EMAP Performance is to test Kerrang! Radio in Manchester ahead of the next batch of available FM radio licences. The station will go on air on February 18 and will broadcast on 97.6 FM for the next month.
EMAP will trial Kerrang! Radio, which plays classic and contemporary rock, on the restricted licence ahead of a possible national roll-out. Kerrang! Radio won the last FM licence for the West Midlands, which includes Birmingham and Wolverhampton, last October. It is due to launch later this year.
Earlier this month Ofcom, the broadcasting regulator that awards the licences, announced that it will create 35 new FM licences during the next two years. This is likely to include major conurbations such as Manchester, Glasgow and Cardiff.
EMAP Performance director of development Shaun Gregory says that the group’s decision to test market the station demonstrates EMAP’s serious intent to pursue the FM licences as soon as they are available.
Kerrang! Radio is due to launch in the Midlands later this year and EMAP is planning to create a regional head office for Kerrang! in the area. The station is also available on DAB digital radio as well as Freeview, cable, satellite and online. Rajar figures for the last quarter of 2003 reported that the station has 722,000 weekly listeners.