Great news that Radio Caroline will get a licence to broadcast. The Community Station status seems to fit the lady very well indeed.
News selected from the Radio Today
Manchester minimux to carry 28 radio stations
The small-scale DAB trial in Manchester operated by Niocast is to carry at least 28 radio stations by the end of the month, and it still won’t be full.
Nine new services are being added soon, including Vinejuice, Radio Diamond and Trafford Sound; community stations Fever FM, Radio Sangam and Flame CCR; Mi-Soul; nineties revival station NonStop90s; and Likwid – described as ‘free flowing music to open your mind!’.
It’s the only multiplex in the world to carry as many services – and is made possible by almost all of stations transmitting via DAB+.
Niocast Digital’s Director of Operations, David Duffy said: “We are delighted to be able to give more services the opportunity to bring their content to listeners via our DAB platform. We are now adding to the variety and choice of listening in Manchester with another nine fantastically diverse radio stations”.
Niocast’s Director of Programming and Content, John Evington: “DAB promised higher quality than FM and more listener choice but failed dismally on both counts. Many of the ‘new’ services were simply brand extensions of existing stations – some of them in mono and relying on ‘clunky’ automation systems. I think it’s fair to say that, for most listeners, the first impression of DAB was disappointing.
“The game changer for us is the adoption of the more efficient DAB+ standard which means we can address both of the historical shortcomings of DAB by delivering high quality audio whilst, at the same time, bringing a greater number and range of services to air”.
Radio Caroline to go back on AM full-time
Ofcom has awarded five new medium wave community radio licences, including one for Radio Caroline to cover Suffolk and North Essex.
Other new AM services will go live in Glasgow, West Leicestershire, Leicester and Yeovil.
In its application Radio Caroline had asked for 1kW of power – compared to the usual 50 watts that community services operate at. It proposed to cover an area bounded by Ipswich in the South, Bury St Edmunds and Stowmarket in the West, Saxmundham to the East and Diss to the North. The station’s application said it would broadcast most of the programmes from Kent and from the Ross Revenge ship using 4G. The station also said that if awarded a licence it could be on-air in time for the 50th anniversary of the Marine Offences Act on 14th August this year.
An Ofcom spokesperson told RadioToday: “Radio Caroline has been awarded the coverage area it requested (Suffolk and Northern parts of Essex), but we’re still working through the final details of the transmission power.”
Peter Moore from Radio Caroline told RadioToday: “It is our ambition to get on air by August 14th as that would be the most fitting date to take the whole story full circle and it may be the last significant anniversary where most of the people who were there at the start can get together again. But, the application process took a while and we don’t have as much time as we would have wished. We will do our best – it would be a pity to miss that date.”
Making the decision to award a licence, the regulator said: “Ofcom noted that the application was from a well-established group with a long history of providing a radio service, and was satisfied that it had demonstrated its ability to maintain a service. Ofcom considered that the service would broaden choice in relation to existing radio services available in the area by having a strong album focus. The applicant provided evidence of support for the service including a Radio Caroline Support Group that has supported the station for over 20 years, and has raised funds to support the service. As part of its accountability arrangements, at least one member of the Radio Caroline Support Group will be elected to the licensee’s board. The station will offer training in its ship-board studios.”
In a statement on its website, Radio Caroline told listeners: “We are pleased to announce that Ofcom have just informed us that our application for an AM licence has been approved and that a licence will be awarded. Further details will be sent to us by Ofcom in due course. Power levels and frequency are yet to be decided. This is the end of – or a further step in – a process started by Bob Lawrence in 2010 and enthusiastically supported by Tracey Crouch MP. We thank them both and further thank the many other people who have helped along the way. There are many preparations to be made and these may take some time. I am sure we will make further announcements in the future. The basis of our application was that our traditional heartland was Essex and Suffolk, where the signal from our ships made first landfall and that we wished to entertain on AM, an audience that we have not been able to serve in this way since 1990. We said that this audience may hear music radio of a style they remember and in some cases presented by the same people they remember. That in essence is what we intend to do.”
Listen to Radio Caroline announce the news on air this morning (19th May 2017):
Here are the 5 licences awarded today by Ofcom:
– Ark AM (Noah’s Ark Glasgow) will serve the needs of Glasgow’s diverse Muslim communities.
– Carillon Wellbeing Radio (Carillon Wellbeing Limited) is for people in West Leicestershire who have, or who are at risk of developing, long term health conditions.
– Radio Caroline (Radio Caroline AM Broadcasting Ltd) will broadcast a wide range of album music from the 1960s to the present day. It is for people aged 45+ in Suffolk and northern parts of Essex.
– Radio Ninesprings (Radio Ninesprings) will bring a locally-focussed community radio service for the people of Yeovil and the south Somerset District area.
– Radio Seerah (Seerah Academy) will be a station for the diverse Muslim and ethnic communities of inner Leicester.
The regulator has also rejected seven AM applications from the following groups:
– AM-Rock, Pipeline Media Ltd, (Districts of Thanet, Canterbury and Dover)
– Indus Radio, Indus Community Radio Limited, (Birmingham)
– Leicestershire Community Talk Radio, Leicestershire Community Talk Radio Ltd, (Leicestershire)
– Quasar Radio, Quasar Radio Ltd, (London Boroughs within the M25)
– Panj Baani Radio, Panjabi Arts and Literary Academy UK, (Leicestershire, Derbyshire and Northamptonshire)
– Panj Pani Radio, New Dawn Community Well-Being Ltd, (Nuneaton & Bedworth)
– Radio Central, Radio Central Limited, (Inner city Birmingham)