RSLs hold the key to licence
All four of the recently licenced community radio stations have run at least one Restricted Service Licence before being awarded a five year licence, Ofcom has announced. One group, Utopia FM in Sunderland has completed nine temporary broadcasts over the years.
Utopia FM will be a student station based at the University of Sunderland and play new music. It was awarded a licence because the applicant demonstrates that it has been actively involved with the wider local community through partnerships with local educational institutions and training programmes with local youth groups. The board of the station will include representatives from the local community and local business, as well as university and academic staff.
Richard Berry, senior lecturer in radio at Sunderland told RadioToday.co.uk: “The new community radio licence means we can really build on the success that Utopia has had over the past ten years. It also means we can do so much more and work closely with the audience and the community in ways that short-term broadcasts could never do.”
Spice FM has run five RSL broadcasts, will serve the Black and minority ethnic communities of Newcastle upon Tyne. Its focus on Asian music and a size-able quantity of non-English speech is expected to broaden the choice available locally and serve an under served community, says Ofcom.
3TFM (Three Towns FM) will serve the local community of Stevenston, Saltcoats and Ardrossan with a community radio service which places particular emphasis on improving the health and general well-being of local residents. The group have previously ran two RSLs.
Finally, Community Voice FM will provide Middlesbrough with training in partnership with local education providers, with a particular focus on the poor and disadvantaged. The station operated one RSL before being granted a licence recently.