Radio Authority to put 12 regional FM licences up for grabs in 2003

Licences for 12 new commercial FM radio stations will be up for grabs next year, including licences for Cornwall, Glasgow and the West Midlands.

The Radio Authority has unveiled the working list of eight-year licences, tenders for which will be advertised from early next year.

The West Midlands licence is set to create the most interest, with the new station taking on Chrysalis’s 100.7 Heart FM, which has 900,000 listeners. The area has a potential audience of 2.3 million listeners.

This year’s tender for the East Midlands FM licence, covering Nottingham, Leicester and Derby, prompted 15 applications and a decision could be as early as next month.

The new licence for Glasgow will also rival Clyde 1 FM and Guardian Media Group’s Scottish station Real Radio.

Other areas which will receive new stations include Blackburn, Durham, Kidderminster and Norwich.

The new licences are expected to be the last released by The Radio Authority before its powers are transferred to new regulator Ofcom next summer.

The Radio Authority says it will publish a report later this year outlining the options available to the new body on issues such as the future of the AM frequency and the scope for expanding the FM spectrum in the UK.

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