Yesterday Ofcom published a statement detailing the extension of advertised or readvertised local commercial analogue radio licences from seven to 12 years – lending these stations a somewhat greater degree of certainty than Community Radio stations that only get 5 years at a time.
Implicitly they are saying the FM waveband will remain until at least 2026 and probably beyond. Given the sheer quantity of analogue receivers in customers hands, and the average replacement cycle (surely 10 years plus) then this seems like a very pragmatic line to take.
It’s great news for those stations – they can continue on FM effectively as long as they like. If DAB becomes mainstream in that time, no doubt they can just hand-back their FM licences – although they may think twice about freeing the band for unwelcome competition!
The full statement can be found on Ofcom’s website.