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UK ponders 12 year terms for “re-advertised” analog radio stations

OfcomThe United Kingdom’s broadcast regulator Ofcom is considering letting “re-advertised” analog radio station licenses extend for twelve years, the maximum possible license length. The current policy is to set licenses approaching their expiration date at seven, but “market and regulatory developments” since 2010 suggest a reconsideration, a Ofcom consultation concludes:

” . . . we have not identified any further factors which might justify a shorter licence period than the statutory maximum. As a longer licence period would provide greater commercial certainty for operators, we are proposing a new policy that licence durations will be set at 12 years.”

The consultation also indicates that the government thinks that its transition to DAB digital broadcasting is succeeding:

“DAB is a significantly more widely adopted technology now, with greater availability of a greater number of services; more DAB sets in homes and cars; and more listening to DAB in terms of both reach and share. The trends since 2010 and going back further, plus the recent policy announcements by Government, suggest that there will be sustained growth and development of the DAB radio platform.

We consider that these developments will reduce the need for flexibility for Government, Parliament and Ofcom in introducing new licensing regimes or spectrum planning for the FM band, since it now seems that these would not be necessary, post-switchover.”

Here in the United States, broadcast radio station licenses extend to eight years. Ofcom is soliciting feedback on its proposal through May 6.


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