The United Kingdom’s broadcast regulator is celebrating the tenth anniversary of its community radio licensing drive. Ofcom says that since September of 2004 it has awarded 230 community radio station licenses across the country, the operations staffed by around 20,000 volunteers.
The first went to The Eye in Melton Mowbray, which since then has doubled its workforce. Next came Unity 101 in Southampton, Awaz FM in Glasgow, Angel Radio in Havant, Cross Rhythms City Radio in Stoke on Trent, and GTFM in Pontypridd.
Here’s the obligatory press quote from Ofcom Community Radio manager Susan Williams:
“Community Radio stations have deep-rooted connections in their communities. Local people run these stations, producing content to inform and entertain their local community and offering real benefits like radio training.
In ten years we’ve seen the sector grow in popularity, with large numbers of volunteers continuing to be involved and stations becoming a central part of communities up and down the country.”
Amen to all that. Your typical UK community radio station broadcasts over 90 hours a week of local original content to a 5km radius contour. I think the last licensing award we covered here at RS was to deejay school Funky SX on the Southend-on-Sea borough, which plans to start streaming FM next year.