Ofcom lets talkSPORT keep national licence

Ofcom has concluded that nobody would be interested in talkSPORT’s national AM licence so has renewed it for five years for an annual payment of £10,000.

The regulator did the same deal for Classic FM and Absolute Radio earlier this year, saying entry costs would outweigh the potential profits. talkSPORT is also being offered a rate of 0% PQR – the percentage of qualifying revenue.

Ofcom said it concluded that a hypothetical new entrant would not be prepared to make financial payments in return for the right to broadcast nationally on analogue for the period under consideration – so the current licence holders would likely be able to retain their licences in a hypothetical auction for a nominal amount.

All three national stations got the same £10k deal seven years ago, prior to which they were paying much more. talkSPORT previously paid £100,000 a year for the licence.

talkSPORT was the only company to respond to the consultation, now needs to officially accept the terms to carry on broadcasting.

“This is what we consider a reasonable view of the approach the incumbent licensee would take to making nominal bids, looking at nominal cash bids made by bidders and those set by Ofcom in (real and hypothetical) auctions for television and other INR licences,” Ofcom said.

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  1. Willie Bone says

    I have long since stopped listening to medium and long waves and listen only an odd time to FM!
    Beats me why any broadcasting outfit would desire AM for a speech or music station! There again, Radio Caroline staff are over the moon about 648 kHz transmission. Is it a nostalgia type of thing, I wonder?

  2. Owen says

    Does Classic FM have an AM licence? Surely someone else might’ve been interested in the FM licence?

    1. Michael says

      Hi Owen. No Classic doesn’t have an AM license. Just 100 – 102.

  3. Michael says

    Not surprising that no one would be interested in a MW license. Theres a shift towards DAB/+ becoming the standard or at least FM. MW is old & dated & poor quality. Operators should start to switch off MW in areas where DAB coverage is good enough.

  4. Radio Geordie says

    As Willie has hit on, if Ofcom had advertised either of the AM licences, I bet Radio Caroline would’ve bid for them. They don’t seem to think that AM is dead.

    1. Radio Geordie says

      Asian services such as Sunrise and Lyca could also have applied for these licences for the same reasons.

  5. Mike says

    I suppose a wider question is, “is anyone interested in TalkSport per say?”

  6. Iain Harris says

    I am probably in Talksport’s target group: male, mid forties, van driver. My van does not have DAB, so I have to listem to Am/Fi, that is how the advertisers get there messages to me and that is how Talksport make a profit.

  7. Dave says

    There’s a lot of life left in AM. Look at Australia..it’s booming over there. And with a wide bandwidth and c-quam stereo being used it can sound like FM

    1. Michael says

      Hey Dave, test AM certainly is surviving in Oz. But one of the reasons is that it covers much of the county, so the rural communities in the middle of the desert still have a connection to the world. But for UK & Europe, it’s a different story. With the costs high & listening figures falling, I do agree it’s time to start decommissioning transmissions.

  8. Willie Bone says

    Dave, Unlike Europe where AM has squeezed in too many high powered radio stations with clipped audio bandwidth to accommodate them, Australia’s uncluttered AM system does not suffer from the same transmitted audio limitations, nor do listeners suffer from incoming co- channel interference after dark!
    I did listen to AM radio in Manly within the Sydney area and can confirm that AM did sound reasonably crisp, even after dark!
    As far as I am aware, there was no AM stereo broadcasting in the Sydney area during my last visit there. Electrical retailer assistants looked puzzled when I inquired about AM stereo receivers! DAB+ has since rolled out..

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