Ofcom approves two Bauer area change requests

Ofcom has approved requests from Bauer to change its approved areas in the North, and South and West, of England, following a public consultation.

‘Yorkshire & Lincolnshire (Bauer)’ will now encompass 17 FM licences including the Northallerton licence which previously sat within Ofcom’s North East of England approved area.

Bauer is already operating the Northallerton licence as part of its Yorkshire and Lincolnshire region, broadcasting the regional Drive show on Greatest Hits Radio from Leeds, so no other changes are expected.

The new approved area will now incorporate the following FM local radio licences owned by Bauer:

• Barnsley (Greatest Hits Radio)
• Bassetlaw (Greatest Hits Radio)
• Bradford & Huddersfield (Pulse 1)
• Bridlington (Greatest Hits Radio)
• Chesterfield (Greatest Hits Radio)
• Doncaster (Greatest Hits Radio)
• Grimsby (Greatest Hits Radio)
• Harrogate (Greatest Hits Radio)
• Humberside (Viking FM)
• Leeds (Greatest Hits Radio)
• Lincoln (Lincs FM)
• Northallerton (Greatest Hits Radio)
• Rotherham (Greatest Hits Radio)
• Scarborough (Greatest Hits Radio)
• South Yorkshire (Hallam FM)
• Wakefield (Greatest Hits Radio)
• York (Greatest Hits Radio)

In addition, the regulator has also approved Bauer’s request to move its Shaftesbury local FM licence from the existing ‘South West England (Bauer) ’approved area to join 13 other licensed services in the ‘South of England (Bauer)’ approved area.

This new area now includes the following FM local radio licences:

• Alton & Haslemere (Greatest Hits Radio)
• Andover (Greatest Hits Radio)
• Aylesbury (Greatest Hits Radio)
• Basingstoke (Greatest Hits Radio)
• Bournemouth (Fire Radio)
• Chichester (Greatest Hits Radio)
• Newbury (Greatest Hits Radio)
• Reading (Greatest Hits Radio)
• Salisbury (Greatest Hits Radio)
• Shaftesbury (Greatest Hits Radio)
• Solent (Wave 105)
• Surrey & North East Hampshire (Greatest Hits Radio)
• Weymouth & Dorchester (Greatest Hits Radio)

No responses were received to the consultation for South West England, whilst two were received for the North; one against and one for.

The respondent who was against the proposal wished to remain anonymous, but did not make any specific arguments as to why the Northallerton licence should not be permitted to co-locate and share local programme hours with Bauer’s other local radio stations in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire.

Rather, the objection was a more general one to Bauer Radio’s strategy of rolling out a single brand, ‘Greatest Hits Radio’, on a large number of local commercial radio licences, a decision which the respondent claimed had “already destroyed many livelihood and audience [sic]”. The respondent felt that each of the 17 local licence areas concerned should be required to produce at least one locally-produced programme per day broadcast from within the licence area.