The town, best known for its record-breaking pier and the flash cars cruising along its promenade, will be latest in a massive programme by Ofcom to create new FM licences across the UK, a scheme it inherited from the Radio Authority in 2004.
The new Southend licence is expected to have the potential for between 200,000 and 250,000 adult listeners, when it is eventually awarded in 2006.
The winning bid will also have the prospect of wooing advertisers form one of the most lucrative retail corridors in the country, with both the Lakeside and Bluewater shopping centres within miles of Southend.
The Southend licence will be the closet to London so far out of the new FM licences unveiled by Ofcom.
The closing date for bids is 12 January 2006.