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Spotlight on Forest of Dean Radio – the first Ofcom community radio licence

Forest of Dean Radio is the first community radio station in the country to be issued a brand new type of radio broadcast licence.

The new five year community licences are being introduced following a two year Government pilot scheme to test out the case for Community Radio.

Groups across the country were invited to apply for the new broadcast licence in November 2004 and Forest of Dean Radio have heard today that they are the first community group in the country to be awarded the licence.

?Everyone involved is over the moon at the news.? Said Amanda Smith project co-ordinator. Station development worker Jason Griffiths agrees ?This is the result of the hard work, imagination and individual spirit of the people of the Forest.?.

Forest of Dean Radio was set up in 1995 with a 3-day Restricted Service Licence broadcast to Cinderford, coinciding with Cinderford Carnival. This was so successful a small group was set up to work with communities across the Forest of Dean district to run their own short-term broadcasts.

Between 1995 and 2002 there were 16 weekend broadcasts with over 1, 000 programmes, involving 5,000 local people.

The stations proposal for the 5 year licence was based on experiences over nearly 10 years of community radio activity including almost 3 years on air as one of the Access Pilot scheme. During that time the project has built a positive relationship with communities across the varied landscapes and distinct culture of the Forest of Dean, earned through commitment to social inclusion.

?The data provided by the OFCOM survey confirms the early stages of our ambition being recognised. We now wish to become a cornerstone of rural community radio in the UK.

We offer individuals and groups the opportunity to be involved in all aspects of running a radio station, producing programming that centres on the Forest of Dean?s history, present and future, culture, people and places, as well as informing and encouraging local responses to national and international issues and tastes.

We do not seek to duplicate any existing service but to support local people to take part in defining their own culture, debating their own issues, and celebrating their own skills and achievements.?

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