A third of the UK’s community radio stations could face closure due to the impact of coronavirus without urgent government support, according to the body that represents the broadcasters’ interests.
The Community Media Association, which represents the 296 community associations licensed by broadcast regulator Ofcom, is scheduled to hold crisis talks with representatives of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and Ofcom on Wednesday to seek support for the sector.
Talks last week with John Whittingdale, a minist
“We are extremely concerned that the government will allow up to one-third, by our own estimates, of the UK’s 296 community radio stations to fail,” said Danny Lawrence, of Gateway 97.8FM and chairman of the CMA. “A relatively small amount of additional funding for the community radio sector will go a long way to support stations keeping their communities connected and informed during the crisis.”
Talks last week with John Whittingdale, a minister in the culture department, have focused on using the Community Radio Fund, a £400,000 funding pot administered by Ofcom. However, that would amount to less than £1,500 in support on average per station.
Red Kite Radio is one of those who could be forced to close if they are not able to receive funding quickly and have set up a JustGiving page to allow people to help save the station