£400,000 funding “a partial victory”, but Neale Hanvey MP warns that further support is needed for community radio
Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath MP, Neale Hanvey has warned that Scotland’s community radio stations, including Kirkcaldy’s own K107fm, face an uncertain future despite the announcement of £400,000 in redirected funding from the UK Government.
In April, Mr Hanvey had co-ordinated a cross-party letter to the UK Government calling on emergency support for community radio stations. He highlighted at the time that “local radio stations like K107fm play a crucial role in connecting people with local support services.”
Following Mr Hanvey’s letter, the UK government announced £400,000 funding was to be redirected from the Community Radio Fund administered by Ofcom.
The money, usually allocated annually to support community radio stations, will now be spread out over the year.
Commenting, Neale Hanvey MP said:
“This is a partial victory for community radio stations like K107fm.
“Let’s be very clear, it’s simply repurposing money that would already be delivered to community stations and will only help around 1 in 6 stations.
“Nevertheless, it is a good start.
“I’m delighted that my letter put pressure on the UK Government making them think again about their lack of support for these vital local radio stations.”
K107fm’s Alex Airnes added:
“It’s obviously a worrying time for everyone, including community radio stations.
“We’re very grateful for the support we’ve received from Neale and other local politicians in trying to secure emergency funding.
“Whilst an Emergency Fund of £400,000 has been widely reported, it is merely a redirection of the existing Community Radio Fund and 296 broadcasting and licenced stations bidding to receive funding, resulting in many stations unlikely to receive any support and the depletion of the fund until June 2021.
“K107fm continues to provide quality programming and support to our local audience, businesses and third sector organisations, albeit broadcasting from our homes rather than the station."
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon was previously asked about community radio stations at her daily coronavirus briefing. She said:
“I’m a big supporter personally of community radio, I see the benefit of it and the great impact that it has on my own constituency and further afield.
“I don’t underestimate the impact that what we’re living through right now is having on not just community radio, but local media generally, just like it’s having an impact on the rest of us.
“We will continue to have ongoing conversations in general with every sector of the economy about how we can provide maximum support, and will be happy to take that discussion forward with community radio as we will with others as well.”
Note to Editors
A press release from the Community Media Association welcoming the funding can be found here: https://www.commedia.org.uk/news/2020/04/emergency-fund-covid-19/
Neale Hanvey MP’s original letter was signed by 25 MPs from several parties, including:
Neale Hanvey MP – Independent
Neil Gray MP – SNP
Geraint Davies MP – Labour
John Nicolson MP – SNP
Ian Paisley MP – DUP
Margaret Hodge MP – Labour
John McDonnell MP – Labour
Paul Girvan MP – DUP
Hannah Bardell MP – SNP
Stuart McDonald MP – SNP
Naz Shah MP – Labour
Chris Stephens MP – SNP
Kenny MacAskill MP – SNP
Mohammad Yasin MP – Labour
John McNally MP – SNP
Rosie Cooper MP – Labour
Virendra Sharma MP – Labour
Sarah Champion MP – Labour
Owen Thompson MP – SNP
Steven Bonnar MP – SNP
Caroline Lucas MP – Green Party
Angus MacNeil MP – SNP
Chris Law MP – SNP
Mike Hill MP – Labour
Philippa Whitford MP – SNP