Ofcom Invites Applications for Community Radio Licences

In September we advised that Ofcom published their plans for 2018/2019 for inviting applications for analogue FM community radio licences. We believe that this would be the final round of analogue licences offer by Ofcom in advance of the start of the small scale DAB licensing programme.

Ofcom have now published their invitation of applications for community radio licences. It is HBA’s responsibility to, as far as possible, safe guard the future of hospital broadcasting. Over recent years the Association has taken steps to encourage member stations to look beyond historic and current delivery methods, such as hard-wired and patient entertainment system providers, and consider other delivery systems. Therefore HBA would strongly encourage and support member stations who are located in the areas where a community radio licence is offered, to consider this opportunity.

Applications for a community licence must be an incorporated organisation. In 2015, HBA agreed new model charitable objects with the charity regulators across the UK, and issued guidance on how those stations which wished to go down the route of public health promotion instead of, or in addition to, “traditional” hospital broadcasting, could do so whilst remaining within charity law. In addition we published guidance on changing their legal form to a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO) – in corporation being a necessary condition of applying for a community radio licence. Around a dozen of our members have so-far converted to a CIO (SCIO in Scotland) with the widened charitable objects, with a few more in the process of doing so.

Our Specialist Advisors are on hand to help and advise you if needed. You can read the successful community radio applications for Radio Tyneside (who are already on-air on FM) and Winchester Radio (FM launch planned for March 2019) on the Ofcom website to get an idea of what a successful application looks like, alongside further information about the community radio licensing process.