Bidding war hots up for Ashford FM

The Wireless Group and Kent Messenger Group are gearing up to go head-to-head with rival bids for the new FM commercial radio licence for Ashford, Kent, writes Wale Azeez.

Ofcom advertised the spectrum for Ashford and the surrounding area last week. The Wireless Group, owner of national network TalkSport and 13 local radio stations, has teamed up with Ashford FM for the bid. It said that acquiring the Ashford licence was “part of a longer term Wireless Group strategy to build on its highly successful network of local radio stations across the UK”.

The Kent Messenger group will apply for the licence through its backing of the Lark FM station. Both have been campaigning for a full-time station for the region since 2000.

The media regulator estimates that the licence for the proposed 107.6 FM frequency could reach about 60,000 listeners aged 15 years or over.

The closing date for applications for the 12-year licence, subject to a nonrefundable fee of £1,500, is 21 October.

Details of the licence award decision are expected to be announced within two weeks of the closing date.

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