News

Caroline Community Radio Gets Ready for Launch

Caroline Community Radio is launching tomorrow (19th October 2020) at 6am. The station broadcasts to the Maldon District of Essex on 94.7 FM.

The station is staffed entirely by volunteers, and receives technical support from former pirate station Radio Caroline, which broadcasts to nearby Suffolk on 648 MW.

The presenter line up includes some Radio Caroline DJs, whilst music is a varied selection from the last five decades.

Update (19/10/2020): The station has now launched, and I’ve since learnt that the Radio Caroline connections extend a little further. To be clear, both organisations are independent, but Radio Caroline did offer the use of the Caroline name to Caroline Community Radio. Additionally, the Radio Caroline provides a sustaining service to Caroline Community Radio at weekends, in the form of a simulcast of online station Caroline Flashback.

Station of the Week: YO1 Radio and Sister Stations

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.

Local Radio Day – 12th October

This Monday (12th October 2020), sees the fifth Local Radio Day, a day which celebrates and promotes genuine local radio. The initiative was first started by the now defunct UKRD Group, and is now led by the Local Radio Alliance.

Various community stations are taking part, along with BBC Local Radio, and some independent commercial stations. Additionally, the Community Media Association, Community Radio Awards, and The Radio Academy are supporting the initiative.

The event normally takes place in May, but has been delayed this year by the Covid-19 pandemic.

More details can found on the Local Radio Day website at www.localradioday.co.uk

Launch Dates for New Community Stations

As previously reported, Caroline Community Radio (not to be confused with similarly named Radio Caroline) is testing on 94.7 FM. The planned launch date has now been established as 19th October 2020. The station will serve Maldon and Burnham-in-Couch in Essex.

Salaam BCR (Bury Community Radio) is set to launch on the 14th October (2020), and is targeting the Muslim community of Bury. The station is broadcasting on AM, so it is likely that there will be over-spill into other areas. It is unclear whether the station is connected to the similarly named Salaam Radio based in Peterborough.

Both stations will be added to the station directory once they are confirmed to have launched.

Hot Radio Joins DAB

Poole based community station Hot Radio has joined DAB. The station can now be found on the South Hampshire DAB multiplex, extending the coverage area of the station.

The station is using 56 kbps mono LSF. As the station is using the original DAB format, all DAB radios should receive the station.

If you are within the coverage, you may need to re-scan your DAB radio to be able to receive the station.

Station of the Week: Bro Radio

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.

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.