National stations to get licence extension
Absolute Radio, Classic FM and talkSPORT will all get an automatic five year licence extension following a Government consultation.
The three national commercial stations, plus around 60 local stations will not need to re-apply for their licences when they expire, as is usually the case.
The Government says the benefits of allowing further renewals at this time outweigh any potential benefits of stations re-competing for licenses, with no commitment of a digital switchover looking likely in the near future.
Ed Vaizey, Minister for the Digital Economy, said: “We believe this important change will continue to support the whole of commercial radio and provide the necessary stability for the sector as a whole as it moves towards a digital future.
“The Government’s consultation found that there is widespread support for the renewal of existing analogue commercial radio licences without re-advertising.
“The Government therefore will amend the relevant legislation to give Ofcom, who manage the licencing process, the powers to allow certain analogue commercial radio licences to be renewed for a further five-year period.”
The results of the consultation by the Government says ‘We believe a renewal period of this length will drive momentum in the continued transition to digital radio, and provide commercial radio with the stability it needs to support this transition’.