‘Race is on’ for North Devon radio licence

Joseph Bulmer

As Ofcom talks end in disappointment, the team behind a local radio campaign get ready to do battle with Heart

THE team behind a campaign for local radio has met with Ofcom for the second time to discuss the long-term future of local radio in North Devon.

But yesterday’s (Monday’s) talks with the Government communications regulator ended in disappointment for Network North Devon’s Ian Starling, who was told there were no plans to grant a second full-time licence for the area.

The current licence owned by Heart Devon is up for renewal this year and Mr Starling said the bid to win it “starts now”.

“The Race is on as the North Devon licence will be re advertised the first Tuesday in April,” he said.

“We will need to submit a letter of intent during April along with a hefty �10,000 deposit plus �5,000 application fee, which is not refundable.”

Re-advertisement of the licence will take place from May and the application would need to be submitted by end of August with a winner likely to be announced by end of November.

“Our case has to be bullet-proof and we need to show Ofcom we have a viable business plan and that if they give us the licence we can survive,” he added.

“For the first year we will need in the region of �300,000 to operate the licence. Therefore we need investors and are working on a master plan and have already started the ball rolling.”

Meanwhile, a new radio station is set to go live in Bideford on Friday week.

Bideford FM – The Voice 87.7, will begin transmissions at 6am with former Lantern and Heart DJ James Chapple.

Other local presenters – including Ian Starling, Martin King, Paul Andrews and former Lantern FM breakfast presenters Spanky and PJ, will also be taking to the microphone during the 28-day broadcast period.

The station is the third in a series of Restricted Service Licences (RSL) and follows similar recent ventures in Barnstaple.

The new Bideford station is already broadcasting a series of preview programmes online at www.thevoicefm.co.uk