While local television has proved a flop community radio is proving popular.
Ofcom announced the award of three new community radio licences in England, and one in Scotland. The new stations will serve communities in Edinburgh, Melksham in Wiltshire, Thornbury in Gloucestershire and Wimborne Minster, East Dorset.
Community radio services are provided on a not-for-profit basis, focusing on the delivery of specific social benefits to a particular area or community of interest and with commercial radio becoming more and more nationalised across the ‘local’ stations it seems community broadcasting is becoming a local alternative with currently more than 290 community radio stations are currently on air.
The four new community radio licences have been awarded to Radio Melksham (Radio Melksham Limited), Melksham, Wiltshire. This station will be a local radio service for the community of Melksham and the surrounding area. It is run by volunteers from the local community and offer training in broadcasting skills.
Radio Wimborne (Radio Wimborne Limited), Wimborne Minster, East Dorset will provide local news and content for the people of Wimborne Minster and neighbouring towns and village. The station will highlight community issues and provide training and support for young people interested in media.
Sam Radio (SAM Radio Limited), Edinburgh will serve Edinburgh’s Asian community with an interactive service of entertaining, informative and educational programmes, broadcasting in Hindustani, Punjabi and Arabic.
While Thornbury Radio (Thornbury Media Community Interest Company) Thornbury, Gloucestershire is to launch to provide a radio service for the residents of Thornbury with local information and news and opportunities to reduce social isolation and make new friends.
However not every submission has been successful with Bux FM, (South Bucks & Uxbridge Broadcasting Ltd), the South Bucks District and the north-west part of the London Borough of Hillingdon, unable to be granted a licence due to Ofcom being unable to find a suitable FM frequency for the service.
The regulator also confirmed two applications had been rejected. These were East Coast Radio which would have covered Grimsby, Cleethorpes, Mablethorpe, Sutton-on-sea, Trusthorpe, Chapel St Leonards, Ingoldmells and Skegness and LCR a submission from Leicester Community Radio Broadcasting that would have provided coverage to Lutterworth and surrounding villages.
The licences are awarded for a five-year period.
While local radio in this format thrives the local TV services such as Made Television and That’s TV have dropped virtually all regional content and provide a limited basic ‘features news’ service. The failure of the TV offerings has been put down to small area coverage, amature production values and, unlike their stateside counterparts, poor/slow news coverage.