Exmouth's radio station pressures government

PUBLISHED: 13:13 11 August 2009 | UPDATED: 11:35 10 June 2010

EXMOUTH'S Bay FM has joined forces with 82 stations from all round the country in appealing to Gordon Brown to do more to back community radio.

EXMOUTH'S Bay FM has joined forces with 82 stations from all round the country in appealing to Gordon Brown to do more to back community radio.

Campaigners including Bay FM founders Andy and Julie Green argue that local stations like Bay FM are integral to community cohesion - one of the Government's mantras.

And they say Government sound-bites should be backed with increased funding and a relaxation of the rules that prevent stations from raising cash.

In June Bay FM went cap in hand to the town council in their bid to buy a licence to become Exmouth's first a fully-fledged radio station, after a series of successful 'test' broadcasts.

But despite support from councillors the finance committee were unable to pledge their financial support - partially because of the prohibitively high cost a full licence.

A Government community radio fund was set up in 2004 - but Mr Green said that not only had the initial £500,000 funding not risen since then, despite increasing numbers of licences being awarded each year, but once licenced stations were often restricted from raising funds through advertising or sponsorship.

He added that over 200 community radio services have been licensed since 2004, 150 of which are on air, creating around 400 jobs, involving over 10,000 volunteers, and serving a potential audience of more than 10 million people.

But despite Ofcom saying community radio was "one of the great broadcasting success stories", the recession and the failure of government to recognise the need for increased funding, meant stations were finding it increasingly difficult to survive - six new stations recently failed to launch and three have had to hand back their licences.

He said: "Community Radio is very often the heartbeat of a town but all stations will cease to exist if nothing is done to change this situation.

"Please help Bay FM and all the other stations in the UK by taking just a few minutes to sign the petition."

You can sign the petition at: http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/allthevoices/.

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