London (ots) - The Communications Act 2003 requires Ofcom to award
licences for FM commercial radio services in open competition based
on statutory criteria. Previously this duty was undertaken by the
Ofcom is today publishing its proposals for the process for
licensing new FM commercial radio services. These form part of
Ofcom's broader strategy toward the radio sector which will be
developed during 2004, including:
- A new approach to Community Radio, to be set out in separate
proposals later this month. Community Radio will build on
radio's potential for giving local communities a stronger voice.
- A review of digital radio, examining the options for further and
faster take-up of all digital radio services.
- Continued support for Restricted Services Licences (RSLs), which
give hundreds of organisations each year the opportunity to go on
- New guidance on localness in radio.
The key proposals published by Ofcom today are as follows:
Firstly, a simpler, clearer process to apply for a licence,
- Clear guidance on how the statutory criteria relating to a
particular licence will apply.
- A timetable for the licences to be offered over the year ahead.
- More information available to applicants when a licence is
offered, including an analysis of the relevant market.
- A reduction in the amount of information that applicants need to
send to Ofcom, with a better focus on providing the information which
- A simpler approach to content regulation by inviting applicants
to submit their own format - a summary of a station's proposed style
and character. The format of the winning applicant will be included
in their licence terms.
Secondly, new proposals for the FM licences that will be offered
by Ofcom in the next two years:
- In total at least 35 commercial FM licences remain available for
- These include potential licences not identified before, in
Bournemouth and in Stoke-on Trent.
Ofcom is also seeking views on options for offering either larger
regional licences or a greater number of smaller licences, in four
areas of the UK:
South-West England; and,
Decisions on radio licence awards will be made by a Committee of
the Ofcom Main Board; further details of the decision-making process
are set out in the consultation document.
The full consultation document, together with a Summary, is
available on Ofcom's website at:
Responses are invited by 11 March 2004.
Ofcom intends to resume licensing as soon as possible. The
regulator proposes to publish shortly a timetable for the first
licences to be offered under the new process in order to give
potential applicants the necessary time to prepare proposals.
This timetable will be prepared on the basis of the proposals in
the consultation document, but will be without prejudice to the
results of the consultation. The first advertisements of new radio
licences under the new process are planned for May/June 2004.
NOTES FOR EDITORS AND CSEs
Ofcom is the independent regulator for the UK communications
industries, with responsibilities across television, radio,
telecommunications and wireless communications services.
Our duties include:
The promotion of choice, quality and value in electronic
communications services, where appropriate by encouraging competition
between the providers of those services
Ensuring the most efficient use of the radio communications
spectrum - the airwaves used for the transmission of all non-military
wireless communications services
Ensuring a wide range of electronic communications services,
including broadband, is available across the UK
Ensuring a wide range of TV and radio programmes of high quality
and wide appeal
Maintaining plurality in the media by ensuring a sufficiently
broad range of ownership
The protection of audiences against offensive or harmful
material, unfairness or the infringement of privacy on TV and radio
This information is provided by RNS
The company news service from the London Stock Exchange
ots Originaltext: OFCOM - OFFICE OF COMMUNICATIONS
Ofcom Media Office
For further details please visit www.ofcom.org.uk.