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'News: Ofcom Explains Award Decisions For Local FM Radio Licences In Edinburgh And Blackburn' by Grant Goddard

News story about the publication by UK media regulator Ofcom of its reasons for making awards of new local commercial FM radio licences in the Edinburgh and Blackburn markets, written by Grant Goddard in January 2005 for The Radio Magazine.

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'News: Ofcom Explains Award Decisions For Local FM Radio Licences In Edinburgh And Blackburn' by Grant Goddard

  1. 1. NEWS: OFCOM EXPLAINS AWARD DECISIONS FOR LOCAL FM RADIO LICENCES IN EDINBURGH AND BLACKBURN by GRANT GODDARD www.grantgoddard.co.uk January 2005
  2. 2. News: Ofcom Explains Award Decisions For Local FM Radio Licences In Edinburgh And Blackburn Page 1 ©2005 Grant Goddard Ofcom has issued brief explanations of its decision making process for the award of the new Edinburgh and Blackburn local radio licences. These matters were discussed at the 16 December 2004 meeting of its Radio Licensing Committee, chaired by Ofcom board member Ian Hargreaves and attended by Ofcom Content Board members Pam Giddy and Matthew MacIver, along with Ofcom staff Kip Meek, Martin Campbell, Peter Davies and Neil Stock. Only two of the Ofcom team are former Radio Authority staff. For Edinburgh, the Committee felt that the Wireless Group’s application “offered a programme service which would provide a greater broadening of choice in the Edinburgh local commercial radio market than would the other proposed formats” and “would best be able to cater for tastes and interests different from those already catered for by existing local commercial radio services.” Whilst recognising that a speech format presented a greater commercial risk than a music format, the committee felt that Wireless Group’s experience running national station 'TalkSport' inspired “confidence” that it could “make a success” of the new station. No mention was made of the Wireless Group’s poor track record attracting audiences to its other speech- inclined Scottish stations, Scot FM (which it subsequently sold), Wave 102 (market share down from 13% to 6.8% since 2000) and Q96 (market share down from 6.3% to 3% since 2000). For Blackburn, the Committee considered that 'The Bee' “would benefit from the involvement of Two Boroughs Radio Ltd., the holder of the licence for the neighbouring Burnley area, which would be able to provide opportunities for resource-sharing that could prove valuable in such a relatively small licence area.” The Committee believed that Two Boroughs Radio “has demonstrated its ability to provide such a service, to some financial success, in the neighbouring licence area,” where it achieves an impressive 23% listening share. Two Boroughs Radio, which will control 33% of The Bee, is wholly owned by radio group The Local Radio Company. A further 33% of The Bee is controlled by The Radio Business consultancy, which had been a founder shareholder in Two Boroughs Radio, but sold its stake after the station’s launch in 2000. [First published in 'The Radio Magazine' as 'Edinburgh & Blackburn Awards Explained', #668, 29 January 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 http://www.grantgoddard.co.uk

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