Community Radio in The United Kingdom - Licensing


There was a second round of licensing in 2007, and as of 2010 Ofcom was considering a third. Unlike in commercial radio licensing, which is generally advertised to cover a specific region, prospective operators are able to specify the target area and format of their station.

To obtain a community radio licence, applicants must demonstrate that the proposed station will meet the needs of a specified target community, together with required "social gain" objectives set out in the application. These usually take the form of a commitment to train local people in broadcasting skills or provide a certain amount of programming aimed at an underserved section of the population.

A target community can be defined either by geography or by reference to a particular sub-community in an area, otherwise known as a community of interest. A geographic community is any defined local area, particularly those that cannot sustain a fully commercial broadcaster. A community of interest can be any identifiable local community; existing community stations are aimed at groups as diverse as the elderly or youth, religious groups, speakers of languages other than English, lifestyle groups such as gay and transgender and cultural/recreational groups such as artists.

While there are exceptions in certain rural areas, community radio stations are usually limited to broadcast areas smaller than commercial or BBC local stations, nominally within a 5 kilometre radius of their transmitter. The normal allocated power for a new community radio station in an urban area is 25 watts vertically polarised, although most allocations permit the addition of a further 25 watts horizontally polarised. For some rural stations these limits are increased to 50 watts vertical plus 50 watts horizontal.

Read more about this topic:  Community Radio In The United Kingdom

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