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August 22, 2014

Norfolk community radio station to close

Norfolk’s Wayland Radio is to cease broadcasting at the end of this week – exactly two years to the day since it launched.

Bosses at the community station have told Radio Today the decision was taken because of a lack of money in the bank and the increasing difficulty to get grants because of the public sector cuts.

The station – covering places including Watton and Swaffham had previously received funding through organisations such as Breckland Council. It had run five RSL broadcasts over a period of three years prior to being awarded a full-time community radio licence by Ofcom.

As with the majority of community radio licences, only 50 percent of its funding is permitted to come from advertising and sponsorship.

Station Manager Dave Hatherly told RadioToday.co.uk: “Over the last few months we have found it impossible to get revenue grants to support our project, a sign of the times. With annual fees to pay and no money in the bank, we financially cannot continue.”

Dave says the team set out to provide a quality service to the area, to challenge the established radio stations and show that local radio can be provided in a different way. He’s told us the audience haven’t really grasped the idea that they’re not “commercial” and run by a talented team of volunteers – itself a measure of the station’s success.

He added:”The reality is that we live in a bankrupt world and radio is a luxury. We’ve not ruled out having another go in three years or so, when the world may be a different place, but at the moment the world can’t afford community grants. I think we will be the first of many community stations to close as community radio is something that is unaffordable in this current financial climate.”

Posted on Monday, August 22nd, 2011 at 9:19 am by .

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  • Sounds105

    This is very sad. Community radio has filled many gaps in the radio market but I can understand the situation. How can you fund a station? Any comments anyone

  • Pete_beatlesandbeyond

    sad, especially as community radio offers a viable alternative to the crass ‘pap’ and repetition of uninteresting so called ‘music’ that the commercial stations seem to think we want

  • RadioGaGa

    So when are Ofcom going to relax the hugely restrictive no advertising rule for community stations when there is upwards of 60% commercial station coverage in the area? 

    Many of these commercial stations are anything but truly local so why not let community stations advertise local businesses in order to improve and actually fund themselves? The decision to allow commercial radio groups to broadcast into an area rather than the need to reside in that area, enabling one signal to be fed to all stations in a given group, seemed to happen quickly enough. Maybe a similar urgency can be applied to removing the no advertising for community stations rule.

  • RadioGaGa

    So when are Ofcom going to relax the hugely restrictive no advertising rule for community stations when there is upwards of 60% commercial station coverage in the area? 

    Many of these commercial stations are anything but truly local so why not let community stations advertise local businesses in order to improve and actually fund themselves? The decision to allow commercial radio groups to broadcast into an area rather than the need to reside in that area, enabling one signal to be fed to all stations in a given group, seemed to happen quickly enough. Maybe a similar urgency can be applied to removing the no advertising for community stations rule.

  • Paul France

    Sadly this is the way many more community radio stations will go in the future, unless the restrictions on advertising are lifted.

    I have written to No. 10 and the Culture Secretary, in both instances I received a generic letter in reply, acknowledging the financial pressures that Community Radio stations face and the regulations will be revisited in the next review of the industry in September.

    I understand and fully endorse keeping the unique nature of community radio, but do not believe that financial restrictions are the way to do it.

    Community radio stations have many costs similar to the Commercial sector (transmitter sites, Ofcom licences, PRS and PPL) and have to broadcast a similar number of hours of live programmes.

    What Community Radio stations provide are opportunities for young people to gain skills in areas such as media production, journalism and IT. They are a seed bed for a new generation of broadcasters, journalists and new and up coming local bands.

    I’m a big believer that the commercial sector and the BBC should work with an independent Community Radio sector to ensure the continuation of these opportunities.

  • Oasis66

    The biggest problem for community stations is service area. Yes I take the point on advertising BUT radio adds do not work even on ILR. Community radio in most cases does best  out of the community if the members put the work in and don’t just play at radio stations. Most listeners find community radio difficult to tune in on a cheap tranny and are not prepared to either install aerials or get a better set. Usually they are 100kHz away from a higher powered transmitter which all makes me think whats the point. Would be good to get a point of view from a operator

    • RadioGaGa

      Sorry I can’t grasp your point. 

      Advertising on all community stations would at least give them the opportunity to fund themselves. Thankfully it appears the issue is being raised at government level so let us hope that enabling advertising will at least offer hard pressed community stations the ability to explore advertising revenue income.Regarding the point on “cheap trannies” just isn’t valid. Here in Devon the listening public have been totally robbed of their several locally based commercial station and are now subject to a diet of largely London based production and presentation. Such is the power of huge media corporations over Ofcom policy decisions it seems. So what you are suggesting is that people with a small transistor radio will only ever listen to strong nationally produced signal?That said the many many people of Devon are still without what they have had taken away, true locally based radio that features locally based events and bears relevance to their lives, not some limited playlist pretending there is more variety presented by C & D list ‘celebs’ who have little prior experience in radio presenting.Give the people choice and allow a level playing field for both community and commercial stations with equal advertising rights. Community stations will never get the same area of broadcasting/TSA so the commercial stations still get to broadcast to the lions share of any given area.Total voluntary input is commendable, but in the real world one cannot possibly offer totally professional news gathering, presenter rosters and the ability to attend local events to both promote the station and the events itself without some income.On top of all this I have spoken to many businesses who would definitely consider advertising on a truly local station, but would never advertise with the corporation based stations pretending to be ‘local’ because their rate cared is geared to other large corporations not one outlet type businesses. These same local businesses also know it would be a total waste of money because no one in their area listens to the commercial stations anymore. Come on guys this is not rocket science, we are a Nation of shop-keepers not huge multi-national blue chip retailing corporations..