Station of the Week: Mearns FM

This weeks Station of the Week is Mearns FM, a locally focused community station broadcasting to North East Scotland, with a mixed format.

Using 3 FM frequencies, Mearns FM predominantly serves the Stonehaven area, but has recently joined the Aberdeen local DAB multiplex. This allows listeners from across mot of North East Scotland to access the service.

The use of DAB is perhaps now the stations strongest features, providing an alternative to the highly networked Northsound 1, and a complimentary service to local commercial station Original 106.

Few community stations broadcast on DAB, although another NE Scotland community station Waves Radio (licensed as a commercial station) is an example that already does so. Mearns FM should be commended for doing so.

As yet, there is no page for Mearns FM on the Station Guide, so for frequencies and coverage area, see the Station Directory.

FM Coverage Extensions

Three community radio stations have extended their coverage areas using FM transmitters.

Bro Radio in Wales has opened a transmitter on 100.2 FM, to serve the Llantwit Major area. I understand they have permission for a further transmitter, but are still fundraising for this.

Devon station Exmouth Air have an additional transmitter, which serves Cranbrook using the 94.6 FM frequency.

Lastly, Oxfordshire station Witney Radio have opened two new transmitters, one serving Eynsham on 105.3 FM, and the other serving Chipping Norton on 107.4 FM.

The Station Directory has been updated to reflect the new transmitters.

New Community Stations Launching Soon

Caroline Community Radio (not to be confused with similarly named Radio Caroline) is testing on 94.7 FM. The station will serve Maldon and Burnham-in-Couch in Essex.

In addition, the following stations are either about to launch, or have already launched:

  • Cross Counties Radio, so serve Lutterworth and Magna Park on 92.0 FM
  • Coast FM, to serve Coleraine on 106.4 FM.

These stations will be listed on the Station Directory once they have launched.

Funding Boost for K107 FM

Kirkcaldy community station K107 FM has received funding from the town’s Common Good Fund.

The station has been awarded £4,400, which will be used to cover some of the costs of renewing equipment and licenses. These are to cost a total of £8,800.

More on this story can be found on Fife Today.

Station of the Week: K107 FM

The fourth station of the week (and the third decided by twitter poll) is K107 FM. K107 is a locally focused community station centred on the town of Kirkcaldy in Fife.

The station broadcasts on 107.0 FM, as indicated by the station’s name, to Kirkcaldy and the surrounding area. The signal is receivable in parts of the neighbouring town of Glenrothes.

The station broadcasts 24 hours a day, seven days a week. A variety of programmes are broadcast, including specialist shows on jazz music, rock music, and country music. In addition, a comprehensive website provides local news, weather, travel, and other info.

The more specialist nature of station compliments the general programming of local commercial station Kingdom FM, which does remain locally produced. This provides a greater variety for listeners in the area, and can only be beneficial.

In short, K107 FM provides a brilliant service, and is worth of the title Station of the Week. You can find out more by visiting the station guide here.

Station of the Week: Amber Sound

Having been runner up twice in the polls, I’ve chosen to crown Amber Sound this weeks Station of the Week.

Amber Sound is a locally focused community radio station that began full time broadcasting in 2008. The station covers the Amber Valley area of Derbyshire, in the East Midlands using two FM frequencies.

Presenter led programming is carried during most times, including overnight, unlike some other community and commercial stations. A mixed format is followed, meaning talk and music programmes feature.

In addition to the on-air activities, the station maintains a comprehensive website, which is a good information resource for the local area. This includes a local business directory. Amber Sound also maintains a strong social media presence, particularly on twitter.

It is clear that Amber Sound is a well run example of a community radio station, and they are doing a great job of filling the gaps left by commercial stations in the area. Hopefully, the station is around for at least another 12 years.

You can read more about Amber Sound here.

Station of the Week: Pride Radio

The second Station of the Week, again chosen by twitter poll is Pride Radio, who like Radio Tyneside broadcast on FM to Newcastle and Gateshead, this time on 89.2 FM.

The station is aimed at the LGBT community, and also has strong focus on local aspects. There is a wide variety of presenting talent, with familiar names including former Metro Radio presenter Jonny Chambers, and former Real Radio presenter Kelly Scott.

Music is mostly a mix of pop and dance music. In addition, specialist shows include Dave’s Music Café, which plays music from film, television, and musicals.

Like Radio Tyneside, this is a station which I listen to often when within the coverage area, despite not falling into the LGBT group the station is aimed at. I like the nice balance that is struck between local aspects, LGBT aspects, and music, and the station is really enjoyable to listen to. It gives commercial stations Capital, Heart, and Metro Radio a run for their money, and is probably better than all three of them.

More info on Pride Radio can be found on the Station Guide here.

Gateway 97.8 Produces Special Documentary

Gateway 97.8, the community station broadcasting to Basildon and East Thurrock, has produced a documentary to reflect life in the stations coverage area over the past 6 months during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The documentary will air tomorrow (26th August 2020) between 3 pm and 4 pm, and will feature interviews with local people and community groups that were recorded during the lock down period.

Separately, the Gateway 97.8 has distributed free radios to isolating residents over 70. These have the had the stations frequency pre-set, enabling easy access to the station.

Station of the Week: Radio Tyneside

In the first in a new feature, I showcase a community radio station as my Station of the Week, with the first being decided through the results of a twitter poll. Radio Tyneside won ahead of Ambersound, Express FM in Portsmouth, and Mearns FM in North East Scotland. The names were the first four which popped into my head.

Radio Tyneside started life as a hospital radio station, and expanded across Newcastle and Gateshead in July 2018 on 93.6 FM, after gaining an Ofcom FM community radio license. Prior to that the service was available on AM to hospitals in Newcastle, and on Hospedia to hospitals in Newcastle and Gateshead.

Today, the station still retains an emphasis on health aspects, but also has a diverse range of programmes, including Newcastle United football commentary (commentary not available online), and specialised music programmes.

What I like about the station is the fact that is sounds professional, but doesn’t have the over polished feel that some commercial stations have. The station really cares about the community it serves, and fulfils its dual hospital and community station role very well.

You can see more info on Radio Tyneside on the station guide here.

Mearns FM

Mearns FM, the locally focused community station for South Aberdeenshire has joined the Aberdeen local DAB multiplex, extending coverage to most of Aberdeenshire.

The station first launched in 1993 as Stonehaven Community Radio, and became full time 11 years ago. The station is available in Laurencekirk on 105.7 FM, Inverbervie on 106.2 FM, and Stonehaven on 107.3 FM.

The bit rate is not yet confirmed, but the station appears to be using normal DAB, which means all DAB radios should receive the station when within the coverage area.