Five out of six Town and Country Broadcasting stations have been given permission to share more programming.
Ofcom has approved a format change request for Bridge FM to share all programming with Nation Hits, the station previously known as Swansea Bay Radio.
In addition, Radio Pembrokeshire, Radio Ceredigion and Scarlet FM/Radio Carmarthenshire can now share programmes 24 hours a day rather than the previously allowed 12 hours a week.
Ofcom agreed the changes, even though the Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire licences are not located within the same ‘approved areas’. Pembrokeshire is in the West Wales area and Carmarthenshire falls in the North Wales approved area.
Ofcom says “We were cognisant of the fact that the licence already has limited programme sharing permissions in place with the neighbouring Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire and Swansea licences, which are located within the West Wales ‘approved area’.
“There was also a good case for arguing that, in terms of historical cultural affinity – Ceredigion, Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire were all part of Dyfed County Council between 1973 and 1996 – the population of Ceredigion looks to the West Wales ‘approved area’ (notably towns in the Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire areas) as much as they do to any of the towns in the North Wales ‘approved area’. In addition, the small scale of this licence (Measured Coverage Area 72,088) presents an economic case to provide this shared service from premises where overheads may be divided with other radio services.”
If Town and Country Broadcasting change their schedules to meet the new minimum requirements, the company will have a single schedule on Bridge FM / Nation Hits, and a single schedule on Radio Pembrokeshire, Radio Ceredigion and Scarlet FM/Radio Carmarthenshire.