Pictured from left are Presenters Mathieu De Blauwe, Jonas Van Hastel and Tom Maeckelbergh with station Manager Frederik Thomas and DJ Rudy Meyns.
On Sept. 15, Flemish Media Minister Sven Gatz announced a second batch of commercial radio stations that will be able to take part in the new frequency plan in Flanders, as part of the ongoing upgrade of the Belgian Dutch-speaking radio landscape.
Gatz announced the first group of 35 local radio stations in July. The new frequency allocation round offers room for four new commercial radio networks serving the cities and urban areas of Flanders.
Ten stations applied for a frequency, and the applications were judged by the Flemish Department of Culture, Youth and Media. Vrije Brugse Radio Omroep (VBRO) was among the stations to obtain a license. The broadcaster’s specific Dutch language and Flemish profile, along with the ambition to offer a platform for Flemish mainstream music was key to VBRO’s recognition.
Also recognized was newcomer S-Radio, operated by SBS Media, owners of Dutch-language TV stations Vier, Vijf and Zes. The broadcaster will offer a general service program with wide diversity in musical styles.
Another winner was Stadsradio Vlaanderen, owned by BG Consulting, a multinational company operating in the financial sector. The station says it aims to become an “interface” between local and national broadcasters, with an in-house news desk covering national, provincial and local news.
Hit! also received a license. Targeting a predominantly female audience, the station is operated by CFM Media, owners of the Hit FM radio network. Hit! will focus on the lifestyle and interests of active, urban women and their families.
The broadcaster says it wants to collaborate with leading printed media such as Flair, targeting the same niche market. “In view of the new license, Hit FM is changing its name to Hit!,” explained Marc Peersmans, CEO of CFM Media. “With Hit! also beginning DAB+ broadcasts in September 2018, the new name seems appropriate,” he said.
“The four new urban-network operators, which will begin the procedure to obtain a frequency from Flemish media regulator Vlaamse Regulator voor de Media in January, will increase listeners’ choice and boost the variety of programs available on Flemish radio scene,” said Gatz.