With the launch of private terrestrial radio broadcasting in Austria (which also marked the start of Austrian private broadcasting in general), the regulation of private broadcasting was also established: In January 1994, the Regional Radio Act (RRG) went into effect, and the regional Radio Authority subsequently issued the first regional radio broadcasting licenses. Since then, the legal bases of regulation, the structure of the regulatory authorities for broadcasting, and especially the private radio broadcasting landscape in Austria have changed dramatically.
Radio broadcasting based on analog terrestrial transmission technologies (specifically FM radio in the 87.5 to 107.9 MHz range) still requires a license, especially as it is necessary to allocate scarce frequency resources (transmission capacities) among multiple applicants.
The frequency spectrum for FM radio in Austria is quite densely populated, and there is currently no space available for very large coverage areas. As a result, radio licenses are generally put out to public tender once the ten-year validity period of existing licenses has passed or when a license becomes available for other reasons (e.g., relinquishment or revocation). In cases where interested parties identify additional frequencies, they are first subjected to a technical review by KommAustria. If this review shows that it is technically feasible to use the frequencies, they are generally put out to public tender for period of at least two months, during which any interested party can submit an application for a radio license or for the allocation of the frequencies in connection with an existing license. Where multiple applications are received, the license is generally issued by way of a selection procedure which mainly serves to identify the radio station most likely to ensure a greater diversity of opinions in the medium.
Moreover, new frequencies can also be allocated to existing radio broadcasters in order to improve or expand their coverage areas. In this context, the allocation procedure is generally treated in the same way as a new license, thus enabling the authorities to determine the most suitable applicant on the basis of applicable legal criteria in these cases as well.
For more information, please refer to the following sections of the RTR web site: