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Athol Radio Granted Licence 29 March 2004

The Isle of Man Communications Commission has today (29 March 2004) announced the grant of a licence to Athol Radio Limited to provide a sound programme service under the Broadcasting Act 1993 (of Tynwald). Athol will provide a VHF (FM) radio service across the Island.

Provisionally called 3FM, the service will be music-led and tailored for an over-35 audience. It will be distinctive from both EnergyFM, which is a contemporary and chart music and information station for 15 to 34s, and from Manx Radio. As the Islandís national broadcaster, Manx Radio is focusing on public service speech programming, reducing music output and enhancing the quality of the speech output, as recommended by the Darwin Report which was endorsed by Tynwald in December 2002. 3FM is expected to launch towards the end of the year.

Athol Radio Limited is majority-owned by three Isle of Man residents: Sam Alder, Ron Berry and George Ferguson. For further enquiries contact Mr Alder at Athol Radio Limited, 22 Athol Street, Douglas, Isle of Man IM1 1JA, telephone 01624 622865, fax 01624 661410.

Atholís broadcasting licence application is the last the Commission will consider for the time being. Following a debate in Tynwald on 17 March 2004 during which concern was expressed about radio licensing policy, the Commission is suspending further licensing under the Islandís Broadcasting Act pending revised legislation. Tynwald agreed that in future the licensing and regulation of broadcasting should be clearly separated from both Government and the Legislature. The number of new broadcasting licences would be restricted, taking into account the economic impact on existing operators.

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