Radio Station News: MP urges broadcast regulator to reach a decision on bid for second FM transmitter

Published on: Friday, 22nd February 2019

Erewash MP Maggie Throup has written to OFCOM seeking a quick decision over a bid by local radio station Erewash Sound to install a second transmitter.

Mrs. Throup met with representatives of the radio station at a recent business meeting organised by The Erewash Partnership, and having taken a keen interest in plans detailed, then made the approach to the broadcast regulator to enquire further about the matter.

Erewash Sound first launched an FM service on a permanent basis just for the Erewash borough of Derbyshire in early March 2010 using 96.8FM.  The broadcast footprint and frequency was the best available to the radio station at the time but has since proven to be susceptible to interference from BBC Radio Cymru which has a powerful transmitter in Wenvoe, located in South Wales, running on the same frequency.

In 2018, OFCOM invited applications for both improvements to existing community radio transmission systems and well as extensions of broadcast footprints for the same, and has been working its way through applications received, firstly for improvements, and then extensions.  Although exact timescales are not known, suggestions from inside the broadcasting industry are that applicants can expect decisions between February and the end of April.   These suggestions have neither been confirmed nor refuted by the regulator.

Although output can also be heard on-line, Erewash Sound CIC has applied for a second FM transmitter in order to better serve the south and south-west of the borough - this application falls into the second round of OFCOM considerations - an extension to the current 96.8FM footprint - with a second transmitter using a second FM frequency.   Radio station officials are hoping that the regulator agrees to the application and using one of a number of suggested frequencies.

In a letter to Erewash Sound, following her approach to the regulator, Mrs. Throup said that she had asked the Chief Executive for the radio station application to be 'expedited' and to provide a timescale for completion, and that she had also written to the Minister of State for Digital and the Creative Industries to ask when a decision could be expected. 

She pledged to provide radio station officials with an update when possible and added: "I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone at Erewash Sound for providing such good and entertaining broadcasts" and said that she looked forward to visiting the Training Academy in the near future.

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