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Six bidders in battle for airwaves

THE battle for the right to run a local radio station for Maidstone is between six firms, the Radio Authority has announced.

The six will go head to head for the right to broadcast a mixture of news, music and talk shows on an FM band for up to eight years in the county town and surrounding villages.

Details of each of the bids have been put on public display at Maidstone Library in St Faith's Street, and the Radio Authority has invited comments on the tastes and needs of listeners in the area. A decision is expected to be announced in the spring.

The bidders are:

* Go-FM. The bid has been put in by Absolute Radio Kent Ltd and would be a mix of music, news and information aimed at an over-30s audience.

* Maidstone Live. This would be a talk and music station with local and national news, sport and entertainment run by Maidstone FM The Max Ltd.

* MLR. Maidstone Local Radio Ltd plans to have music-led programming with news focussed on the county town.

* RFM. The bid from Radio For Maidstone would include music ranging from the mid-70s to modern chart hits along with news, travel information and sport.

* Stone FM - Maidstone Community Radio. This is a bid from Dartford-based firm Starmela.co.uk Ltd.

* 20/20 - Maidstone Radio Ltd has done numerous one-month broadcasts in the county town and plans to play chart hits from the last 40 years and news focussed on Maidstone.

The Radio Authority chooses the winner by weighing up the content, financial details and community support of each bid. Comments sent in by the public can also play a part in the decision.

To have your say on the bids, write to the director of development at the Radio Authority, Holbrook House, 14 Great Queen Street, London, WC2B 5DG before Monday, March 31.

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