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AIRCHECK is intended to be of use to everyone - inside or outside of the radio business. Therefore, to aid with understanding abbreviations which may be included in this site, this page is intended to cut through what may be construed as 'jargon'. If there is still something you've seen on the site that does not have a reference on this page then please e-mail email@example.com to be personally informed and for amendments to be made to this page. If you have accessed this page via an in-page link rather than the home page, and wish to return to where you were, please hit the 'BACK' button on your browser.
AM = Today's term for what used to be Medium Wave - stations such as Virgin, Five Live & Commercial Gold & BBC local stations use AM
ANALOGUE = A term used to describe radio services heard on conventional radio bands FM(VHF), AM(MW), SW & LW (Short/Long Wave). Analogue licences last for eight years at a time and are readvertised, re-awarded or awarded to a new successful applicant shortly before each licence expires and after appropriate procedures are invoked by the regulatory body. An applicant must satisfy the Radio Authority's criteria for holding such a licence - these are wide and far ranging and cost a significant amount of money.
DIGITAL = A term used to describe radio services heard on a higher quality network of stations. A digital network has to carry the local BBC station under terms of the 1996 Broadcasting Act but otherwise, a bidder can accept applications from existing analogue services and can also carry services that are not currently heard on any other platform/network/service locally. Digital licences are usually won by a consortium of existing analogue licence holders. Digital licences are awarded for 12 years - to date, none have been readvertised due to the new format. An applicant must satisfy the Radio Authority's criteria for holding such a licence - these are wide and far ranging and cost a significant amount of money.
FM = Frequency Modulation - today's term for vHf - refers to stations such as Radios 1 to 4, BBC local & Commercial Pop stations use FM.
IBA = Independent Broadcasting Authority - forerunner of the Radio Authority responsible for handing out early television and radio licences
ILR = Independent Local Radio - refers to Commercial Radio and despite the radio companies dumbing down of the term to 'Independent Radio', this term is still used by the Radio Authority. The term 'ILR' was first used in 1973 when the first commercial radio stations, London's LBC & Capital Radio came on-air.
IRR = Independent Regional Radio - refers to Commercial Radio which covers a larger area than ILR, usually several counties or an entire region or county. Examples are 100.7 Heart FM (West Midlands), Real Radio (Various) & Galaxy (North West & North East).
OFCOM = Future broadcast regulator which is set to replace the Radio Authority by the end of 2003. The acronym stands for the 'Office Of Communications'. OFCOM is due to take control of all parts of the UK communications business, particularly television and radio licensing.
Promise Of Performance = This forms part of the content of a station's licence application to the Radio Authority, where it 'promises' to keep to certain standards, such as levels and types of speech content, styles/genres/eras of music played, how much programming is actually broadcast from the locality, etc. Less reference has been made to these licence inclusions over recent years, and there have been many, sometimes successful, campaigns by stations to get them changed or dumbed down for various reasons.
RA = Our abbreviation for the UK Radio Industry's Governing Body - the Radio Authority.
RSL = Restricted Service Licence - a short-term licence awarded by the Radio Authority - can be applied for an operated up to twice per year by a licence holder under current broadcast legislation. They are most popularly run for the maximum period allowed per broadcast of 28 days, although shorter periods are also licenced. They are designed to be used for trial services, i.e. those which may assess the viability of a format or service, or to cover a special event, i.e. festivals, local celebrations, sports events, concerts, exhibitions. An FM licence from the Radio Authority currently costs £2,250 per 28 day broadcast and would use the 87.7-87.9 FM - the part of the FM spectrum set aside for these broadcasts, although applicants can request to use others - 106.4-106.6FM have been popular in the past. An applicant must satisfy the Radio Authority's criteria for holding such a licence - these are wide and far ranging. A licence holder would have to also pay for further licences to copyright and music protection companies to play music. These can be as much as £2,000 between them for a 28-day broadcast.
SALLIE = An acronym for 'Small-scale alternative local licence' and refers to commercial radio stations that cover a smaller area as opposed to a county wide station. They were designed by the Radio Authority to offer a wider listener choice and to reach a more targeted audience. Examples of 'SALLIES' are Kick FM (Newbury), Centre FM (Tamworth, Lichfield & Burton), Oak 107 (Loughborough), and 107.7 The Wolf (Wolverhampton). SALLIES usually use a frequency of 107.0 FM or above. As with other local commercial radio stations, licences run for eight years at a time.
Simulcasting = Carriage of the same radio service on two frequencies: FM (VHF) & AM (MW): common in the commercial radio industry up until the late 80s to early 90s when the broadcast regulator at the time, the IBA, concluded it would no longer be considered reasonable for stations to do this, and therefore instructed stations to use the frequencies to provide different services, or lose them. As a result, AM frequencies became the home of GOLD stations - such as GEM AM, Capital Gold, XTRA-AM, Great North Radio.
STRAPLINES = A catchphrase, used when a station identifies itself on-air - it usually refers to the station's style or music policy. Some of these are used to annoying and over-repetitive extents, whilst others are subtle and less intrusive amongst presentation styles.
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