Four new community stations awarded by Ofcom

Ofcom has today announced the award of four new community radio licences in England, Scotland and Wales.

The new stations will serve communities in Shaftesbury, Dorset in England; Shotts in Lanarkshire, Scotland; Merthyr Tydfil in South Wales; and Towyn, Conwy, in North Wales.

Alfred will provide a service for the community of Shaftesbury and the surrounding rural area, and has been set up by Radio Scilly founder, and former Town and Country Broadcasting Director Keri Jones.

Listen Lanarkshire will work with local partners including schools, youth groups and sports clubs to provide a service for the ex-mining communities of Shotts and surrounding villages.

Merthyr Radio will focus on life in the Merthyr area and will work with local businesses. It will provide an inclusive local radio service for people in the Merthyr Tydfil County Borough area.

And Sound Radio will run a locally-focussed service which will include some Welsh language programmes. It is for the communities of Kinmel Bay & Towyn, Abergele, Rhyl and surrounding towns and villages in the Vale of Clwyd.

Speaking to RadioToday, Keri Jones explains more about how Alfred will sound different to any other radio station in the area: “We’re delighted that Ofcom has shown faith in our plans to operate a game-changing local, speech-based service with programming centered on a daily 30-minute Shaftesbury news magazine.

“We’ve enjoyed a high level of community engagement with our daily local news podcast over the last 18 months. We’re convinced that Alfred can best serve the 15,000 people in our small Dorset town and villages as a service of Shaftesbury information, features and stories. Especially since our locally-based newspaper, a monthly title, folded last month.

“All of our unique content will be available on-demand and as podcasts. We will be able to broadcast live, but we’re not basing our plans around traditional linear broadcast models. A tiny community radio station will never have the resources to effectively compete with exceptional programming of Wave 105, Radio 2 and Global services. We hope to show that there’s another way to provide relevant local radio without soul-less voice-tracking, ‘hits and headlines’ or ‘late-night love songs.’

“Alfred the Great founded our town in 888. Alfred hopes to make radio in Shaftesbury great again.”

In addition to the licence awards above, Ofcom considered two further applications, but decided not to award a licence to Pulse Radio in Rhyl and Prestatyn, Denbighshire and Voice of the Community in St Asaph, Denbighshire.

And Ofcom decided not to consider applications from Phase Radio (Wales), Prestatyn, Meliden, Rhuddlan and Rhyl, Denbighshire, and ME2U Community Radio, Croydon, for unknown reasons.

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8 Comments
  1. Alan Hall says

    All the very best to everyone at Listen Lanarkshire.

  2. Robert Clevesham says

    Congrats to Merthyr Radio also. I have to ask though if MHR (Merthyr Hospital Radio) will be serving the community or a completely different service?

    1. Pat says

      It will be a separate service,if you go to the Ofcom site you will see the application,they will be sharing some output with GTFM apparently.

  3. Mark Budgen says

    all be taken over by Global in a few years.

  4. Steve Saville says

    Congratulations to Keri for Alfred. Sounds like the station will be refreshingly different and provide a truly local service ! Excellent news !

  5. Steve Saville says

    Congratulations to Keri for Alfred. Sounds like the station will be refreshingly diffe
    rent and provide a truly local service ! Excellent news !

  6. Terry says

    Fantastic, when will the other stations get news on their licence applications? Hoping DCR in Dover will be successful.

  7. Lord Reith says

    Great news for Keri and the team at Alfred. Their weekly podcasts are amazing and very locally focused. I am sure the station will be a great success for the town of Shaftesbury and the surrounding area. Gold Radio/Vale FM was local until eventually becoming ‘The Breeze’ from studios miles away and no longer local.

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