Ofcom has announced the award of eight new community radio licences in England, Northern Ireland and Scotland.
The new stations will serve communities in Bristol, Maldon, and Newcastle and Gateshead, in England; Belfast in Northern Ireland; as well as Cumbernauld, and Musselburgh, Tranent and Wallyford in Scotland.
Community radio services are provided on a not-for-profit basis, focusing on the delivery of specific social benefits to a particular area or community of interest.
More than 250 community radio stations are currently on air today.
The eight new community radio licences have been awarded to:
BE FM is a cross-community and non-denominational Christian radio station for Belfast. Ofcom felt BE FM would broaden the range of radio programmes available in the area and will serve a group that is currently under-served by radio in Belfast.
Cumbernauld FM will broadcast in Cumbernauld, North Lanarkshire. It will broadcast a broad range of music and have a local focus which will broaden radio choice in the area. It also has social gain objectives including proposals to strengthen community links and boost community pride.
Juice will serve the LGBT community in Belfast. Previously an online station, staff members have experience of community radio and television broadcasting. The station will serve an under-served community in Belfast, and has links with local organisations to help it deliver its social objectives.
Maldon Community Radio
Maldon Community Radio will broadcast to Maldon and other parts of the Maldon District in Essex. It will use studio and transmission facilities already in place and has links and partnerships with local organisations such as schools, which will help to deliver its social objectives. Maldon Community Radio will now cover a larger part of the Maldon District area in Essex. (It already broadcasts a community radio service across a smaller area. It will need to surrender that licence should it take up this licence offer.).
Pride FM Tyneside
Pride FM Tyneside will serve the LGBT community of Newcastle and Gateshead. Its staff have experience of radio and internet radio broadcasting and it has premises and equipment in place to enable it to commence broadcasting. It has social objectives and partners with organisations including the University of Northumbria, with which it has worked to deliver training, and with the police on a hate crime initiative.
Radio Saltire will serve the population of Tranent, Wallyford and Musselburgh in East Lothian. It will be a run by a team of volunteers that is already in place, and has links in place with a number of local organisations, community groups and charities.
Radio Tyneside will provide a service for people aged over 50 in Newcastle and Gateshead and will have a focus on health and well-being. It will cater for the tastes and interests of its target community, and which it has developed using feedback to its current hospital radio output.
SWU.FM will be a youth-led station for Bristol with a focus on urban, electronic and dance music. It will also use its connections with local education establishments such as DBS, Bristol University, UWE and Bristol Music Trust to offer work experience and training for students.
The licences are awarded for a five-year period. See a statement setting out the main determining factors for the award of the licences (PDF, 174.8 KB).