In an unprecedented move, German media authority Landesanstalt fur Rundfunk Nordrhein-Westfalen (LfR) has refused a licence to proposed German cable channel TV.NRW 1.

LfR spokesperson Peter Widlock said the authority was concerned about the channel's budget, which was cut from $23-46m (DM50-100m) to $11.5m (DM25m) one day before its decision. Another more serious problem was the channel's intention to split programming at certain times to day, to cater for local advertising markets, a practice currently forbidden in Nord Rhine Westfalia.

The proposed channel's three shareholders, which include the Kirch group, have all resubmitted their applications separately, agreeing to a higher budget and compliance with existing laws. The three partners already have satellite licences for the region, but cable has far greater penetration.