Ofcom to consult public over FM licence changes

Ofcom plans to carry out a public consultation on its proposals to change the way local FM commercial radio licences are advertised and awarded.

The deadline for receiving comments from the industry is 11 March.

The regulator published its proposals for the revised approach to licensing new FM commercial radio services, in which it identified 35 regions.

Among its proposals is an as-yetunspecified “new guidance on localness in radio”, which Ofcom is obliged to address as part of the requirements of the Communications Act 2003.

Changes to licensing regulations established under the now-defunct Radio Authority also include a new approach to community radio, which will be released later this month.

As with the application for television licences, Ofcom has also proposed a reduction in the amount of information radio licence applicants need to present to the watchdog.

One of those particularly interested in Ofcom’s proposals and any response by the industry is aspiring radio station owner Midland News Association.

Its application for a controlling stake in a local radio station in Shropshire was rejected by the Radio Authority last year because the watchdog deemed ownership would most likely “operate against the public interest”.

MNA, owner of several local newspapers including the Wolverhampton Express & Star and Shropshire Star, which covers the Telford area, sought to acquire Telford FM Ltd and its station 107.4 Telford FM.

By Wale Azeez

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