A new station every 10 days

A new community radio station has launched, on average, every ten days in the UK, according to Ofcom's latest report.

There are now 181 community stations on-air, with a further 30 preparing to launch. 171 of these are in England, 18 in Scotland, 13 in NI and nine in Wales.

The Community Radio Annual Report reveals a flourishing sector, available on an analogue platform to around 11 million people, Ofcom says.

The 72 page document lists everything from programming highlights to financial details. In 2009/10 the average (mean) station’s income was around £74,500. The median figure, the mid-point in the distribution of station’s income, was considerably lower at £44,500. This is because a small number of stations are earning significantly more than the majority.

Almost half of stations that returned a financial annual report were in deficit.

Ofcom Chief Executive, Ed Richards, said: “The Community Radio Annual Report provides an encouraging picture of the state of community radio in the UK. In general, it’s been a challenging few years for the radio sector. Community radio has shared these challenges. Despite this, it continues to deliver local content and other community benefits. It is a genuine success story, and a great credit to the thousands of volunteers and enthusiasts that make it happen.”

In addition to the 228 licensed stations over two rounds, 17 have either decided not to launch or have handed their licence back, largely to due to funding problems. Ofcom is currently considering whether there will be a third round of community radio licensing.

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