Feeds

Community Radio: On the wavelength of hopeless dreams

New players crowd in to set up hobbyist stations

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

Community radio stations are having a tough time. They are restricted in their advertising and dependent on rapidly diminishing grants, but that's not stopped another 30 from applying for licences.

All of the applications are in for round three of the Community Radio licences, from groups which reckon they can make a go of running a local radio station – despite the fact that existing stations are having a hard time keeping their airwaves filled.

Community Radio broadcasts at low power over an area around 10km across. They aren't allowed to take more than half their revenue from advertising, or run any advertising at all if the area has a competing commercial operation. That makes them entirely reliant on volunteers, grants and charity, all of which are in short supply these days.

Ofcom lists 209 such stations currently operating in the UK, though that list includes Wayland Radio, which will be going off the air Saturday evening having run out of cash. Wayland has been on the air for the last half-decade, but: "Over the last few months we have found it impossible to get revenue grants to support our project – a sign of the times," the station told RadioToday, which puts the number of currently broadcasting stations at just under 200.

Some stations are entirely reliant on grants and charitable gifts, as they operate within the coverage of a commercial station. Takeover Radio – which covers Sutton-in-Ashfield and isn't permitted to run any adverts at all – reckons it has applied for more than £100,000 in grants but has only received £1,300, from the local Country Council, which isn't enough to keep it on the air.

These stations don't attract large audiences, in fact they try to avoid counting listeners at all as this rarely helps in conversations with potential advertisers.

"Advertisers spend money on community radio because they believe it’s an investment in their community, an investment that will improve the quality of life for their customers and employees," suggests Community Radio consultant Henry Loeser, though it seems businesses are increasingly reluctant to think in the long term these days.

The UK government does provide some cash, awarded by Ofcom as the Community Radio Fund. This year the first round saw 67 applications, of which 16 got an average of £15,000 each and the rest got nothing: there'll be a second round in November, of a similar scale. Ofcom only decides who gets the cash, the money is supplied by the Ministry of Fun who decides how much to spend.

It's not a lot of money, and Ofcom admits it is impressed that anyone manages to run a station at all, but reminded RadioToday that the 50 per cent cap on funding from advertising is a Parliamentary matter and therefore not something the regulator can change.

The reality is that many Community Radio stations are run as clubs for people who want to make radio rather than services of value to the community, and as a result deserve little in the way of government funding. They present an interesting model of what Local TV might be like in another decade or so. ®

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

More from The Register

next story
BBC: We're going to slip CODING into kids' TV
Pureed-carrot-in-ice cream C++ surprise
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
Twitter: La la la, we have not heard of any NUDE JLaw, Upton SELFIES
If there are any on our site it is not our fault as we are not a PUBLISHER
Facebook, Google and Instagram 'worse than drugs' says Miley Cyrus
Italian boffins agree with popette's theory that haters are the real wrecking balls
Sit tight, fanbois. Apple's '$400' wearable release slips into early 2015
Sources: time to put in plenty of clock-watching for' iWatch
Facebook to let stalkers unearth buried posts with mobe search
Prepare to HAUNT your pal's back catalogue
Ex-IBM CEO John Akers dies at 79
An era disrupted by the advent of the PC
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?