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Special Event Radio

Volume 128: debated on Thursday 25 February 1988

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To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement about special event radio.

In 1986 my right hon. Friend announced an experiment in licensing low-powered transmitters to provide information or a commentary to those attending the sites of festivals, sporting events and so on. During the period of the experiment a total of 31 licences were issued covering 59 separate events. The experiment has generally been welcomed.In answer to a question from my hon. Friend the Member for Fylde (Mr. Jack) on 19 January 1988, we announced that we intend to bring forward legislation based on the Green Paper "Radio: Choices and Opportunities" to establish a new Radio Authority, which will have responsibility for licensing radio services, including special event radio. Pending new legislation, we have decided to continue with the licensing of special event radio on broadly the same basis as during the experiment. It has, however, been possible to reduce the licence fee to £100 for transmissions not exceeding 50 milliwatts maximum radiated power on the MF band. A fee of £450 will continue to be payable for services using a higher power, where this is deemed to be necessary to provide adequate coverage to the site, and an additional supplement will be payable for assignment of VHF frequencies. Full details of the general and technical conditions and the licensing procedure are set out in notes for the guidance of prospective licensees, available from the Home Office, copies of which have been placed in the Library.