Media Post: New Radio Licences Are Delayed; Authority Blames High Workload

Article excerpt

The Radio Authority has had to postpone the process of awarding the new West Midlands commercial radio licence by three months.

Adverts inviting applications for the hotly-awaited analogue licence will now not be released until March or April. The authority had expected to advertise last month, with a closing date in April and the award made in July.

Interested parties will now have three months from the end of March to submit their applications.

It blamed its increasing workload and the issuing of several digital licences for putting back the operation.

A spokesman said: "The authority is having to readvertise existing digital radio licences so we coping with a high-profile task.

"Because we have so much on our plate we are having to move the advert for the new West Midlands licence.

"The advertisement dates are not set in stone. Moving this will give prospective applicants more time to work on their bids."

Leading the stampede for the new licence is Variety FM, part of the Guardian Media Group, which owns or manages 26 commercial stations in the UK - plus Jazz FM in London and Manchester.

The station is targeting a 30 to 55-year-old core audience but is hoping its mix of music and the spoken word , including sport, arts, news and business, will appeal across a wider range.

Other likely contenders are expected to include Jazz FM, Capital Radio, DMG Group, and the Saga Group.

Now Digital has been awarded the digital multiplex licence for Wolverhampton, Shrewsbury and Telford. …