Canary Islands start issuing new FM licenses

You may remember that the new Ley General de la Comunicación Audiovisual has created a new regulatory body to oversee TV and radio broadcasters, with the aim of closing down all pirate FM radio stations.

The law was backed to the hilt by the Canary Coalition Party (who?); they seem to have expended an awful lot of political capital in getting this law through Congress, and they were the ones who drafted the segment about forcing the closure of non-licenses radio stations. I suspect, after some investigation, that their links to local radio station media groups on the islands may have something to do with their eagerness to update the transmission laws to allow the quick closing down of pirate stations. Competition – it’s a wonderful thing.

Anyway, the Canary Government just approved the new draft local law implementing the national law (here). Again, they’re not hanging around – the LGCA only just came into law at the beginning of the month.

Radio stations will now be issued licenses good for 15 years if they meet the criteria for broadcasting, instead of the old “administrative concession”.

As I understand it, under the old system the Administration “allowed” responsible people to open a radio station. Now, it’s opened up the system and anyone can bid for licenses. No idea how many there are, or what the requirements are, but it seems the Government will be selling off the frequencies based on the demand in a certain area. You have to prove that you have the cash, expertise and knowledge to setup and run a station before bidding. Anyone without a license is taken out back and shot.

It will be interesting to see when – if- Andalucia gets round to implementing a law (or if they will just use the national one). Valencia and Catalunya are both drafting their own versions, mainly to make sure that Valenciano and Catalan stations are given priority over Castellano, as I understand it.

The industry body AERC claims that there are over 3,000 pirate radio stations in Spain – almost double the number of legal ones.

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