Key changes refused for Blast 106 Belfast

Blast 106 has been refused a ‘Format’ change by Ofcom just months after the station took the regulator to court.

The student station, which holds a community radio licence, requested to change a number of its programming commitments, social gain objectives and accountability to the target community commitments.

The station said students want to hear more background music whilst studying during the day ‘rather than intensive speech which is not conducive to concentration and study’.

A public consultation was launched, and 77 responses were received, of which 72 were in favour of the change and five opposed. Ofcom said the proposed changes would reduce the amount of material of appeal to students, meaning students may be less likely to engage with the station .

Ofcom consulted on the request and concluded the cumulative effect of the changes was likely to substantially alter Blast 106’s character of service.

Less than 12 months ago Ofcom decided not to renew Blast’s licence after finding it in breach of its Key Commitments. But the station’s legal team launched an emergency judicial review challenge, claiming procedural unfairness over a failure to properly consider requests for an oral hearing before Ofcom reached a final decision.

Lawyers for Blast 106 also said that the regulator had not monitored its output over enough time to gain a balanced picture on speech and music content.

Blast then submitted a Key Commitments change request, proposing to drop daytime speech commitment and some specialist programmes.

Posted on Thursday, May 14th, 2015 at 3:47 pm by RadioToday staff

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