Scottish communities invited to apply for radio licences

RADIO licences for local communities to operate, and with a lifespan of just five years, are up for grabs, courtesy of broadcasting regulators, Ofcom. But prospective applicants from Edinburgh and Glasgow need only apply if going for an AM frequency than an FM one.

Community radio is distinct from commercial radio in that services cover a small geographical area, are provided on a not-for-profit basis and focus on the delivery of specific social benefits to enrich a particular geographical community or a community of interest.

Already, there are over 100 community radio stations in the UK, with nine in Scotland: The Superstation (Orkney), ShmuFM (Aberdeen), VIP on Air (Glasgow), Awaz FM (Glasgow), Sunny Govan Radio (Glasgow), Edinburgh Garrison FM (Edinburgh), Revival Radio (Cumbernauld), Black Diamond FM (Dalkeith) and Leith FM (Leith, Edinburgh).

But congested airwaves in Edinburgh and Glasgow mean only AM licences can be applied for in these areas.

Says Vicki Nash, director of Ofcom (Scotland): “The stations licensed first time around came from communities across Scotland which were able to demonstrate that they could provide an unique and local service for their listeners. This second round is an ideal opportunity for more communities across the country to become part of a growing sector and gives broadcasters in Scotland the chance to be innovative and creative in producing local programming.”

The closing date for applications is January 16. For more information, click here.