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BRUSSELS — Belgium’s Flemish government last week announced the winners of three five-year “national” FM licenses for the Flanders region. Qmusic, Joe and Nostalgie are the victors. The fourth contender, a new entry called “Spring,” which is the brainchild of Studio 100 Group, was not so lucky.
Last year, the Flemish government decided not to automatically extend the FM licenses for Joe, Qmusic (both operated by DPG Media) and Nostalgie (owned by Mediahuis), opening the market to other players.
In October, Studio 100 decided to apply for one of the three frequency packages with Spring. The company has a strong media backbone and launched the Radio Vlaanderen digital platform and five thematic channels last autumn.
Media Minister Benjamin Dalle revealed the results on Feb. 9 in what he called a “beauty contest.” Based on different parameters, Qmusic won with 94%, Joe with 92% and Nostalgie, 80%. Spring came in last with 75%.
“We are very disappointed with the decision because we are convinced that we submitted a strong, innovative application,” said Hans Bourlon CEO of Studio 100 Group. “We plan to analyze the results and decide on our next move. Launching a new, digital-only station (streaming and DAB+) without the support of FM broadcasts “is not economically viable,” he added.
Tom Klerkx, Nostalgie’s managing director is happy with the results. “We’ve been working extremely hard with our team: New studio’s, new on-air talent and big leaps ahead in the field of digitization and communication were the basis for Nostalgie’s market position. Our strength is a combination of music and information and I’m thrilled we were awarded the new license,” he said.
“The fact that an independent jury opted for this decision is nice and puts our 20 years of hard work in perspective,” commented Michael Dujardin, Qmusic channel manager.
“It’s also a consolidation of our plans to further digitize our services. New channels and streams will broaden our horizon, while podcasts and audio on demand will expand our content. We have been able to pioneer radio into a digital future, but the ‘megaphone’ of FM broadcasts remains crucial.”