advertising or programme sponsorship. This is because the coverage of the service falls within the existing coverage area of a local radio service with more than 50,000, but fewer than 150,000, adults living in its measured coverage area (Star 107). Under the legisation, community radio services in such areas are prevented from seeking advertising and programme sponsorship revenue (section 105(4)(b)) if the coverage of the two stations overlaps by 50% or more in terms of adult (15+) population.

Read the full report by clicking here.

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