Ofcom in timetable blow for ‘local’ radio

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A NEW radio station which has pledged to bring truly local broadcasting back to Milton Keynes will be limited to two one month broadcasting slots.

MKFM hit the airwaves this month, but only as part of two, month-long test broadcasts – one of which is running from now until July 13 – on a Restricted Service Licence.

And now it has been told by Ofcom that it cannot apply for a licence for 18 months.

The current licence allows MKFM to operate for a maximum of 28 days, twice a year. The latest broadcast is the station’s third.

But because of strict Ofcom timetable restrictions MKFM can’t apply for a licence for another 18 months.

A letter from Ofcom to Mr Geary, seen by this newspaper, said the current community radio licensing round started in April 2011 and is conducted region by region.

The timetable for inviting applications, as seen on Ofcom’s website shows that stations in Milton Keynes will not be allowed to apply until 2014.

The letter says Ofcom will work as efficiently as they can to invite and assess applications and make licensing decisions but they are not able to offer any short cuts to the process.