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'News: New Local Commercial FM Radio Licence For Durham Awarded To The Local Radio Company plc' by Grant Goddard

News story about the award by UK media regulator Ofcom of a new local commercial FM radio licence for the Durham market to The Local Radio Company plc, written by Grant Goddard in April 2005 for The Radio Magazine.

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'News: New Local Commercial FM Radio Licence For Durham Awarded To The Local Radio Company plc' by Grant Goddard

  2. 2. News: New Local Commercial FM Radio Licence For Durham Awarded To The Local Radio Company plc Page 2 ©2005 Grant Goddard A new twelve-year FM local radio licence for the Durham market has been awarded by Ofcom to The Local Radio Company [TLRC], whose proposed station will provide “a friendly locally involved radio station aimed particularly at 25 to 54 year olds” by playing “the best music from the past four decades and today”. 'Durham FM' will serve an adult population of 160,000 in Durham, Chester-le-Street, Spennymoor and Bishop Auckland. TLRC already owns stations in nearby Sunderland and Darlington. TLRC chief executive Richard Wheatly said: “This is another significant boost to The Local Radio Company. It is our second successful application and we are delighted that our work in the region has been rewarded. Our strategy is to build and develop a strong network of local radio stations across the UK, creating a powerful second tier radio group. This award will build on the strength of our existing stations in the region. We will continue to grow organically, through licence applications and acquisition.” Durham FM chairman John Anderson said: "We always thought we had a strong proposal, having based it on considerable research and two years' hard work, including two highly successful trial broadcasts. We have a lot of experience in operating radio in the North-East and we will use that experience to Durham’s advantage. Durham FM is offering a local radio station which will be deeply involved with its community. We look forward to offering a first class service to the people among whom we live and work." This will be Durham’s first local radio station since 'BBC Radio Durham' was closed in 1973. The station had opened in 1968 but, following the Ted Heath government’s move to restrict the BBC to twenty local stations, the BBC closed Durham and instead opened a station for Carlisle. Katie Adie and the late Humphrey Carpenter were former staff of the Durham station. The two unsuccessful applicants for the Durham licence were: '2Day FM', owned by CN Group Ltd, proposing a “locally-focused adult contemporary” format; and 'Prince FM', backed by American newspaper group Gannett (30%) and Nigel Reeve’s Laser Broadcasting (27%), proposing a “lifestyle station playing popular hit music from the last 35 years”. [First published in 'The Radio Magazine' as 'Local Radio Company Wins Durham', #679, 13 April 2005] Grant Goddard is a media analyst / radio specialist / radio consultant with thirty years of experience in the broadcasting industry, having held senior management and consultancy roles within the commercial media sector in the United Kingdom, Europe and Asia. Details at