Radio in Northern Ireland

Commercial radio licences are awarded by government body Ofcom, which advertises a licence for a specific area and holds a contest to determine which station will be granted permission to broadcast in that area. Stations submit detailed application documents containing their proposed format and the outcome of research to determine the demand for their particular style of broadcast. Most commercial stations broadcast to a city or group of towns, or regional stations covering larger areas. Many local and regional radio stations are owned by large radio groups which broadcast a similar format to many areas. The largest operator of radio is Global Radio which bought the former media group, Gcap Media. It owns Classic FM and London’s most popular commercial station, 95.8 Capital FM. Other owners are Bauer Radio and UTV Radio, which mainly own stations that broadcast in highly populated city areas.

Listening outside the UK
Since 2006, many of the UK’s commercial radio stations have been restricting live stream access to users from the United Kingdom only. This came as a response to PPL’s announcement that they would only grant radio stations the webcasting rights to stream to audiences within the UK only, or to face additional costs. Stations marked ‘UK only’, are restricted to UK IP addresses, those marked ‘Use UK Postcode’, will require you to type in a UK postcode to listen.

Cool FM (UK only)
Various, see website
Downtown Radio (UK only)
Northern Ireland
Various, see website, DAB 12D
Newry (Community Radio)
101.4 FM
Belfast (Irish language Comm. Radio)
107.1 FM
Northern Ireland
97.4 FM, DAB 12D
Northern Ireland
Various, see website
U105 (Use UK postcode)
105.8 FM
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