Last week, an indecisive me opted not to do a Station of the Week, as I couldn’t decide which station to pick. The feature returns will a special commendation to YO1 Radio in York.
YO1 Radio, licensed as a community station, broadcasts to York on 102.8 FM. Like many similar stations, the station does a brilliant job of serving the local community, both on-air, and online with a fantastic website designed by The Media Site UK Ltd (who happen to also provide hosting to the website you’re reading now).
However, the real reason the station has won Station of the Week, is the management teams response to the recent cull of local commercial radio. A number of online local stations have been launched, following a similar format to YO1 Radio.
Those that I’m aware of are:
- KL1 Radio for King’s Lynn
- RB1 Radio for Rotherham
- TX1 Radio for Doncaster and Bassetlaw
From social media posts, it is clear that many still value proper local radio, and it is great that the team behind YO1 Radio have regonised the demand.
That said, launching brand new stations in a recession is a risk, and although costs are lower by being online only, audience potential is also reduced.
I really hope the new stations are successful. It’s about time that local radio has its comeback.
This weeks station of the week is Bro Radio, based in Barry in Wales. The station currently uses two frequencies to provide a locally focused community service to the Barry and Llantwit Major areas.
The station operates a simple and straight forward schedule, but offers specialist programmes in the evenings. Music is varied with shows dedicated to 60s music, and 80s, 90s, 00s music.
I’m impressed by the quality of the website, which is clean and elegant, yet packed with all the information that could be needed, both about the station and the area it serves.
Also worth noting that the station continues to improve its transmitter set-up. The Barry transmitter had a power output increase earlier in the year, with the new Llantwit Major transmitter extending coverage further. Another transmitter is planned, to allow most (but not all) of the Vale of Glamorgan to be covered by the station.
All in all, Bro Radio is a fantastic example of a high quality community station. You can find out more about the station by visiting the Station Guide here.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.