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FM107.9 wants to go Smooth

Oxford's FM 107.9, currently a station for young people, has asked Ofcom to change the character of the station to become an easy listening station targeted at an older audience of over 45's.

It's the first time such a radical Format change has been proposed, to which the regulator needs to enter a public consultation before coming to a decision.

FM107.9, owned by Passion Radio Oxford, is currently a "voice for the young" with a requirement to deliver the sort of cutting-edge and credible music that would be appreciated by Oxford's students and youth community.

Passion Radio would like the new format to be the voice for Oxford through a mix of easy-listening soft music aimed at the 45+ adults with local news, phone-ins, local information and culture features targeting the city. The company also owns JACK fm, with both stations sharing studio location.

In requesting the change, management say FM107.9 would continue to provide local news, phone-ins, local information and culture features targeting the city. [i]It's only the music that would change.[/i] A likeness to London's Smooth Radio was highlighted in the proposal.

Ofcom needs to work out if the change would substantially alter the character of the service, narrow the range of programmes available in the area by way of relevant independent radio services, be conducive to the maintenance or promotion of fair and effective competition or if there is a significant demand for, or significant support for, the change.

[b]LICENCE HISTORY[/b]

1997 Station launched as Oxygen

2000 Station acquired by Fusion Radio Holdings (FRH) and re-branded as Fusion 107.9

2001 FRH acquired by Milestone Group

2002 Licence re-awarded

2003 Station relaunched as Passion 107.9

2006 Bought by Absolute Radio International Limited – re-launched as Oxford’s FM107.9

2010 Format change requested to over 45's station

Ofcom invites written views and comments on the issues raised in this document, to be made by 5pm on 19 March 2010.

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