Ofcom Community Radio licensing - Round 3 Scotland awards 2012-2013.

Ofcom, the UK regulator of broadcasting and telecoms, announced on Thursday 14 February 2013 the award of a community radio licence to TD1 Radio (Borders Community Radio & Media Ltd.) for a service in the central Borders of Scotland. This was the final award of a licence during the Ofcom Round 3 of applications in Scotland.

Ofcom will continue to invite applications in a region-by-region basis to end with London and South East of England by the end of 2014. The entire UK Round 3 awards of Community Licences should be completed by early 2015.

There will be no further rounds of FM community licence awards in the foreseeable future. Ofcom may on exceptional circumstances accept an application and possible award of a community licence on a one-to-one basis after 2015. However, there is no firm plan in place at this time beyond the end of the Round 3 awards.

During the last quarter of 2014, Ofcom do plan to invite applications to operate a local community radio service anywhere in the UK using a frequency on the AM medium wave band.
Ofcom will not indicate any region of the UK and it will be up to applicants to decide the area they intend to serve. Transmission powers for AM local licences are expected to be at least 100 Watts emrp.

For AM licences, it is expected the programme service will mostly likely be for an ethnic language service. It is not expected that the typical format of popular music with local information and involvement will be awarded an AM licence.

The last Ofcom Community Radio licence in Scotland was awarded to TD1 Radio who intend to provide a community radio service catering for people living and working in Galashiels, Tweedbank, Melrose and Selkirk.

Licences are awarded for a five-year period from the start of 'on-air' broadcasting. Awarded licensees have two years in which to get 'on-air' from the date of the licence award or the licence award may be withdrawn.

Community radio services are provided on a not-for-profit basis focusing on the delivery of specific social benefits to a particular geographical community or a community of interest.

This is the last award in Round 3 of Community Radio Licensing in Scotland which began on 1 April 2011 when Ofcom announced that there was to be a Round 3 of Community Radio licences after a four year interval in licensing. The invitation to apply for a broadcasting licence came in response to significant interest expressed by individuals and community groups across the UK wanting to take to the air and provide services for their local community.

Ofcom invited applications for licences for Round 3 in in Scotland on 16 November 2011 with a closing date on Tuesday 14 February 2012.

The first licence to be awarded by Ofcom in this new Round 3 was on 29 May 2012 when An Radio/An Rčidio (Uist Radio Ltd) was awarded an FM licence to serve the Scottish Outer Hebrides islands of Berneray, North Uist, Baleshare, Grimsay, Benbecula, South Uist and Eriskay.

On 17 July 2012 Ofcom awarded FM licences to: Camglen Radio (Healthy n Happy) to cover Cambuslang and Rutherglen in South Lanarkshire – this station is due to come on-air before July 2014; Celtic Music Radio (Celtic Music Radio Limited) to cover the central Glasgow area intends to launch on FM on 1 July 2014 and will cease transmissions on 1530 kHz AM around Glasgow by the end of July 2014. Sound of Mull Radio (Sound of Mull Radio SCIO) were also award a licence on 17 July 2012 to serve the Isles of Mull and Iona.

Celtic Music Radio is a station for those with an interest in contemporary and traditional Scottish music and song. It has broadcast on 1530 kHz AM across Glasgow since launch in January 2008, but as a result of this licence award the station can move onto the more popular and better quality FM waveband and as a licence condition, will be required to return the AM/MW licence which will be by the end of July 2014.

Ofcom made licence awards on 18 September 2013 to the following applicants: Crystal FM (Penicuik Community Education Association) to serve the Penicuik area of Midlothian which officially launched on 107.4 FM on 28 February 2014. A licence was awarded to East Coast FM (East Coast FM SCIO) to cover Haddington and surrounding areas of East Lothian which launched on 107.6 FM at 8.00am on 27 April 2013.

Ofcom announced a large batch of awards on 15 January 2013 to: K-Town FM (K-Town FM Ltd), Kinglassie and surrounding area, Fife; KYFM (Kirkcaldy Community Radio), Kirkcaldy and surrounding villages in Fife commenced test transmissions on 107.0 MHz FM on 3 March 2014 with the intention to launch on 31 March 2014; Nevis Radio (Nevis Community Radio Ltd), Fort William and surrounding area of the Scottish Highlands and islands transferred seamlessly from a Commercial to a Community licence in the spring of 2013; Irvine Beat FM (Irvine Beat FM SCIO) launched on 12 August 2013 on 107.2 FM serving and covering the towns of Irvine and Kilwinning and surrounding areas of North Ayrshire; KCR (Keith Community Radio Ltd), parts of Moray including Elgin, Buckie and Keith are expected commence a full-time later in 2014. KCR currently provides programmes on 102.8 FM as an opt-out of MFR in the evenings. Deveron FM (Deveron FM Ltd) covering and serving Banff and Macduff in Aberdeenshire is also due later in 2014 or early 2015.

And the last licence on 14 February 2013 went to TD1 Radio based in Galashiels in the Scottish Borders is expected to launch later in 2014.

There are 13 new licence awards across Scotland made by Ofcom in response to Round 3 of Community Radio Licensing bringing the total Ofcom CR licences in Scotland to 31 less one licence when Celtic Music Radio does switchover from AM to FM. There are also five 'community radio operated' stations along the West Coast and Highlands of Scotland which have an Ofcom Commercial Radio licences (ILR) which pre-dates Community licences.

About SCBN
The Scottish Community Broadcasting Network (SCBN) was established in the autumn of 2007 with an aim to support community radio projects in Scotland.

The Scottish Community Broadcasting Network current membership works together to provide support, advice and guidance to communities who are interested in community radio and media. Working on shared issues such as funding, practice sharing and training the group raises awareness of the important role of community radio in Scotland's communities and to explore alternative ways of broadcasting effectively to communities of interest and geographical communities.

In Scotland and throughout the UK, community radio stations are licensed by regulator Ofcom (Office of Communications) which is based in London and has a small branch office in Glasgow.

Ofcom defines community radio as licences for small-scale, not-for-profit radio stations operated for the good of members of the public, or of particular communities, and in order to deliver social gain. The licenses are awarded by Ofcom following a formal application process. Not all applicants are awarded a licence to broadcast.

This SCBN website lists radio stations on-air that hold an Ofcom Community Radio Licence. The list includes the station name and its broadcast frequency, coverage area and some information on the service provided and general contact details.

Other very small-scale commercial radio stations in Scotland licensed by Ofcom that hold ILR (Commercial radio) licenses but in all other regards are community radio stations, are also listed.