GMG Radio is currently obliged to air 45 hours of jazz music a week, but it wants to ditch the obligation in exchange for relaunching Jazz FM, the station it rebranded as Smooth in 2005, as a dedicated 24-hour jazz service on DAB.
Ofcom rejected the application on the grounds that it represented a substantial change to the character of the Smooth service and that the retention of jazz created a real point of difference between Smooth and its competitors.
GMG said it was disappointed at Ofcom's decision to reject the format change. GMG Radio group director John Simons said the company would urge Ofcom to continue lobbying the DCMS to alter legislation that does not currently link changes to analogue radio stations to proposed changes to DAB services.
He added that if legislation is changed, GMG will renew its request for a format change.
This article was first published on Media Week