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English-language radio station loses FM licence

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English-language radio station loses FM licence
15:50 CEST+02:00
World Radio Switzerland (WRS), Switzerland's only national English-language radio station, will cease operating on the FM band as of September.

The federal government announced on Wednesday that it was releasing the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation, which owns WRS, from its obligation to further fund and operate the Geneva-based radio station.

The SBC announced last year that it was selling the FM and digital radio licences of WRS.

"In five years of operation, WRS failed to reach the Anglophone public in Switzerland," Ofcom, the Swiss broadcast regulator, said in a brief statement.

Ofcom added that WRS did not meet expectations and its contribution to its "public service" mandate was insufficient.

The government has declined to accept either of the bids for the FM licence made by WRS management or Anglo Media, a private company headed by expat entrepreneur Peter Sibley and former WRS presenter Mark Butcher.

Anglo Media has been granted the right to operate a digital radio station, according to a report on Wednesday from the WRS website.

Anglo Media currently operates Radio Frontier, an internet radio station aimed at expats in the Geneva area.

On the Radio Frontier website, Anglo Media said it would be making a statement in the "coming weeks" on the future direction of WRS.

The government's decision means that there will be no FM-frequency English language radio station in Switzerland as of September, the WRS website said. 

"It’s not clear at this point until what date WRS will broadcast in its current form on FM," the website added.

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