Five more small scale DAB licences awarded by Ofcom

The winners of small-scale DAB licences in Basingstoke, Avonmouth, Dudley, East Bristol and Newcastle/Gateshead areas have been announced by Ofcom.

UK DAB Networks Limited, Bristol Digital Radio, Dudley & Stourbridge DigiMux Limited (DigiMux), Severnside Digital Radio and Tyneside Community Digital have all been informed of their wins this morning.

In making the awards, Ofcom explains how it came to choose the successful applicant. In the case of Basingstoke and East Bristol, only one bid was made in each area.

For Newcastle/Gateshead, the regulator said “It was noted that Tyneside Community Digital benefited from locally based directors possessing considerable relevant experience.”

For East Bristol: “It was noted that two proposed C-DSP services – BCFM and Ujima Radio – were participants in the applicant company. Both are already analogue community radio services which broadcast in Bristol, and each had a significant (40%) interest in the applicant.”

In Dudley: “We considered that the extent of Waterfront Media’s involvement in the applicant (one-third of the shares, together with representation on the board via a director) was significant and therefore a strong aspect of the application.”

In Avonmouth: “Ofcom noted that the applicant has as a participant Bradley Stoke Radio, which is proposing to provide a community digital sound programme service in the advertised area. Bradley Stoke Radio is the operator of the analogue community radio service for Bradley Stoke, and holds a majority (60%) of the shares in Severnside Digital Radio.”

And finally, in Basingstoke: “It was noted that Ash Elford (who owns 75% of UKDAB) has had significant involvement in the operation of two trial small-scale DAB multiplexes, and has therefore accumulated considerable knowledge of the costs and risks associated with the launch and operation of a small-scale multiplex, as well as having familiarity with many of the local stakeholders who may wish to broadcast to this area.”

Ash Elford from UK DAB Networks told RadioToday: “I’m delighted to have been awarded the small scale DAB multiplex for Basingstoke.

“I am pleased to be working with Hospital Radio Basingstoke and Helping Hands Community Radio to get them on DAB digital radio. I really believe it’s important nobody is left behind with the transition to DAB digital radio, and look forward to launching exciting radio services in Basingstoke in the next year.”

Ofcom says decisions for awards in the remaining six areas advertised in round one will be announced shortly.

Also today, applications are open for Round Two of the awards process. All applicants intending to apply for a multiplex licence in one of the 22 areas in north west England and north east Wales should refer to Ofcom’s updated application forms and guidance notes.

Applications must be submitted to Ofcom by 1 September 2021.

Round Two areas are:

  • Blackburn, Burnley & Darwen
  • Blackpool
  • Bolton & Bury
  • Cheshire (East)
  • Cheshire (Mid)
  • Chester & Ellesmere Port
  • Clitheroe
  • Congleton & Leek
  • Crewe, Nantwich & Whitchurch
  • Glossop & Buxton
  • Liverpool
  • Manchester
  • Oldham & Rochdale
  • Preston
  • Rhyl, Ruthin & Mold
  • Southport
  • Stockport
  • Stoke & Newcastle-under-Lyme
  • Warrington, Widnes & Runcorn
  • Wigan
  • Wirral
  • Wrexham

And finally, Ofcom has announced which areas will make up Round Three, advertised later this year. They are:

  • Bedford
  • Belfast & Lisburn
  • Coventry
  • Darlington & Bishop Auckland
  • Dundee
  • East Hull
  • Leicester
  • Lincoln
  • Llandudno & Betws-y-Coed
  • Middlesbrough & Redcar
  • Milton Keynes
  • North Aberdeen
  • Nottingham
  • Oxford
  • Rutland & Stamford
  • Shaftesbury & Blandford Forum
  • South Aberdeen
  • Swansea
  • Swindon
  • Taunton
  • Warminster
  • Devizes & Trowbridge
  • West Hull
  • Wetherby & Harrogate
  • York
  • Yorkshire Coast

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