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Ofcom slaps Bristol radio for uncoolness

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UK regulator has issued a "yellow card" warning to GWR FM for failing to play music the kids want to hear, accusing the Bristol-based station of aiming for an older audience.

UK radio stations are licensed on the premise of appealing to a particular crowd, and providing a particular kind of content. For GWR that means locals aged under 44 and a combination of "contemporary and chart" music, which Ofcom interprets as anything recorded in the last two years.

The problem is that kids are spending their money on mobile phones and alcohol, so in the process of metamorphosis into "Heart" the radio station is accused of changing policy to appeal to a freer-spending older demographic.

Ofcom spent three days listening to GWR, and concluded that while classics are permitted to add "spice" to the mix they shouldn't make up the majority of content. But even discounting a daily feature of the station, the "Time Tunnel" broadcast daily between 9 and 10am, Ofcom found that 53 per cent of the tracks played were more than two years old - and thus outside the station remit and the stated boundaries of the "contemporary".

GWR's licence should last until 2013 at least, but unless the station gets its playlist up to date that could be radically shortened. How gnarly. ®

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