Ofcom invites more community radio applications

Ofcom is today inviting applications for new community radio licences for areas within, or those that overlap with, the coverage area of existing community radio services.

These applications will be for services operating on FM only and the closing date for applications is Tuesday 24 October 2017 at 3pm.

Only those in an area on the list below can apply at this time. The list is made up of areas where expressions of interest were received by the regulator late last year. It includes places in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland but excludes Wales.

England

Barton upon Humber, Barrow upon Humber, East Halton and surrounding areas of Lincolnshire
Birkenhead, Wirral
Birmingham and Sandwell
Bradford
Bristol
Coventry
Eastleigh, Hampshire
Farnborough, Fleet and Yateley in Hampshire and Camberley in Surrey
*Greenwich, Lewisham and Tower Hamlets, London
Harlow, Essex and surrounding areas
Kirklees
Leeds
Leicester
*London Borough of Croydon
*London Borough of Tower Hamlets
Milton Keynes
Newcastle and Gateshead
Norwich
Nottingham
Reading and surrounding areas of Berkshire and north Hampshire
Moss Side, Hulme & surrounding areas of south central Manchester
*South east London
*Tottenham/Haringey, London
Waterlooville, Hampshire
Wolverhampton and Dudley

*Ofcom has recently completed a community radio licensing round in London and other areas within the M25, as a result have carried out extensive frequency availability work in these areas and it is highly unlikely that Ofcom will find additional frequencies for sites in the areas asterisked.

Northern Ireland

Ards and North Down
Belfast
Derry/Londonderry

Scotland

Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire
Cumbernauld
East Lothian
Glasgow

Ofcom warns stations to research their transmission proposals before submitting the non-refundable £600 application fee: “We anticipate that some applications are likely to be rejected at this stage of the process. In other words, if the chosen transmission site is not appropriate for the proposed service area, or there is no suitable FM frequency to support the service, the application will be rejected and we will not take the application forward for consideration against the selection criteria set out in the legislation. The application fee is non-refundable under these circumstances, so we strongly recommend that applicants seek expert frequency planning advice and take particular care when selecting their transmission site.”

Posted on Tuesday, July 18th, 2017 at 12:09 pm by Roy Martin

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5 Comments

  1. Michael says

    Why a we in Wales excluded? Plenty of space on FM around the country, especially in mid Wales where the band is mostly empty. South East Wales would be a challenge though.

    1. Radio Geordie says

      Part of the problem with mid-Wales is that IS so sparcely populated as Radio Maldwyn/Hafren found. Even Muff Murfin (who had a habit of buying struggling stations & (in the main) turning their fortunes around) eventually had to give up an throw the towel in here.

      Even if they were like some of the Scottish services which have commercial licences, but are operated by Community of Interest Companies (meaning that they are not-for-profit organisations) would’ve found it hard to justify keep the service going.

  2. Radio Geordie says

    If Newcastle & Gateshead are on this list, why isn’t other areas of the North East such as Sunderland or Durham? There are plenty of frequencies available (103.0, 103.8, 103.9, 104.0,104.8 & 104.9 off the top of my head) which could be used in either or both cities and that’s not even looking at the frequencies that the BBC are hogging for no apparent reason (88.0, 90.2, 92.4, 94.6 & 98.5-99.8). Yes I know that some of those frequencies in Newcastle couldn’t be used (98.4-99.2) as Spice uses 98.8, but 99.3-99.8 could be used. As Spice’s signal wouldn’t even reach Durham or Sunderland, 98.4-99.2 could also be used.
    I know there is a similar situation in Teesside as I have told Ofcom years ago where ‘safe’ frequencies are within these areas.
    I do wonder though why the London boroughs are even listed if FM frequencies are so scarce. There’s only two ways such frequencies are going to become available. First is if a current operator hands back their licence (for whatever reason), or Capital Xtra switches to a single frequency – probably 107.1, freeing up 96.9 for some areas of the capital.
    Yet Ofcom insist that some areas have no frequencies available which in alot cases, is bullwinkle.
    Better frequency management on Ofcom’s behalf could free up more frequencies.

  3. Martin 1876 says

    Does adding more and more radio station actually broaden listener choice or as is the case in the Tees Valley actually offer more of the same and quite possibly just harms existing stations.
    surely the areas listed aren’t short of stations to listen to.

    1. Radio Geordie says

      I think I get what you’re implying here – that the community station in your area (you don’t state if that’s Bishop FM or the one which recently handed back its licence because the coverage area was sparsely populated) may well have contributed to the recently reported problems at Star Radio in the area.

      However, its all to easy to point at community radio and say its their fault our station is going tits up, when, in some cases, bad management is the real culprit.

      The point of a lot of the community stations, is that they are operated locally by local people who actually do give a crap about what they broadcast and what affects them locally, although in some areas, you do have to question why you would need that many?

      The alternative, however, is the likes of TFM, Heart, Capital or Smooth which are all owned by conglomerates and only pretend to be local by slipping in the odd prerecorded link for the area or plays in local commercials and are only interested in how much money they’ve saved themselves by doing so and not giving a crap about the listeners.

      I know which I would rather listen to.

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