The Breeze will continue to broadcast in Torbay after Ofcom awarded the FM licence to the incumbent licensee, Celador.
Ofcom received two applications for the licence, from Celador Radio Limited (The Breeze) and Exe Broadcasting Limited (Devon Sound). The regulator says the ability of the applicant to maintain the service of such as small licence area (181,000 adults) was an important part of the award decision, along with the particular focus of the service on softer, less contemporary music would be more likely to cater for the tastes of listeners aged 45+, of whom there are an above average number in the Torbay area.
They said The Breeze would provide a clearly ‘older’ alternative to Heart, the only other local analogue commercial radio service available in Torbay, which has a Format requirement to target listeners aged under 44.
A Celador spokesperson told RadioToday: “We are delighted that we have been re-awarded the license, and are proud and honoured to continue to serve Torbay’s amazing community, broadcasting a mix of quality local programming, national and local news and information, entertainment and the best relaxing, feel good music.
“We wish Radio Exe the very best as they continue to serve their audience.”
In response, Paul Nero, Managing Director of Radio Exe/Devon Sound, told RadioToday: “We’re disappointed, but not surprised. Ofcom has never booted out one company and chosen a challenger, no matter how much audience they lose or how little local news they provide. This is a missed opportunity, which does nothing for local audiences, advertisers or jobs.
“It’s hard to see what you have to do to lose your licence and it almost certainly signals a slow end for local radio from Torbay. Nonetheless we congratulate Celador on retaining its only Devon licence. For our part, we’ll continue to serve the South Devon audience on digital radio.”
The Breeze will provide “A full local service dedicated to listeners in Torbay combining a wide variety of classic and contemporary music together with a high-quality, distinctive range of speech and information features focused on matters of local interest and relevance.”