Five community radio licence awards in the south east of England

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Ofcom has awarded five community radio licences in May 2016. The licences are for services in the south east England region (outside the M25).

Ofcom has made a licence award to each of the following:

  • Vectis Radio (Vectis Radio Limited) Newport, Isle of Wight
  • Andover Radio (Andover Radio Limited), Andover, Hampshire
  • Kennet Radio (Kennet Community Radio), Newbury, Berkshire
  • BFBS Brize Norton (BFBS Brize Norton Limited), Carterton, Oxfordshire
  • BFBS Shorncliffe (BFBS Shorncliffe Ltd), Folkestone, Kent

These services will be licensed for a period of five years from the date of their launch. All five services will be licensed to broadcast on FM.

Vectis Radio

Vectis Radio is a radio station for Newport, Isle of Wight with a particular focus on serving young people, local musicians and community groups. Ofcom considered in particular that the emphasis on output for young people and music from local musicians, along with a proposal to play a variety of music including album tracks and specialist genres, would distinguish the station’s output from that of existing commercial stations in the area. Ofcom was satisfied with the group’s social gain proposals which include plans to train young people and involve them in producing output. Ofcom noted the group’s experience of delivering training, working in conjunction with the local authority and schools.

Vectis Radio will have a condition in its licence limiting income from the sale of advertising or programme or station sponsorship to a maximum of £15,000 per financial year. This is because the expected coverage of the service overlaps by 50% or more with the coverage area of Isle of Wight Radio, a local commercial radio service which has fewer than 150,000 adults living in its measured coverage area.

Andover Radio

Andover Radio will be a community service for the general population of Andover in Hampshire. Ofcom noted that members of the applicant group have good relevant experience, including in local radio broadcasting, the third sector, fund-raising and local business. This experience along with a sensible business plan led Ofcom to be satisfied that the applicant could maintain the service. Ofcom considered that the applicant demonstrated evidence of demand and support for the service, which includes in-kind support in the form of studio premises at the local college. Ofcom considered that the applicant had put forward good accountability proposals, which include an advisory board with representatives from various sectors in the local community.  These should help the service to maintain close links with the target community.

Kennet Radio

Kennet Radio is a station for the people of Newbury and Thatcham in Berkshire. Ofcom considered that the group had demonstrated its ability to maintain the service. It has existing assets with some secured funding and in-kind support for the pre-launch period and year one, and the group has gained useful experience of broadcasting in the area.  In addition Ofcom had regard to the evidence of demand and support for the proposed service from individuals and a range of organisations in the area.  Ofcom was satisfied with the social gain proposals which set out how the service would be a platform for community organisations and an information resource for the local community, as well as offering training to volunteers and developing further training in partnership with local educational bodies.

BFBS Brize Norton

BFBS Brize Norton is for the military community-based at Brize Norton in Carterton, Oxfordshire. Ofcom noted that the applicant company already has considerable assets and stable financial backing, and as a result was satisfied it could maintain the service. Ofcom considered that the service would broaden choice by having a strong military focus, and would provide social gain through welfare support and other proposals relevant to the target community.

BFBS Shorncliffe

BFBS Shorncliffe is for Gurkha soldiers and their families based at the Sir John Moore Barracks near Folkestone, in Kent. Ofcom considered that the service will cater for the tastes and interests of a specific community of interest and significantly broaden choice locally by broadcasting informative speech, as well as music, predominantly in Nepali. Ofcom noted that the target community is underserved and will benefit from the social gain provided by this FM service which will broadcast relevant forces-led content, as well as providing a valuable means to keep the language, traditions and culture of Nepal alive within the local Gurkha and Nepalese community.


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