A change that I have just become aware of is the re-branding of Cuillin FM to Radio Skye, which took place in July of this year (2020).
The station broadcasts 24/7 to the Skye and Lochalsh area on FM, with a varied schedule including Gaelic programming.
The station is licensed as a commercial station, but is locally focused, and has partnerships in place with several local organisations.
Bayside Radio has begun broadcasting using DAB+ on the North West Wales multiplex. The locally focused community station is centred on the Bay of Colwyn, and broadcasts to that area on 87.7 FM.
The DAB+ version of the station uses a bit rate of 32 kbps. Albeit sound quality will be on the poor side, the station is in stereo. Only DAB+ compatible radios can access the service, labelled as Bayside N.Wales.
New community station SWU FM launched on Friday (23rd October 2020), at 5pm. The station is available on 103.7 FM in Bristol, and focuses on underground music, and I’m led to believe the initials stand for South West Underground. The station fills a gap not covered by stations in the area.
Meanwhile, Coast and County Radio has begun testing on 97.4 FM to the Scarborough area. The name of the station is familiar, as Coast and Country Radio previously broadcast on the North Yorkshire DAB multiplex. This service will be locally focused, and will provide an alternative to Greatest Hits Radio, which replaced Yorkshire Coast Radio and no longer provides any local content.
Last updated on October 19th, 2020 at 11:00 pm
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.
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 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
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.
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.
Skylark Radio is testing on 105.8 FM and 107.6 FM in Dartmoor. The website frequencyfinder.org.uk is describing the station as an experimental community station. Some clarity of what that means would be appreciated.
Salaam BCR has also started testing but on AM using the 1566 MW frequency. This station is broadcasting to the Bury area of Greater Manchester.
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.