July 10, 2007

MPFM & the Radio Shuffle

VHF-FM licenses are up for renewal in 2011. If you're a regular reader of this blog, chances are you know about this already.

I've seen the FM License offers paper, put together by MED in May. It looks like some people will be shuffling a little bit on the dial, while others will need to packing their marketing team up and move them to a completely different end of the dial. Further down the page I have detailed a few interesting moves...

I've also read the proposed draft for the allocation of new MPFM frequencies and their dependency on the kind of two way interference between aeonautical radio band just above 108FM - just next door to music and talk stations. There looks to be a crunching of available LPFM frequencies in the the upper band - likely to be reduced to 107.4 - 108.0FM.

The MPFM community frequencies will sit just below the LPFM crowd from 106.6 - 107.4FM. Everything below that is good to go for high powered stations (FMBC).

Points of note include:
7.5 The location of new medium and high power FMBC services in the 100 to 108 MHz band anywhere in the Auckland area will require careful coordination to optimise use of the band and the maintenance of airport landing safety margins.

11.6 There are particular coordination issues with the establishment of new FMBC stations above 100 MHz at Auckland and Wellington, and their establishment in other areas of New Zealand will also require care.
I also found this interesting:
2.6 In regard to low power and GURL FMBC stations, experience has indicated that occasionally operators have raised transmit power levels above the licensed limit. Where such cases have been discovered, appropriate compliance action has been taken. However, such illegal action in or near ILS/VOR Designated Operational Coverage (DOC) areas can lead to a reduction in the safety margins of the ILS/VOR services before regulatory action can be taken and may allow possibly dangerous situations develop. Other actions are therefore needed to ensure that operators in those low power bands clearly understand their responsibilities and associated consequences.
It's been known for a while that the frequencies around the 96FM mark are usually smaller area ones that are designed for "in-between" markets, or secondary frequencies that are sheltered by NZ's famous geography. Recently these 96FM frequencies have been slyly re-engineered as de-facto high power broadcasts over time, and as a result, has affected market frequency rastering. These have turned into "frequencies that shouldn't exist but do".

It's become apparent that this small slice of spectrum needs a clean out. As a result, the re-rastering of the 96FM frequencies (96.0 - 96.9) are all getting 'reset'. Some broadcasters will be able to continue to use their frequency, while others will need to move to the left, to the left. Others will need to move up a bit, or a LOT. Some are getting moved way up the dial to the new 106FM zone.

Here are a few highlights I found from the paper:

96.1 - Currently TRN's "Flava". This license will be moved to 95.8 (Skytower).
95.8 - Currently World TV's "Real Good Life FM". They will vacate 95.8 and move to 104.2 (Pukekohe Hill)
96.8 - Currently Waatea's "George FM". No word yet on this.
My guess is they will move to 96.6fm (Skytower)
96.5 - Currently Tainui FM's Pukekohe frequency. This will move to 105.8fm (Pukekohe Hill)
96.6 - Currently Canwest's "Times FM". This will move to 97.8fm (Lochamber)
95.4 - Currently an unused Mai Media frequency. This will move to 100.2fm (Shakespeare Regional Park)
96.3 - Currently registered as a TRN frequency for Albany.
This might get disbanded, as it already is a very low powered license.

others of interest nearby:
- Currently Canwest's "Coromandel FM". This will move to 97.2 (Lower Rataroa)
96.6 - Raglan Community Radio. This will move to 98.1fm (Raglan)

- Currently TRN's "Radio Hauraki" Waikato. This will move to 96.2 (Ruru).
This one is interesting, as there will need to be a co-ordinated effort between TRN and Canwest for this one. Those Coromandel FM listeners currently enjoying the program on 96.2 will suddenly be hearing the opposition's Radio Hauraki!

92.0 - Currently Canwest's "92 More FM" Waikato. This will shuffle up to 92.2 (Ruru)
This is also interesting for listeners in the Hauraki Plains and the Coromandel, as Nga Iwi FM's listeners currently enjoy their iwi station locally on 92.2 - then on April 1, 2011, 92 More FM will suddenly appear, and their iwi station will have moved to an as-yet undefined frequency.

92.5 - Currently an unused TRN frequency in the South Waikato, will move to 105.2 (Te Kawa). Maybe they'll put Radio Sport onto this FM frequency? They are on 792AM in the Waikato.

All of these are the offers from MED. You can read everything here. [pdf]

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