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Global pushes for radio boundaries to match ITV regions

Global Radio has requested changes to how regional radio is structured in England following an Ofcom revision last year.

Global Radio, as owner of Heart, wants to redraw the regulatory boundaries in order that its network of local stations in the south, east and west of England closely match the existing regional structure used by ITV.

Most local analogue commercial radio stations are still required to produce a certain number of hours of locally-made programming, such as a local drive-time programme. Under legislation passed in 2010, these stations are not only able to broadcast their locally-made hours from within their licence area, but may instead broadcast from studios based elsewhere within a larger area approved by Ofcom. These wider areas are known as ‘approved areas’. Stations can also share their local hours of programming with other stations located in the same approved area. Changes to these areas were made in October 2018.

Following the October change, Global Radio says it wants to change the approved areas so that it can share output as follows: 

► The creation of a new South West and West Country area, which would allow the following Heart stations to share output. It would combine parts of Ofcom's existing West of England with stations currently in the Midlands region:

Bristol & Bath
Exeter & Torbay
Gloucester & Cheltenham
South Hams
Swindon & West Wiltshire
Taunton & Yeovil

► The creation of a new Anglia area, which would combine some stations currently in Ofcom's East of England and South England areas, and would allow the following Heart stations to share output:

Cambridge and Newmarket
Ipswich & Bury St. Edmunds
Luton & Bedford
Milton Keynes
Norwich & Great Yarmouth
Southend & Chelmsford

► The creation of a revised area in the South of England, which would combine stations currently in the South and West regions, in order to match the current ITV Meridian region:

This would also affect two Capital FM stations in the region

Brighton, Eastbourne & Hastings
Maidstone, Medway & East Kent 
Oxford & Banbury 
Reading & Basingstoke 
Reigate & Crawley
South Hampshire

Brighton & Hove
South Hampshire

Ofcom says its minded to approve the changes, but has put the proposals out for consultation until 14th February 2019.