Gays bid for radio licence

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Britain's gay and lesbian community could have its first radio station next year, if plans to apply for the last Greater London FM licence are successful.

The franchise for 104.9 FM is up for grabs with a July deadline set by the Radio Authority, which says it is likely to be the last FM licence for Greater London that it will offer.

Two gay groups are vying to land the prestigious franchise.Both were originally from the team which ran Freedom FM, which made two month-long "restricted licence" broadcasts aimed at gays and lesbians on a London wavelength last year.

But Richard Walker, a researcher and adviser, and Matthew Walter, a presenter, fell out with the others. They have since set up Zone Radio and are making their own bid for the licence.

If either one wins, it will become Britain's first gay station, and the world's sixth. Zone estimates there are 500,000 gays in Greater London.