Community radio on the rise, say regulators

MOREthan eight million people are now able to tune into community radio stations and demand is still high for licences, according to the first ever report on the sector, by broadcasting regulators, Ofcom.

Says Ofcom – in its inaugural annual review – there are 130 community stations throughout the UK, of which ten are based in Scotland, with with another 50, UK-wide, preparing to launch.

These not-for-profit radio stations cover small geographical areas and each typically provides 81 hours of original and distinctive output a week – mostly locally produced.

Community radio licensing was introduced by Ofcom and the first licence was awarded in March four years ago.

In total, 41 per cent of stations are aimed at general audiences in town or rural communities, 18 per cent broadcast to general audiences in urban areas, but a significant proportion target specific groups such as young people (17 per cent), minority ethnic groups (14 per cent) or military communities (five per cent).

The Community Radio Annual Report also reveals that, on average, each station operates with 74 volunteers who together give around 214 hours of their time a week. Across the sector this represents over 100,000 volunteer hours a month.

Each station is required to provide training.

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