This is a page in the 'From the Archive' section of my website. This pages is not being actively updated. These pages remain on-line to provide an interesting insight into the past and to provide a reference source. All content below is as originally published on this site.

North East Manchester License: Page Four

Page Four



Date Added


Radio Authority News Release: Licence Awards 3/9/98



Oldham Evening Chronicle 4/9/98: It's Ours!



Bolton Evening News 3/9/98: Local radio verdict due today



Bury Times 5/9/98: Tower FM is taking to the air



UK Radio Group Press Release: 3/9/98: UKRD Major shareholder in Greater Manchester Winner



Oldham Advertiser: 10/9/97: Radio Dream About to Become Reaity!



Oldham Evening Chronicle 15/9/98: Chosen Radio Station Has Good Resources


Go Back to Main Index


TheRadio Authortiy issued this Press Release on September 3rd 1998, annoucing the succesful bids:

Radio Authority News Release 3 September 1998


The Radio Authority has decided that, after considering the proposals submitted by the seven applicants, it is offering a new small-scale Independent Local radio (ILR) licence on the FM (VHF) waveband for a service within north/east Greater Manchester to:

TOWER FM LTD. - 10 Harvey Street, Bury BL8 1NJ (contact: Julian Hotchkiss or Peter Weidbaum, 0161 705 2049); a fresh and lively, full service local radio station, providing 24-hour entertainment and information aimed primarily at listeners aged 25-54 throughout the Bolton and Bury area.

This licence will come into effect as soon as the successful applicant is ready to begin broadcasting.

The Authority has also conditionally awarded a small-scale FM licence within north/east Greater Manchester to:

OLDHAM FM LTD - P.O.Box 877, Oldham OL8 1US (contact: Liam Forristal, 0161 628 8787; or John Gracie, 0161 620 0006); a truly local 'full service' radio station playing a broad mix of adult contemporary and soft-rock hits from the past four decades together with the best ballads, soul and love songs, with an emphasis on meaningful local news, exciting sports, local views and local entertainment, for Oldham Metropolitan Borough and the surrounding area.

The ratification of the award is subject to Oldham FM's agreement to a minor change in its proposed equity holdings. This change is necessary because the Authority has determined that Oldham Chamber of Commerce, Training and Enterprise Ltd is a publicly funded body within the terms of the broadcasting legislation.

In June 1998, in order to enhance transparency and openness in the Authority's proceedings, Members of the authority decided in principle that they wished to make information public on why they have chosen successful applicants for licences. Members subsequently decided that they would do so from Autumn this year. The Authority will therefore be publishing its appraisal of Tower FM's licence award shortly. If Oldham FM meet the Authority's conditions, the Authority will also publish its appraisal of this licence award.


Notes to Editors:

1. The Broadcasting Act 1990 (Schedule 2 Part II paragraph 3), disqualifies publicly funded bodies from being a participant with more than a 5% interest in a Radio Authority licence other than a restricted service licensee.

2. Following the award of two local radio licences today for services within north/east Greater Manchester, there is now a total of 776.33 points in the radio ownership system (subject to review once transmission proposals have been finalised).

3. The Radio Authority is responsible for licensing and regulating Independent Radio in accordance with the statutory requirements of the broadcasting Acts 1990 and 1996. It plans frequencies, awards licences, regulates programming and advertising, and plays an active role in the discussion and formulation of policies which effect the Independent Radio Industry and its listeners.

Contact: Tracey Mullins 0171 405 7058
Press and Information Office 0171 430 2724
Out of Hours 0370 375283

The Oldham Evening Chronicle ran this front page story on 4th September 1998:


OLDHAM will have its own radio station soon.

The Radio Authority decided yesterday to grant one of the two licences for the north-east Greater Manchester area to Oldham FM.

A second licence was awarded to Tower FM, which will broadcast in Bolton.

The Oldham FM bid beat off rivals from across the area, stretching from Bolton to Tameside, including one bid in Rochdale and two bids in Tameside.
Station director Liam Forristal, from Failsworth,w as ecstatic about the bid's success - the realism of a lifelong dream - and so were the bid's backers, Hirst Kidd and Rennie Ltd, proprietors of the Oldham Evening Chronicle, Oldham Chamber and UK Radio developments Group Ltd.

[Photograph: "Broadcast Bonanza...Oldham FM directors Mr Philip Hurst, Mr Liam Forristal and Mr Bernard Stone celebrate their bid news" With Oldham Fm car and logo in front of NTL's Oldham Edge transmitter site.]



