New Forest station could close in weeks
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New Forest station could close in weeks

Another community radio station has said it needs funding urgently to avoid shutting down and going off the air.

The Park, which broadcasts from Lymington in Hampshire on 96.9FM, is appealing to local businesses and residents to help save the station.

The station’s parent not-for-profit company – New Forest Community Media CIC – is blaming the current financial climate for struggling to raise the £20,000 a year needed to run the station.

Cat Lake, Managing Editor and Founder, said: “If funding isn’t secured by the end of May then the station will be forced to cease broadcasting and this valuable community resource will be lost. A great deal of time and energy has been invested in this project over the last five years and I feel let down by the District Council, who were meant to have supported us both financially and practically, resulting in us having to launch with a less than adequate transmitter system and a greater struggle to raise our profile locally.”

The station has been running as an online stream since April 2009 and went on FM at the end of March 2011 after being awarded a five-year community radio licence from Ofcom in September 2009.

The Park says it was promised £8,000 in investment from the local council, provided it secured the award of an FM licence back in 2009, but only a quarter of that funding has been received.

Vivian Reid, The Park’s Development Manager, added: “Currently the station has no paid members of staff and no budget to reimburse volunteers for their expenses. As a community organisation we had hoped that support would have been forthcoming from local groups such as Lions and Rotary Clubs, however, this has been extremely limited with the exception of New Milton Round Table – whose members have the foresight to understand the potential for partnership working to support vulnerable people in the local area. We would like to assure our on-line listeners that, should we be left with no alternative but to close the project down, it is the intention of Cat’s and my to retain an on-line service in some form – possibly as a private concern –
for those that enjoy some of the popular programmes. In addition to which we aim to continue supporting the local community through our local news website and other productions.”

Community radio stations around the UK have been struggling because of cuts to public spending over the last two years and the increasing difficulty to secure other funding. Most stations aren’t allowed to source more than 50% of funding from advertising and sponsorship and have to match commercial income with grants, donations and volunteer time. Some community stations are not allowed to have any commercial income at all.

Recent closures of stations include Cheshire FM, Rossendale Radio and XS Wales.

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0 12 1798 22 May, 2012 Community Radio News, Industry News 12:14 pm 20125 Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012

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