Wednesday, August 10, 2005


Having watched local station after station win public support with the promise of a distinctive output, only to water down that commitment after winning the licence, with nary a word from the regulator, we're surprised and delighted that Ofcom has finally decided enough is enough and blocked Coventry's Kix96 in its bid to morph from an urban and Irish music specialist into a golden oldies station:

But Ofcom said the shift would "represent substantial change to the character of service in that the wording of the current format obliges Kix 96 to broadcast to identified 'communities' in Coventry. The proposed format clearly removed those significant elements."

We wish Ofcom (and its predecessor in these matters, the Radio Authority) had found its voice back when the likes of Crash FM in Liverpool and Brighton's Surf were being denatured from alternative music stations into Top 40 dross, but it's encouraging that the regulator has at least belatedly woken up to the risk of Clearchannelisation in the UK radio sector. Of course, part of the problem was that Kix96 had been allowed to interpet its promises in a loose way as it was - quite often sticking to Top 40 stuff and thus aping what the mainstream commercial station was already doing in Coventry. Perhaps its management will now think about creating a distinctive position that also keeps to the promises they made when they won the licence.