News

Heartland FM Launches Crowdfunding Campaign

Heartland FM has faced a drop in advertising revenue due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and as a result the community station is facing a shortfall of £25,000.

The station has launched a crowd funding campaign, to attempt to cover the shortfall, with listeners being encouraged to contribute to the service. The crowd funder is available here.

The station is charity run, and broadcasts to the Pitlochry area of Perthshire on 97.5 FM.

Forest FM Improves Coverage

Forest FM, a community station based in Verwood, Dorset has improved its coverage in Ferndown, where many of the station’s listeners are based

Although reception was already possible in Ferndown, the signal was weak. The improved coverage has been achieved using an additional transmitter for Ferndown, which broadcasts on 98.9 FM.

The existing transmitter on 92.3 FM remains, and serves Verwood.

Mighty Radio Gets Mightier

Southport community station Mighty Radio is extending its coverage area, to allow listeners to listen for longer as they commute from Southport to/from areas such as Preston, Blackpool, Wigan, and Liverpool.

The increased coverage will be achieved by increasing the power output on the existing 107.9 FM transmitter, which has been used since the station launched on FM on the 1st April 2019. The frequency was previously used by commercial station Dune FM, prior to that station entering liquidation in 2012.

The planned power output increase is double the current power output, which will dramatically increase the coverage area. The move will also benefit those within the existing coverage area, as weak spots should be eradicated.

Youthcomm Radio Joins DAB

Last updated on December 19th, 2020 at 12:28 pm

Youthcomm Radio has joined the Hereford and Worcester DAB multiplex, using 112 kbps joint stereo. This is in addition to the 106.7 FM service for Worcester and the surrounding areas.

The station is a youth orientated community radio service, playing hit music alongside local news and info. The station first launched on FM in 2008.

Update (19/12/2020): Youthcomm Radio left the Hereford and Worcester DAB multiplex on the 14th, after only a handful of days. The reason is unknown, but it could be because the transmission was a test transmission ahead of a full launch at a later date, there is a license issue which needs to be resolved, or the station has opted not to broadcast on dab.

2020 Community Radio Awards Crowned

12th December (2020) saw the winners of the 2020 Community Radio Awards crowned. The event was held by means of virtual ceremony, like many events of the year, allowing more volunteers to attend from the comfort of their own homes.

The event was hosted Sam Day from Norwich community station Future Radio, with a variety of awards handed out in categories including Volunteer of the Year, Young Person of the Year, and Specialist Music Show of the Year.

Among the highlights included Bro Radio, winning the Gold award for station of the year, with Riverside Radio winning the equivalent award for Digital or RSL* Station of the Year.

The night was also a successful one for Andover Radio presenter Luis Wyatt, who picked up two awards over the course of the evening.

The full list of winners can be found on the Community Radio Awards website.

* RSL stands for restricted service license, an Ofcom license which permits a station to broadcast on FM or MW for normally up to 28 days. These services often operate for an event or a religious festival such as Ramadan.

Ofcom License Changes

Regulator Ofcom, has extended the licenses of two community stations by five years. Cando FM, serving Barrow-in-Furness, is now permitted to broadcast until the 22nd November 2025. While Koast FM, which serves the Ashington area of Northumberland, is permitted to broadcast until 10th December 2025.

Meanwhile, The 3Gs Development Trust which had intended to provide a service to Merthyr Tydfil under Merthyr Radio name, has handed back its license award to Ofcom. This service had not commenced broadcasts, and will now not launch.

Two Community Stations to Increase Coverage Area

Beginning in West London, Punjabi station Desi Radio has been granted a power output increase to allow its existing MW transmitter. Due to an increase in steel structure buildings and electronic devices, this transmitter broadcasting to the Southall area is impacted by the ‘noise floor’ interference, which the power output increase will overcome.

Additionally, the target community served by Desi Radio has spread out to surrounding areas. The power output increase will also allow the transmitter to serve these areas. This will re-align Desi Radio with its target audience and the community it serves.

Seahaven FM, currently serving the Neahaven area, is to expand to also serve Eastbourne using a second transmitter. This will be combined with a power output increase at the current transmitter. A previous similar request for a second transmitter was rejected by Ofcom, due to a lack of contiguous coverage. However, the combination of new transmitter and power increase overcomes this hurdle.

Seahaven FM is a locally focused service, and the extension to Eastbourne means more people in the area can access local content in their area, something that commercial stations fail to provide. Additionally, the power output increase will also improve coverage for those in the existing license area.

New Volunteer Led DAB Station for Bath

Last updated on November 5th, 2020 at 09:23 pm

Update 05/11/2020: Radio Bath has launched on the Bath and West Wiltshire multiplex, using normal DAB in mono at 56 kbps. This is below standard, but may be satisfactory if there is a high proportion of speech based content.

Tomorrow (5th November 2020) will see the launch of a new volunteer led local station for Bath.

Radio Bath will be available on the Bath and West Wiltshire DAB multiplex. The transmission method is unconfirmed, and the station has not yet appeared on the multiplex. However, the multiplex has an excess of empty capacity available, so the use of DAB+ is unlikely.

The station is led entirely by volunteers, and is in the process of becoming a charity. Any profits will be invested back into the local area.

Schedule Changes at Rossendale Radio

I don’t routinely publish posts on schedule changes, but there has been a significant schedule change at Rossendale Radio worthy of a news post.

Beginning with breakfast, Pete Sweetmore returns to the station to present Valley Breakfast on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Paul Jenkins presents the show on Tuesdays and Thursdays, with this alternating arrangement being a permanent replacement for Tony Horne, who has now left the station.

Another significant change is Bob Chadwick replacing Tony Nixon on the drive time show. Tony remains at the station, but is now concentrating on his role of station manager.

Other presenters on the new line up include ex 2BR presenter Dave Metcalfe who presents The Valley Today from 11am till 3pm, and Derek Webster who presents the late show.

Rossendale Radio broadcasts on FM to the Rossendale area of Lancashire.

Further Two Community Stations Extend Coverage

A further two community stations have opened new transmitters, extending coverage and/or improving reception.

Derbyshire based Erewash Sound has added a new transmitter for Long Eaton, which is broadcasting on 103.5 FM, to compliment its existing Ilkeston 96.8 FM transmitter.

Beyond Radio now has a transmitter serving Carnforth in Lancashire, operating on 107.5 FM. The station already served Lancaster and Morecambe on 103.5 FM.