Heartland FM extends reach into Perth

A PERTHSHIRE radio station has confirmed it is hoping to complete the purchase of the broadcasting licence for the nearby city of Perth.

Pitlochry-based Heartland FM has already begun broadcasting, on a temporary basis, in the area previously serviced by neighbouring Perth FM, on the 106.6 FM frequency.

Says Perth FM, it is awaiting completion of a deal with its nearby broadcaster. It adds that Heartland FM was one of a number of parties bidding to purchase either its entire operation or aspects of it and that the Highland station – which boasts 30 presenters among what is an almost entirely volunteer team – has now reached agreement with it to broadcast in Perth on the 106.6 frequency with a view to the sale of the licence being concluded shortly.

In a statement, Heartland FM said that it “hopes to make this a permanent situation and continue providing a local service, as per [broadcasting regulator] Ofcom guidelines, but to a wider Perthshire audience as well as being able to provide training in all aspects of broadcasting and programming”.

It continued: “Heartland FM has been on air since 1992 and is the longest-serving community-owned, volunteer-run station in the UK providing a wide range of programmes and is open to new volunteers all the time.”

A spokesperson for Perth FM confirmed no sale had yet taken place. He said: “A number of parties have been interested and in negotiation over the sale of Perth FM and/or aspects of its operation and coverage area. We are concluding a sale with Heartland FM that will give them a significantly bigger population to cover with a single Perthshire-wide service from two licences, as approved by Ofcom, coupled with transmission facilities and so on.

“As our appointed deadline approached for the parties we chose Heartland FM for some aspects of our operation and with some goodwill allowed them to commence broadcasting on February 17.”

The statements from Heartland and Perth counter stories elsewhere in the media that a sale had already been completed, including some sort of merger or take-over.

Ofcom, meanwhile, confirmed to allmediascotland that it has approved the transfer of the licence, saying that Heartland FM will require to adjust its content to reflect the demands of people living in Perth.