Radio regulator Ofcom has today invited applications for community radio licences in the West and East Midlands – Region 7 of its third round of licensing.
As in many other regions, FM frequency availability is limited in parts of the West and East Midlands. Areas in which no FM frequencies are available are:
- City of Birmingham
- City of Coventry
- Nottingham and Nottinghamshire (except Newark-on-Trent)
- Leicester and Leicestershire
Additionally, in the Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton areas of the Black Country, Ofcom has noted that just one FM frequency is available, and applicants will effectively be in competition for this spectrum. AM licences may be available in areas where Ofcom has not been able to find any open FM frequencies.
While the current DCMS consultation is expected to lead to changes to this regulation, the advertising restriction on community radio stations overlapping commercial licences with MCAs of under 150,000 still applies at present. The areas and stations affected are:
Buxton (High Peak Radio); Hinckley (Oak FM); Kidderminster (Signal 107); Ludlow (Sunshine Radio); Loughborough (Oak FM); Mansfield (Mansfield 103.2); Rugby (Rugby FM); Rutland (Rutland Radio); Shrewsbury and Oswestry (Signal 107); Telford (Signal 107); Warwick (Touch FM); Bassetlaw (Trax FM). Community radio licensees overlapping by more than 50% with these commercial operators will not be able to take on-air advertising or sponsorship.
The application deadline is 5pm on 24 June 2014, and the normal application fee of £600 applies. Further information on applying can be found in this document from Ofcom’s website.