Northampton is the latest stop on our multiplex journey with a fine line-up and a mystery additional service provider. Ooooooohhhhhh.

When putting together an application you run up against some interesting problems. The main issue is the closing date. It often causes problems with potential partners as if they take part in your bid publicly it might harm a different part of their strategy. We always try and put as much as possible into the public Part A of the document, however when these things pop up we often have to have a confidential Part B with a little more detailed information that only Ofcom sees. In the Part B for Northants we have the identity of the mystery Adult Contemporary provider.

In this application we also have an either/or opportunity too. We’ve made room in our application for XFM. We’ve done this because we’re aware that GCap are rolling out this brand into lots of different areas, we think it’s a great station and would love to have it on our application. If we win, however, we’re unsure whether GCap would want to provide it to us. They might decide that they can only provide extra services like XFM if they win the multiplex themselves. As we’re uncertain what they’re likely to do, we’ve made space available for XFM, but we’ve also got a different ‘youth’ station back-up in place – something we’ve also detailed in our confidential Part B.

As always, we’re very pleased with the line-up and the fact we have a local shareholder in the form of Connect FM owner, Forward Media on board. Through all of our applications we’ve always tried to have local analogue operators on board, as it means they get some of the profit from the multiplex, which reduces the amount of money they have to pay out for the cost of the digital carriage. Often these stations are quite small businesses so it’s important that we can come up with affordable ways for them to broadcast on digital, otherwise they won’t be able to be there, which won’t make DAB as attractive to local listeners.

As always leave your comments below or email [email protected].

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