Emap to make a bid for Ofcom's Manchester FM licence

LONDON – Emap has confirmed that it will bid for the new Manchester FM licence, which Ofcom announced earlier today, going up against Capital's Xfm with with other major UK radio players expected to enter their own bids. Updated

The Manchester licence is to target an adult population of 1.3m, 300,000 fewer than the existing Galaxy 102 service, which is considered the largest commercial licence in the area.

The Capital Radio Group will enter its new music station Xfm, following a successful trial using a restricted licence across Manchester earlier this year.

Emap, which also owns Magic and Kiss, has made no secret of its desire to expand its portfolio.

Kerrang! Radio programming director, Andrew Jeffries, said: "More than 1m people across the UK are already tuning into Kerrang! Radio. We want to reflect Manchester's position as one of the global cities of rock'n'roll by bringing Manchester its own Kerrang! Radio station with programming that reflects its musical heritage and a commitment to the continued coverage of the best new talent around."

Manchester is world famous for its music and has given rise to some of the most important bands of the last 20 years with Joy Division, New Order, the Happy Mondays, The Smiths, The Stone Roses and Oasis all originating from the city.

Those bands have influence many newer arrivals on both sides of the Atlantic including Kasabian, Franz Ferdinand, The Rapture, Interpol and The Killers, who have all acknowledged their debt to Manchester's music output and heritage.

Last year, it won the coveted Birmingham licence with Kerrang! and this year is expected to put in a bid for the rock station in Manchester.

GWR, the owner of Classic FM, is to bid with rock format The Storm and Celador and Canadian media giant CanWest are also expected to submit applications.

The exact coverage will be determined by the local of the transmission site and other technical characteristics. The proposed frequency is 97.7FM.

There is also a Banbury licence up for grabs, which will cover the town and its surrounding area and should reach a target audience of 70,000.

Closing date for submissions is February 9 2005 with a £12,000 non-refundable fee for each Manchester application and £1,500 for each Banbury application transmitted.

Full details of both licences can be obtained from Ofcom.

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