Six community radio licence awards in the south east of England: July 2016

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Ofcom awarded six community radio licences in July 2016. The licences are for services in the south east England region (outside the M25). These awards bring the licensing decisions for this region to a close.

Applicants awarded a licence

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

1 Brighton FM (Alias Music and Community Projects CIC), Brighton and Hove
1 Brighton FM will be a service for the general population of Brighton and Hove, and will feature a broad range of specialist music and community shows. Ofcom noted the group’s experience of broadcasting via the internet and the experience of individuals involved (such as in business, marketing, music, audio and website production), and was satisfied that it had demonstrated its ability to maintain the service. The group has a strong volunteer base, and partnerships in place with various community groups which participate in programme-making. Ofcom considered that 1 Brighton FM had built on these to propose workable arrangements for access to the station by the target community. It also has accountability proposals that the decision-makers were satisfied would allow volunteers and listeners to influence the direction of the station.

Gaydio (Gaydio Brighton Ltd), Brighton and Hove
Gaydio will broadcast a service for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community in Brighton and Hove. Ofcom noted that members of the applicant group have experience from a range of areas including radio broadcasting, journalism, business and management, and that the applicant company is allied with another company broadcasting to the same target community elsewhere in the UK. As a result, Ofcom was satisfied it could maintain the proposed new service. Ofcom considered that the service would broaden choice in relation to existing radio services available in the area by super-serving the LGBT community with a service including contemporary dance and pop music alongside a relatively high volume of LGBT-targeted speech content.

Platform B (Platform B), Brighton and Hove
Platform B will be a music-led station for young adults (aged 16-25 years old) in Brighton and Hove. Ofcom noted that members of the applicant group have experience of youth work, music, local broadcasting, finance, IT and digital media, which Ofcom considered would help enable Platform B to maintain its proposed service. The applicant will co-opt two people aged under-25 on to its board, and encourage volunteers to become members of the licence-holding company. It proposes a range of opportunities for access to the station, and also of collecting feedback from the target community to inform its decision-making. Ofcom regarded these plans as appropriate for ensuring accountability to the target community and allowing access to the station for that community.

Radio Cabin (Herne Bay’s Radio Cabin), Herne Bay, North East Kent
Radio Cabin will be a radio station for the general population of Herne Bay, north east Kent. The applicant is a registered charity, formed many years ago, and has gained experience through hospital radio broadcasts in the past, as well as broadcasting via the internet and on temporary FM licences. Ofcom felt that this experience would help enable the applicant to maintain the service. In Ofcom’s view, the group’s already established community links would help it to promote social cohesion by involving the target community. Ofcom noted that the applicant group already has a volunteer base, as well as a training team, and is experienced in training volunteers. Training will be available to both individuals and community groups.

Sheppey FM (Sheppey Matters), Sheerness, Isle of Sheppey
Sheppey FM will be a station for adults and young people with physical or mental health disabilities in Sheerness, Isle of Sheppey. The applicant, Sheppey Matters, is a registered charity with experience of running outreach projects from its base at Sheppey Healthy Living Centre. As a result, the decision-makers considered that it had the experience and funding necessary to set up the proposed low-cost service and maintain it (1a). Ofcom noted that the applicant works with many partner organisations in the area. It has experience of delivering training, which is a central part of Sheppey FM’s social gain proposals, as well as other benefits, such as promoting healthy living. As a result Ofcom was satisfied that the applicant would deliver social gain to its target community (1e).

Miskin Radio (North Kent College), North West Kent Gateway
Miskin Radio will be a community radio service on the AM (medium wave) band for people living in the Gravesham, Dartford and Bexley areas. The applicant is North Kent College, and the station will be run by a separate radio members committee, reporting to the College’s senior leadership team. The service will operate from studios within the college, and Ofcom was satisfied that the service could be maintained. The applicant demonstrated a good level of support for the service, as well as links with local bodies. Ofcom noted the applicant’s proposals for training, including introductory courses, as well as opportunities to train in different locations across the area.

These services will be licensed for a period of five years from the date of their launch. Miskin Radio will be licensed to broadcast on AM, as there was not a suitable FM frequency available for use by this service once decisions in relation to other nearby applicants had been taken into account, and because the applicant had indicated its willingness to accept AM if FM was not available. The remaining five services will be licensed to broadcast on FM.

Ofcom was satisfied that none of the new services would prejudice unduly the economic viability of any local analogue commercial radio service (section 105(3) of the BA 1990).

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