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Keith Community Radio future secured

By Alistair Whitfield

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KEITH Community Radio whose licence was due to run out next month has now had its future secured for the next five years.

Chairman of Keith Community Radio Eddie Stuart...Picture: Becky Saunderson. Image No.043330.
Chairman of Keith Community Radio Eddie Stuart...Picture: Becky Saunderson. Image No.043330.

Ofcom has just agreed to extend it permission continue broadcasting until October 2024 on its 107.7 FM wavelength.

The extension is a huge vote of confidence for a radio station entirely manned by volunteers.

KCR's chairman Eddie Stuart said: "We're delighted. Getting the licence is not automatic and we have to constantly prove we deserve the privilege of FM broadcasting.

"Many community radio licences are for fairly small areas – a 5 kilometre radius is quite common.

"KCR has a much larger area, broadcasting across Moray and beyond, reaching roughly from Forres across to Huntly and from Buckie down to Dufftown.

"It really is a huge privilege to be able to reach out to so many listeners in their homes, their cars and their lives.

"Last year a professional survey confirmed a listenership over the week of 12,000 to 15,000 people, which is a substantial audience by any standard.

"We feel we've become part of a special community, like an extended family. If we didn't hear from some of our regular callers for more than a fortnight or so we'd be worried that something had happened to them."

KCR began life in 1986 as the smallest radio station of its kind in Britain.

The initial format was 'mothballed' in 1993 but, following changes in legislation on community radio, it went back on air in 1997.

This revival came with the help of Moray Firth Radio which allowed the use of its licence, transmitter and expertise to broadcast.

Audiences were able to 'opt out' of the Inverness station's programmes for very limited times during the week and listen to KCR instead.

In 2013 KCR applied successfully to Ofcom for its own licence and, having raised the funds to install its own transmitter, went on the air the following year.

Now live on air for more than 12 hours every day, the station plays arguably the widest range of music in Scotland.

Its DJs pick their own music and regular shows are dedicated to everything from pop to rock, folk, jazz, gospel and classical.

Eddie presents a show called The Musical Box from 7pm-9pm on Tuesday which highlights upcoming bands.

He said: "KCR has come a long way in the past five years and now we can look forward to the next five.

"The station owes a huge debt of gratitude to the fantastic commitment of John Seivwright and Moira Morrison as well as several others.

"We are always happy to meet new people who would like to experience broadcasting.

"It isn't all talking into a microphone – it offers the chance to develop a wide range of skills.

"Many a professional broadcaster started their career on community radio. If you're interested, drop an email to me at chairman@kcr.fm

"We'd love to hear from you."

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