In the UK, all commercial and community radio broadcasters are regulated by OFCOM which is the independent regulator for the broadcast and communication industries.
Whilst OFCOM license and regulate FM, AM and DAB radio broadcasters, currently their remit does not include web radio stations or radio delivered by closed networks (intranet), downloads or wired speaker systems. In other words, unless you are planning on broadcasting on FM, AM or DAB you will not need a broadcast license from OFCOM for your School Radio station.
If you play any type of commercial music as part of your School Radio project you will most likely need to obtain music licenses from both of the UK music licensing bodies.
PPL is the licensing body that represents the record companies and performers, and all business or public areas in the UK must have PPL licenses if they want to play music. This includes listening to a radio in an office!
For School Radio there are potentially two different PPL music license that might apply depending on your choose broadcast method.
Broadcasting on the Web (including School Radio Player)
For schools that broadcast using the publicly using the internet (including if you use School Radio Player) then the license that is most likely to apply is the Online Radio - Small Radio Service license which costs £204.18+vat (correct at time of writing) a year and is adequate to cover almost all School Radio needs.
Broadcasting around your School Network only (i.e. not accessible outside of your school network)
For schools that want to restrict access to their School Radio station to within their school via their school network only, then a slightly different PPL music license would apply. In this scenario, the PPL Student Radio license would apply which starts from £163.00+vat (correct at time of writing).
In addition, this license also covers the use of hardwired speakers in key areas. You should check with PPL to ensure that you are covered.
Speakers in key ares (hardwired or streamed)
If you have a PPL Student Radio license (see above) then this also covers the use of hardwired speakers in key areas of your school. If you have a PPL Online Radio - Small Radio Service license for broadcasting on the web but you also want to put speaks in key areas of your school then you will need to obtain an additional Student Radio License (£163+vat) in order to cover your speaker installation.
All license fees are renewable annually.
PPL Quick Links
Please note that whilst we are happy to offer advice, we are not authorised to speak on behalf of PPL and cannot offer any music usage rights directly. We recommend that you talk to them directly to confirm the information provided.
PRS is the body which represents composers, songwriters & music publishers and collects money on their behalf from any business or organisation that uses copyright music. Just like PPL, PRS offer a small scale web radio license which is idea for School Radio. The Limited Online Music License (LOML) costs £129+vat (correct at time of writing) per year and is adequate to cover the needs of most School Radio projects. Also like PPL, the license situation may change if you play your radio station through fixed speakers so we recommend you speak to them directly before applying online.
Please note that whilst we are happy to offer advice, we are not authorised to speak on behalf of PRS and recommend that you talk to the directly to confirm the information provided.
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Information correct as of April 2015. Illustrative figures taken from PPL & PRS websites. Please contact PPL and PRS directly for definitive information.