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Frome FM in ground-breaking digital licence bid

FROME FM has joined forces with two West Wiltshire community radio stations to bid for a new digital radio licence that will allow them all to expand their reach. 

Director of Frome FM Rupert Kirkham in the studio with a DAB radio. If the licence bid wins, all three community radio stations would be heard on DAB radios like this over a wider area.

The local radio station is working with WCR FM in Warminster and Fantasy Radio in Devizes, as a Community Interest Company (CIC), and the trio have applied for the new West Wiltshire DAB multiplex licence that will cover Warminster, Frome, Melksham, Trowbridge and Devizes. The new licence is being advertised by Ofcom – the radio and TV regulator. 

The application is chaired by Quentin Howard, a well-known broadcaster and former GWR Radio executive from Devizes.  He is credited with driving the UK’s successful development of DAB which is now the most popular way to listen to radio stations. 

The group hopes to win the new DAB digital radio licence which will allow all three stations to be heard on DAB radios at home and in cars across the whole area.  Local DAB also provides an opportunity for online community stations and other organisations to reach audiences via digital radio.

Training director at Frome FM, Rupert Kirkham,  said, “It’s great to be working with our neighbouring community stations on this application. Sometimes we forget that people all over the country are involved in community radio. DAB will enable Frome FM to be heard by more people as our FM signal can be a bit patchy!” 

Quentin Howard added, “I am proud that this licence application is entirely by local people for local people.  It is an opportunity for our community stations to go digital together reaching more people.  It also provides new ways for local organisations to have their community voices heard by anyone with a DAB radio.”    

The group is inviting expressions of interest from other broadcasters, online radio stations, schools, local festivals, event organisations and businesses interested in applying for spare broadcast capacity on the DAB multiplex with a view to running their own stations or special event broadcasting.  Enquiries should be emailed to Ofcom will announce its decision on the bid later this year.

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