Ofcom announces plans to licence digital radio expansion in the NW

Broadcasting regulator Ofcom has announced plans to licence a digital radio expansion throughout the North West.

Successful licensees serving 22 different areas will be permitted to build out the necessary digital infrastructure.

Each will carry over 20 additional radio stations across the digital airwaves from as early as June next year.

The 22 North West areas are between Burnley and Wrexham and from Blackpool to Stoke- on-Trent, with a new permanent licence for Manchester at the centre for this major North West, digital radio expansion.

Bidders are expected from South Wales, London, Yorkshire and Cheshire.

One of the companies that will put their name into the bidding process is Manchester and Salford Digital (M&S Digital), which has the support of local community radio services including Gaydio Manchester and Reform Radio.

M&S Digital’s project manager Paul Boon said: “This latest radio expansion is all about community, diversity and opportunity and going digital, allows this.

“This new platform will allow smaller, but much-loved Manchester based stations to reach audience alongside the well-established names such as Capital.”

“In our plans we intend to carry locally made radio station content from all corners of Greater Manchester. We explain how, on our website: mandsdigitalradio.co.uk.”

Ofcom will start assessing all competing applications from September this year.