UK community radio hits milestone

UK community radio hits milestone

Community radio reaches for the airwaves

UK community radio has celebrated its 100-station milestone.

The two latest stations to go on air are 7 Waves Community Radio in the Wirral and Calon FM, serving Wrexham.

Community radio stations are run on a not-for-profit basis and depend on volunteers to present the shows. They deliver news and information about events that are specific local communities with geographical areas of up to 5km.

Regulator Ofcom awarded the first licences three years ago under the Community Radio Order 2004. Since March 2005 the regulator has awarded licences to 162 community radio services, of which 100 are now on air.

Some stations cater for the whole community while others concentrate on areas of interest. For example, in Newport on the Isle of Wight, there is a station catering for the needs of elderly people and in Leicester there is one especially for children.

Stewart Purvis, content and standards partner at Ofcom, said: “Community radio is now an established third tier of radio broadcasting in the UK.

“This new tier of radio adds richness and variety to the services already provided by the BBC and commercial radio and offers opportunities for people to get involved in local broadcasting.”

Ofcom is part way through its second round of community radio licensing, which is likely to be completed next year.