Medium wave station Asian Sound Radio, which covers Lancashire and Greater Manchester has been given permission to provide different services on its two transmitters.
Ofcom has approved a format change request which will see the station have a different target audience for its 1377AM transmitter compared with its service on 963AM.
The regulator had held a consultation on the issue and has decided to approve the request with one minor wording change to the proposed station format.
Asian Sound Radio’s 963kHz frequency covers the towns of Preston, Blackburn, Burnley, Rochdale and Bolton, while the 1377kHz service is for the Manchester, Oldham and Stockport part of its TSA.
The station had asked to provide a different service on 1377 to target the Asian Arabic Muslim community. The whole station’s current requirement is to target Asian listeners with at least a third of output in Urdu and Hindi with programmes also aimed at the Gujerati and Bengali speaking communities.
Ofcom noted that the change would permit “the creation of an entirely new service of a substantial part of (the station’s) coverage area, with a different target audience to that of the current Asian Sound Radio service” (ie. specifically Asian and Arabic Muslims, rather than the more general Asian population).
The Radio Licensing Committee met earlier this month and noted that for listeners to the Asian Sound service broadcast on 963 kHz, there should be no change at all, since Asian Sound will continue to broadcast its existing service. They determined that the effect of the proposed change to the output on 1377kHz would be “broadly neutral”, with a move from one ‘targeted service to another more specifically ‘targeted service.
Asian Sound Radio’s existing service is also set to continue for listeners in the Manchester area via digital radio.
Asian Sound Radio’s existing Character of Service:
A LOCALLY ORIENTED MUSIC AND INFORMATION SERVICE FOR ASIAN LISTENERS IN EAST LANCASHIRE, WITH A MIX OF MUSIC. AT LEAST A THIRD OF THE OUTPUT WILL BE IN URDU AND HINDI, AND THE GUJERATI AND BENGALI SPEAKING COMMUNITIES WILL BE CATERED FOR.
New format for Asian Sound Radio:
A LOCALLY ORIENTED MUSIC AND INFORMATION SERVICE FOR ASIAN LISTENERS IN EAST LANCASHIRE, WITH A MIX OF MUSIC. AT LEAST A THIRD OF THE OUTPUT WILL BE IN URDU AND HINDI, AND THE GUJERATI AND BENGALI SPEAKING COMMUNITIES WILL BE CATERED FOR. ON THE 1377 kHz TRANSMITTER ONLY, A MUSIC-BASED SERVICE TARGETING THE ASIAN AND ARABIC MUSLIM COMMUNITY MAY BE BROADCAST.