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Funding Community Radio

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Community radio stations across the country have united on social media and in song to raise awareness and support for the sector.

Over 50 stations have written to John Whittingdale MP, Ian O'Neil at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport and Dame Melanie Dawes at OFCOM, following the announcement of changes to the Community Radio Fund, which stations say doesn't go far enough to sustain the future of the sector.

In parallel with Haddenham.net, Red Kite Radio provides a vital service to the community. For dozens of charitable, non-profit and community groups in the local area, Red Kite Radio provides an additional platform for publicizing their activities and events. This publicity is a lifeline to cash-strapped and resource limited community groups and ensures they can engage local people in their activities and increase their supporter base. As local newspapers shrink or disappear entirely, non-profit community radio stations like Red Kite become a valued source of local news and free promotion for community groups.

On Friday May 1st, at 9.15am, stations across the country took to social media to promote the work that the sector continues to deliver and request more support from the Government.

The posts showcased how this essential pillar of communication is continuing to deliver local news, information and entertainment to communities, either from home, or from studios, in compliance with social distancing rules.

Stations united to play The Beatles 'All You Need Is Love', at 9:15am on Friday morning with an accompanying video shared online.

YouTube link is:

https://youtu.be/Qgj9hY13RtE

Nathan Spackman, operations director at Bro Radio in South Wales, is one of those leading the calls.

He said "The announcement of the repurposing of the Community Radio is welcome and I praise OFCOM, DCMS and the Community Media Association for their work in turning this over so quickly. As welcome as the announcement is, with almost 300 stations on air we estimate that only 40 radio stations will benefit from the fund, based on a grant of £10,000 per station. We are calling on DCMS and MP's to review the fund, to support more stations during these challenging times."

Barry Clack, founder and director of Witney Radio in Oxfordshire, said: "Supporting Community Radio is a vital campaign to the nearly 300 licensed OFCOM community stations in the UK. The stations broadcast to the hyperlocal communities in the country and during these horrific times of crisis, all the hard work is heard by listeners, keeping them informed and entertained during this period of lockdown. Community Radio has never been more important than now in delivering content to its listeners and so we ask people to #SupportCommunityRadio."

Martin Steers, manager of NLive Radio in Northampton, added: "I'm passionate about raising the profile of Community Radio and all the great work these stations are doing all over the country for the communities they serve at this time. I hope this campaign will raise awareness that Community Radio stations need supporting, locally and nationally.