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Latest Community Radio awards

Ofcom has awarded five new community radio licences to groups in Northern Ireland and Scotland. They are Drive FM (Derry/Londonderry), Aldergrove and Antrim FM (Aldergrove and Antrim), Ballykinler FM (Ballykinler, County Down), Holywood FM (Holywood, County Down) and Speysound Radio (Badenoch & Strathspey).

Ofcom received 24 applications for Northern Ireland and Scotland, with the first six licence awards made on 8th May, a further five on 12 June, and it is anticipated that the remainder of the applications received from applicants wishing to serve localities in Scotland and Northern Ireland will be considered by Ofcom in July.

Full details of each service are listed below direct from the Ofcom website.

[b]Drive FM (Derry/Londonderry) [/b]

This service will aim to act as a voice for the community of Derry/Londonderry and forward the cause of good community relations. The application was from a long-established group with a good range of experience, for example, of broadcasting in the area, charity fundraising, community relations and finance (section 105(1a)). The service will include local and community news, as well as opportunities for discussion and the expression of opinion through discussion shows and interviews (1b and 1e). The application had the support of an impressive range of local and national organisations (1d). It intends to provide a forum for divided communities to meet and discuss contentious issues, and create a sense of common purpose in the community (1e).

[b]Aldergrove and Antrim FM (Aldergrove and Antrim) [/b]

This station will provide a service for British soldiers, sailors and airmen, and their families at RAF Aldergrove and the Masereen Barracks in Antrim. The station will be owned and operated by a company based at RAF Aldergrove, and already has studios and equipment in place (1a). It will provide a service unique to Aldergrove and Antrim for a few hours a day, and also carry some programmes from the Forces community radio service based at BFBS Lisburn (1b). Output will be tailored to the target community and include forces-specific news, garrison news and welfare support (1b and 1e). It will broaden the range of services available in the area, and have content which is distinct from that provided by commercial radio broadcasters in the area (1c). An education and training programme will be available for station volunteers (1e and 1g).

[b]Ballykinler FM (Ballykinler, County Down) [/b]

This service is for the British forces personnel stationed at or working at the Ballykinler Barracks, and their dependents. The applicant group is based at Ballykinler, and is under separate ownership to those operating the services at Holywood and Aldergrove and Antrim (1a). The group already has a studio in place in the barracks and experience of providing a service to this target community via a long-term restricted service licence (LRSL) (1a and 1b). The service would clearly broaden choice in the area by providing a forces-focussed service of forces and garrison news as well as welfare information of relevance to the target community (1b and 1c). A community liaison body will be set up, and regular audience research will help to ensure accountability to the target community (1f).

[b]Holywood FM (Holywood, County Down) [/b]

This is a service for British Forces personnel and their families at the Holywood Barracks in County Down. The group has relevant experience through operating a radio service at Holywood, and access to appropriate support services at BFBS (1a). It has a clearly identified target community which will enjoy output tailored to its informational and welfare needs (1b and 1e), and which offers a service which broadens radio choice in the area (1c). Training will be provided for volunteers and work placements and work experience will be provided in conjunction with local schools, colleges and youth projects (1e and 1g).

[b]Speysound Radio (Badenoch & Strathspey) [/b]

Speysound Radio will provide a community radio service to the residents of, and visitors to, Badenoch and Strathspey. Since 1995 the applicant group has been providing some community output as an ‘opt out’ service on one of MFR’s transmitters (1a). Therefore it already has studios in place, as well as sufficient funding for transmission equipment (1a). It has a strong local board with a range of experience and a clear structure in place (1a). It plans to increase its output from current levels, with a service focussing on community news and information, social action broadcasting and so on, which will broaden choice against MFR which covers a far wider area (1b and 1c). Good evidence of support has been provided (1d), and the group already has good community links (1e).

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