The new phase of local radio is getting off to a disappointing start. Community Radio has been fighting for years to make its mark across the UK. But now, after just eight weeks on-air, one such project has ended due to a variety of reasons.
Chelmsford Calling, Local Radio for the Mature Listener, has closed. The community radio station targeted the over-60s and, like every CR station, could only earn fifty per-cent of its income from advertising and sponsorship.
Closure of the station was due to a variety of unknown reasons with station bosses not wanting to confirm exactly what . Ofcom has told RadioToday.co.uk that they are naturally disappointed by the decision taken to discontinue broadcasting.
The next station to close-down may well be Resonance FM — the London arts radio station supported by London Musician’s Collective and the Glass-House Trust, amongst others. They are currently running promo-trails on-air asking for at least £60k in donations to keep the station alive. If the money is not found, they will close. The station website makes no secret of the financial trouble, with an obvious link to paypal to offer instant support.
Ofcom are aware of the financial pressure facing community radio licensees. To date, the regulator has awarded over £1.2 million in grants to community radio licensees from the Community Radio Fund. The Fund is set up by government to help community radio broadcasters fund their core costs of station management and fundraising; it is administered by Ofcom.
Ofcom told us they have been asked by government to carry out a review of the new community radio sector this year. This review will cover the licensing, funding and ownership rules surrounding community radio. In particular, it will consider whether the characteristics set out in the legislation are too restrictive, and whether they could be simplified without losing the spirit of the legislation or damaging this vibrant new radio sector.
So far, over 40 community radio stations are broadcasting, with another 60+ already licenced and getting ready to launch. 87 applications from the first round of bids were rejected. Ofcom are now in the process of advertising the second round of licences, which they are doing on a region-by-region basis.
Do you work for a community radio station which is in trouble? Get in touch.
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