OLDHAM was gearing up to tune into radio history today - after Oldham FM won permanent permission to take to the airwaves.
The partners behind the successful bid were celebrating a Radio Authority decision to grant them an eight-year licence.
And station director Mr Liam Forristal said work had already begun to ensure that Oldham's first radio station was broadcasting full-time by Easter.
For the 29-year -old, the news is the reward of five years' work in which Oldham FM broadcast on five temporary, one-month licences.


He said: "It's marvellous. I don't have children, but I imaging this is what a new father feels like after his first child is born.
"I know life is going to get very, very much busier from here on in. We are already looking very much towards the future."
Setting up the new 24-hour station will cost Oldham FM around £300,000 for an office, studios, transport and transmitter equipment on Oldham Edge.
In addition to freelancers, the station plans to employ 12 full-time staff - including three journalists providing up-to-the minute news reports.
Mr Forristal added: "While we are backed by the Evening Chronicle, the station will be totally independent. It will not be Radio Oldham Chronicle.
"Listeners can expect the same mix of music and local news, travel and community information as before on Oldham FM - hopefully with the same presenters.
"We have won the permanent licence on what we achieved with the one-month specials. It's a winning formula, why change it?
"It will be absolutely fabulous for community groups and businesses in Oldham. We will be able to focus on all their events - live and instantly."

Mr Forristal will have a 5 per cent financial stake in the station, with a similar size holding taken up by Oldham Chamber.
Its main backers - with 45 per cent each - are Evening Chronicle publishers Hirst, Kidd and Rennie Ltd and the media group UK Radio Developments Ltd.
Evening Chronicle editor MR Philip Hurst said: "It's an exciting development for a family owned company like the Oldham Evening Chronicle.
"It will be our first step into another area of the media, and we are looking forward to being part of it immensely.
"Oldham FM will add another vital layer to life in Oldham - the greatest of all the Greater Manchester districts."
Mr John Gracie, chief executive of Oldham Chamber - who is chairman of Oldham FM - heard the news first hand: he was contacted by the Radio Authority on his mobile phone while in a meeting.


He then phoned the news back to Oldham.
He said: "We knew after the five occasions when Oldham FM operated for a month that there was a strong case and strong support for the station.
"But it was still a very competitive arena, and we have won. I am absolutely delighted. It will be great for Oldham's communities and businesses.
"I am especially pleased for Liam. He has done all the work, and it was his drive and passion which has made this all come about."

[Photograph: "Celebrating...Liam Forristal is finally wired for sound." Liam in Oldham FM's(RSL)Studios]


LIAM FORESTAL is the man behind Oldham FM, and the station director who will have the job of making it successful.

It will be the culmination of a lifelong dream for the 29-year-old Failsworth radio fanatic.
When other 12-year-old boys were out playing football, Liam invented Failsworth Bedroom Radio which broadcast by wire across the garden to his neighbour's kitchen.
He became a member of North Manchester Hospital Radio at 16, and later studied on the performing arts course at Oldham College.
After a short spell as an editor, scriptwriter and location manager at an independent television production company, he returned to radio, becoming the breakfast travel presenter for the AA Roadwatch service.
He joined Piccadilly Radio, moved on to Signal Radio, but then expanded his experience with a spell as a presenter with KEZY radio station in Los Angeles.
Back home in Oldham, he started working to make Oldham FM a reality. While holding down a job as programme Leader of Media at The Oldham College, he ran the five commercially successful, temporary, month-long broadcasts of Oldham FM from 1994-7.


The Bolton Evening News on the 3rd September ran this story:

Local radio verdict due today

THE Radio Authority was expected to announce today which company had won the licence to broadcast on the airwaves in Bolton and Bury. As reported in the BEN, a number of prospective stations have tabled bids.
Bfm Limited submitted one of the applications.
Bfm is part of the Independent Radio Group (IRG) and also includes Reach FM and Radio Bolton.
Other bids were lodged by Tower FM and Variety FM. Bfm's bid proposed broadcasting 24 hours a day to an audience aged 25-55, with contemporary soft adult music and 20-25 per cent of airtime speech.
The board of Bfm is made up of John Waters, managing director of Newsquest (Lancashire) Limited, publishers of the Bolton Evening News and Bury Times group; Laura Nuttall of Hargreaves Hamilton Group; Gerry Fitzhenry of Bolton City Challenge, Andrew Dickson of St Andrew's Travel, Radio Bolton's Simon Young, BBTEC's Mirza Hamie and Bolton JP Jim Shaw.


