United Kingdom

TalkSport‘s submission is here:
https://www.ofcom.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0018/254052/annex6-talkSPORT-proposed-changes-number-of-transmitters.pdf – it contains some interesting coverage maps.

TalkSport has 22 transmission sites of which five are high-powered and the rest infill.

TalkSport request permission to close the four sites listed “immediately”, but OFCOM have put it out to consultation requiring a response from stakeholders by 23rd March 2023, after which they will make a decision. Additionally TalkSport suggests that the 13 other infill sites will become “unviable in the next two years”.

This would leave a “core network” of the five high-powered transmitters at:
Brookman’s Park, Hertfordshire, 1089kHz, 400kW
Droitwich, Worcestershire, 1053kHz, 500kW
Moorside Edge, West Yorkshire, 1089kHz, 100kW
Westerglen, Stirlingshire, 1089kHz, 100kW
Washford, Somerset, 1089kHz, 80kW

Compared to the high-power sites, most of the 17 infill transmitters are rated at only a few kilowatts, the largest being 18kW. The four that have been requested to close are 1kW each, except Dumfries which is 10kW (all powers are according to the WRTH 2022 edition).

In their submission, TalkSport say this five-site network “will remove AM coverage in Northern Ireland, the Scottish Borders, the North East and East Anglia”, with possible later closure of these five high-powered sites.

OFCOM comment that the Government’s “Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport” recommend that “industry should begin planning for the … migration from AM services to take place some point in the mid-2020s”, so they are consulting (partly) because “holders of other analogue commercial radio licences, and particularly those holding AM licences, might be interested in the approach that we are minded to take in this case”. This “approach” is OFCOM’s provisional decision to permit the closure.

One can infer that this decision will be of interest to TalkSport and others for future AM closures, although each decision has to be made in the light of the specific situation and OFCOM’s statutory duties.

Andrew Brade, bdxc-news via WOR iog (2023-02-21)