OfCom refuses to amend Heart Cornwall’s licence obligations

By | Published on Wednesday 17 October 2012

Heart FM

Regulator OfCom has rejected a request by Global Radio to change the format requirements on the FM licence now being used by Heart Cornwall.

Global acquired what was Atlantic FM in March to expand its Heart network into Cornwall. However, Atlantic’s licence included more local programming obligations than the other FM licences used by Heart stations elsewhere in the UK, making it harder for Global to just pump out content from the central Heart network and neighbouring Heart Devon on the frequency.

The radio major wanted the Atlantic licence amended to reduce local programming obligations, but OfCom has refused, after nine out of twelve responses to their investigation objected to the proposal. That there are only two local commercial stations in Cornwall was key to the decision. As a result, according to Radio Today, Global will have to make a four hour programme every day specifically for Heart Cornwall.

The regulator said in a statement: “Given that the proposal affected Heart Cornwall’s core requirement to be a ‘full service local station specifically for Cornwall, with speech an important part of the content’, and would require a significant rewording of its Character Of Service, the executive determined that the request, if granted, would represent a significant change to the character of the station’s existing service”.