Press release: Further support needed for community radio

£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