FORMER Radio 1 DJ Mark Page is to launch a rival bid for the FM licence for Teesside after TFM closed its Thornaby studios.

He plans to run a trial radio station, broadcast from Teesside, before launching a serious licence bid from, Ofcom.

TFM owner Bauer Media closed the station’s offices in Teesside last month and now broadcasts the content from its Metro Radio studios in Newcastle.

Bauer has kept the TFM branding for licence reasons. It holds the FM licence for the Tees Valley area until 2025 and is allowed to broadcast from Newcastle under Ofcom rules.

But local people and businesses expressed outrage that the 30-year-old radio station, formerly known as Radio Tees, no longer had offices in the area it served.

Mr Page, who over the last 12 years has owned two commercial radio stations and run Garrison FM, the British Army radio network, said: “I’ve been working on this since the TFM move to Newcastle.

“I’m hoping that with the excellent lobbying so far, Ofcom can see there is a demand.

“It can be met with an FM licence to cover this area, which numbers around 400,000 people and that’s a sizeable audience.

“A DAB (digital) licence would be unrealistic in terms of it producing only a small audience and would be completely unviable.”

Mr Page said it was the first time the Tees Valley had been without a local commercial station broadcast from its patch since he joined Radio Tees – which later became TFM – as a Middlesbrough schoolboy in June 1975.

He said: “We have already investigated transmitter sites, studio sites and have got everything we need to do a trial or indeed full time broadcasts. We need to show Ofcom we want a station in our own area, broadcasting from the heart of it, because BBC local aside, the whole area is only served by broadcasters on Tyneside.

“Commercial radio is a unifying factor for Teesside, Hartlepool and Darlington and we certainly have the wherewithal to make it happen.”

He said it was important people let Ofcom know they wanted a local radio station, broadcast locally, and asked for lobbying to continue.