Ofcom has today announced that it has awarded six community radio licences for the South East of England.
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
- Gaydio (Gaydio Brighton Ltd), Brighton and Hove
- Platform B (Platform B), Brighton and Hove
- Radio Cabin (Herne Bay’s Radio Cabin), Herne Bay, North East Kent
- Sheppey FM (Sheppey Matters), Sheerness, Isle of Sheppey
- Miskin Radio (North Kent College), North West Kent Gateway
Community radio stations are licensed for a period of five years from the date of their launch. Miskin Radio will be licensed to broadcast on AM, and Sheppey FM will broadcast to the Isle of Sheppey – the 2nd community radio station on the Island although their focus is on the training and development of adults and young people with physical or mental health disabilities in the area.
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).
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 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. 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 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.
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. 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 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. 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.
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.