Friday 4th September Bury Times contained this article:

Tower FM is taking to the air

STAFF at Bury-based Tower FM popped the champagne corks yesterday (Thurs Sept 3) to celebrate the awarding of a radio broadcast licence.
The station, which has been involved in trial broadcasts since 1993, will begin a full-time service throughout the Bury and Bolton areas from next March.
They beat off challenges from six other bidders to clinch the Radio Authority licence.
Jubilant Tower FM managing director Mr Julian Hotchkiss said: "We hope to begin on March 1 and will be broacasting 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
"We have a potential audience of 270,000 throughout Bury and Bolton and we'll be recruiting 20 local people."
Commercial-funded Tower FM will broadcast what Julian describes as "classic hit music" aimed at the 25-54 age group as well as regular news bulletins and local information. The station is receiving minority backing from the Radio Partnership and has a nine-strong board of directors headed by well-known Radcliffe businessman Mr Peter Weidenbaum.
Mr Hotchkiss added: "The fact we have a wholly local board was a key to our success. Our first main task will be to determine where our premises will be. Ideally, we'd like to build studios somewhere in the middle between Bury and Bolton."
The 32-year-old managing director, a senior radio engineer who has worked for Piccadilly Radio, has been involved in the industry since the early 1980s.
Tower FM is well-known to music fans throughout Bury, having been involved in numerous trial broadcasts during the last five years.


The UKRD Group issued this press release on September 3rd:


For the third time this year UKRD Group Ltd, has been part of a consortium awarded another licence by the Radio Authority - this time for a radio station which will broadcast to over a quarter of a million adults in Oldham and the surrounding area north-east of Manchester.

The radio station will be jointly owned by UKRD Group and the Oldham Evening Chronicle which will each own 42.1% of the company. The Oldham Chamber of Commerce will own 15.8%. The application for the licence was masterminded by UKRD Group's radio consultancy arm, Infinity Radio Ltd - both companies are based at Dolphin House in North Street, Guildford.

The win in Oldham follows earlier radio licence wins this year in Gloucestershire and South East London. In November last year the group also won a licence to broadcast to East London - that radio station went on air in May. UKRD Group already owns three radio stations Surrey, two in Hampshire, one in the Westcountry, and one in Berkshire. It also has investments in other radio-related companies. Last year in sold minority interests in radio stations in Manchester and Yorkshire, netting £5.3 million which it promised it would be earmarking to invest in other radio licences.

Chief Executive of UKRD Group and the County Sound Radio Network, Mike Powell, said: 'This is yet more excellent news for our company and its talented team. We have built a terrific portfolio of radio stations over the last six years and we have many more projects in the pipeline.'

(Further information from Mike Powell on 01483 306156)


The Oldham Advertiser of Thursday 10th September included this story:


OLDHAM's new radio station bosses say now they've got a license they're here to stay.
Bosses of Oldham FM say they've done their homework and there's a niche for a radio station dedicated to Oldham.
They were given the go-ahead to broadcast by the Radio Authority this week. For station chiefs it's the culmination of five years' work to get the station off the ground.
Board Chairman, Oldham Chamber chief, John Gracie said he was "trilled to bits" to get the license.
"All the pilots have been successful and profitable and we're confident it can be a commercial success," he said
Station director Liam Forristal said Oldham FM hopes to be on air 24-hours a day, 365 days a year from Easter. Liam said that local content would be their winning formula.
Liam said that the station hope to hang onto their Spindles
[shopping centre] base, but will defiantly stay in the town centre. They will have a 12-strong full-time staff plus freelance workers.
As well as news. Oldham FM promises a broad mix of music, sport and entertainment.

[Photograph: "Celebrating: Station director Liam Forristal of Oldham FM"]


The Oldham Evening Chronicle 15th September 1998:


THE Radio Authority revealed today why it has chosen to let the Chronicle-backed Oldham FM hit the local air-waves.
The body is published details of its broadcast license decisions for the first time, in a bid to boost the transparency and openness of the process.
In its report, the RA said it had been impressed by the board of Oldham FM - one of the two stations to win small scale licenses in north-east Greater Manchester.
It said the directors "combine strong local knowledge, business experience and a solid understanding of the media generally, and radio in particular."


The RA felt the bid had a sound business plan, supported by research and documentary evidence of the local demand and support for the new station.
And it considered the station had a good understanding of the local population, with a "sensible and popular music format with a strong community focus".
The RA said it was also impressed by Oldham FM's plans for local news - with three full-time journalists supported by access to resources at the Chronicle.
But the RA revealed that, before agreeing to grant a license, it had asked for changes to the financial stakes held in Oldham FM.
It said, as a publicly - funded body, Oldham Chamber must not own more than 5 per cent of the station, despite original plans for it to have 15 per cent.


Main Index