Radio EXE has submitted its promised application to Ofcom to run a radio station in Torbay.
The Exeter-based station wants to replace what was once called Palm 105.5, but was rebranded as The Breeze in 2015 by Celador. In its proposal document published today, Exe Broadcasting promises:
• More music and more local programming than any other commercial service in South Devon
• A wider range of music from the dawn of rock ‘n’ roll to current releases
• Double the amount of local news than on The Breeze
• A commitment to broadcast wholly from Devon, even if the rules change
Exe Broadcasting triggered the relicensing process for Torbay by giving Ofcom notice that it would make the application it has submitted today. It was able to do this because The Breeze chose not to go on DAB, which is being encouraged by the government.
Ofcom will now assess Exe Broadcasting’s application against criteria laid down in law, including how Devon Sound will broaden the range of programmes available in the area, how it will cater for local tastes and interests, any evidence of support from potential listeners and advertisers, and how the company will sustain the service for the 12 years of the licence.
In its own research for the application, Devon Sound says listening to current Torbay commercial station has fallen by almost half (48%) since The Breeze replaced Palm and that very few people (8%) say The Breeze is their preferred radio station.
About 12,300 people are already Radio Exe listeners, even though the station was not available in the area at the time of the survey. This is thought to be because of the high levels of commuting and shopping trips between South Devon and Exeter and surrounding areas
Exe Broadcasting director Paul Nero says: “We want to make local radio local again, but accept that our application is a long shot because Ofcom has never awarded a licence to a challenger. However, Radio Exe currently has its highest-ever listening figures and The Breeze has its lowest ever. We’re Devon people committed to local broadcasting – particularly local news and information -and we will hire more people should we be successful.”
Ofcom has invited listeners in South Devon to say what they would like out of a local radio station by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. The regulator will confirm shortly how many applications it has received for the licence, and will make its decision in the autumn.