Dublin’s Q102 on track to have radio licence renewed for 10 years

Rival expression of interest fails to proceed to application stage

Dublin’s Q102 is expected to have its licence renewed in 2020 after a rival expression of interest made for the radio service did not proceed to a full application by the October 30th deadline.

The music-based station, owned by Rupert Murdoch's Wireless Group, missed out on the fast-track licensing process often invoked by the broadcasting regulator for licence renewals after the surprise expression of interest by Punneli Technologies Limited, which has no known track record in Irish radio.

The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland said its contract awards committee would now consider the full application that was submitted by City Broadcasting Limited, trading as Dublin's Q102, at an upcoming meeting. The outcome is not expected until the new year.

The 10-year licence, which replaces one that expires in May 2020, is for a “music-based sound broadcasting service for a general audience aged 35-55 years” in Dublin.


Q102 holds a 7.2 per cent market share in the county, according to the latest figures from the Joint National Listenership Research. This makes it the fourth biggest station in Dublin, behind RTÉ Radio 1, Wireless sister station FM104 and Newstalk, and the second most popular music station behind its stablemate.

35-plus audience

"We have a proven track record over the past two consecutive licensing terms of delivering a winning feel-good formula to a loyal and engaged 35-plus audience," said station director Margaret Nelson.

“We now look forward to hearing from the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland in relation to this matter.”

At the full application stage, companies bidding for radio licences must submit detailed financial information, as well as information on their music policy, Irish language output, approach to news and other speech-based content.

Wireless Group, which is part of Murdoch's News Corp UK & Ireland, also owns Cork's 96FM and C103, Limerick's Live 95, LMFM and Belfast's U105. In the UK, it owns Virgin Radio UK, talkRadio and talkSport.

The company was previously known as UTV Media, but it sold the UTV brand along with its television business to ITV in late 2015 and adopted the Wireless name before being acquired by News Corp in 2016.

Laura Slattery

Laura Slattery

Laura Slattery is an Irish Times journalist writing about media, advertising and other business topics