Ofcom launches investigation into Connect FM

Ofcom is to launch an investigation into Connect FM’s withdrawal from the DAB platform.

Providing a local service (where possible) on DAB is one of the conditions for retaining an FM licence at renewal time, but the station says it was recently forced to stop its digital service due to a price increase from Arqiva.

Connect FM was unable to find an alternative DAB multiplex as the one and only commercial service in the area is provided by Arqiva.

The station’s Operations Director, Mark Jeeves, told RadioToday Connect FM was priced off the multiplex due to Arqiva’s unreasonable fees. He confirms the station is in talks with the regulator and says “Our hope is that Ofcom recognises that we have done all we reasonably can do to remain on DAB and agree with us that as a group, Adventure Radio have always supported DAB.”

Arqiva told us: “We can’t comment further on confidential details of the contract and renewal negotiations. As is always the case, we work hard to treat all our customers fairly.”

In 2015, Celador’s Fire Radio in Bournemouth disappeared from DAB but returned a few weeks later after Ofcom said it would investigate if it was in breach of its licence renewal terms.

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  1. Neal says

    Same old same old from Ofcom. Lets not possibly launch an investigation into the potential rip off fees from these DAB multiplex companies sticking up their rates whenever the feel like it. We will just beat stations like Connect until they have no money left and have to hand their licence back so there will be yet another frequency available for the big boys Ofcom are clearly either in bed with or scared witless of. I’m never to sure which of the two it actually is? Maybe its both?!

    1. Dave says

      May be ofcom should have a investigation in to why the cost so much to be on DAB [email protected]

      Small stations are priced off !

  2. Neal says

    Amazing to get a comment on here removed for suggesting ofcom should be investigating DAB multiplex companies overcharging and screwing small stations to the wall instead of bashing the actual radio station or was it my suggestion ofcom may possibly have an agenda to use any means possible to cause removal of licences/frequencies and give them to one of the big boys. My original post a little more blunt but had no bad language in it. Free speech and individual opinions obviously only allowed if you don’t go over the top in saying anything derogatory about yet another section of untouchable Gods we have allowed to be created in this country!

  3. Neal says

    Apologies for my second post and its content on this topic. Internet issue caused my original onevto become invisible for some reason! As is evident I get really angry about not being able to have the sound of the old Capital Radio back with quality and knowledgeable DJ’s. Please don’t tell me that those of you who have heard the likes of the late Roger Scott believe that what we have now comes anywhere close to the quality of his shows.

  4. David says

    It’s sily situations like this that strongly encourage free radio in the UK. In the big cities this is commonplace on VHF FM. This is now commonplace (and increasing rapidly) in Europe on the MW’s too. One free VHF FM radio ‘community’ station manager here told me “Its just not worth going down the ‘legal’ road with its high costs, hassle and being constantly over regulated and dictated to”.
    This particular manager is a very sensible guy, and his presenters are instructed NEVER to do politics or ‘controversial’ stuff. However, his presenters are completely free to do the music choices they love. The presenters are also part of their community, and so the station also has over 2 million online listeners belonging to that community abroad. They have the technology, contacts and know how to move into free radio DAB should it be deemed necessary in the future. Also ‘hobby music radio’ should now be encouraged in the UK on ‘obsolete’ MW’s as it is in other countries, and this would lessen the need to be a ‘secretive’ Pirate. It could run like Amateur Radio, with the transmitter locations known to the Police in the rare case of an interference issue. This would enable that interference problem to be easily and promptly sorted, without having to waste weeks ‘hunting’ for the hidden offending transmitter. That would be in everyone’s best interest, David

    1. Chris Quirk says

      Unfortunately, AM is just the band more likely to cause interference if it’s transmitted from people’s houses and bedrooms, as it gets in everywhere – phones (landlines) analog audio amplifiers, and lots more. Preventing interference even when using the (generally) 1W of LPAM for hospitals and educational establishments is not easy and very much an art.

      A free-for-all on AM would be horrendous.

      “Yee canna change the laws of physics, Captain.”

  5. James says

    I agree with the comments about DAB and costs are stopping many good stations from remaining on air or able to finance good programmes. However I think the whole of radio in UK needs looking at. There are now so many community stations that often appear be to just cater for volunteers at the station.So many stations only have feedback on their social media posts from other presenters and not listners. Community stations need to ensure that are catering for their communities and individuals and meeting their needs

  6. David says

    The free radio ‘community’ stations in London on FM get it right. Members of their particular communities are regularly invited into the studio, given the simple rules of no bad language or doing politics. The ‘new’ presenter then does a show, and the listeners phone in, and the ‘new’ presenter quickly learns if he / she has the right ‘vibes’. That is true community radio -and it works so well, with an online matching stream for that particular community / relatives abroad. Free Radio always leads the way -remember, the BBC was originally Marconi’s London ‘pirate’ station, which was so successful, it became a company under Marconi’s guidance in 1922. Free radio and ‘hobby stations’ will point the way today, and shape radio and the web with, or without the regulators interference or permissions. The regulators are now irrelevant in radio, and would be better employed chasing the REAL villains of the internet that import political propaganda, and do criminal smuggling rings that import drugs, and sell kids and women to ‘customers’. That’s how it is in London and other big cities. DAB can now be so very easily ‘pirated’, so the expensive providers will be bypassed, and DAB free radio stations will appear in large numbers when and if the respective free station’s CO’s deem it necessary. DAB may not actually succeed as a platform, and could ‘fade away’ in the competition of the ever increasing web domination, David

  7. Eddy Wiggins says

    The same thing happened to BFBS Forces radio back in march 2017, that it couldnt afford the arquiva increases. It has returned only this feb/march but on DAB+. This system doesn’t have the same coverage as DAB . BFBS were awarded a placement under sone special awarded scheme .

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