---Apologies for cross-posting---
Executive Summary at:
Full report (pdf, 386kb):
Communities are the radio stars
More than 8 million people are now able to tune into community radio
stations and demand is still high for licences, Ofcom’s first Annual
Report of Community Radio reveals.
Over 130 community stations are now broadcasting across the UK, with
another 50 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 2005.
Community radio stations reflect the variety of cultures, demographics
and tastes in the UK.
For example, there are stations catering for urban music fans (New
Style, Birmingham) experimental music aficionados (Resonance FM, London)
younger people (CSR, Canterbury), the Armed Forces and their families
(Edinburgh Garrison FM) and religious communities (Cross Rhythms,
In total, 41% of stations are aimed at general audiences in town or
rural communities, 18% broadcast to general audiences in urban areas,
but a significant proportion target specific groups such as young people
(17%), minority ethnic groups (14%) or military communities (5%).
Wide social benefits
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.
In fulfilling their wider requirements to deliver social gain to their
communities, each station are also required to provide training and
For example, in the year to April 2008 Bang Radio, broadcasting in west
London, delivered broadcast training to over 230 young people, and
continues to offer further work placements to local school and college
Similarly, Wolverhampton’s WCR Radio provided accredited training to 49
of its 190 volunteers – 44 of whom now hold a qualification in radio
Funding community radio
The typical income of a community radio station is £66,500 pa – yet for
some stations this is as little as £6,000.
The Report has established that a community radio station’s income is
primarily generated through grants (45%), donations (12%) and in the
growing area of service contracts with local authorities (11%). Across
the board, on-air advertising represents 18% of total income.
Peter Davies, Ofcom’s Director of Radio Policy, said:
“Community radio is a real success story. It delivers rich and varied
content to listeners and provides additional benefits through community
involvement and training.
“Our Community Radio Annual Report reveals that, in just over three
years, 130 stations have sprung up across the length and breadth of the
UK. They reach many communities: from rural to inner city areas and
serving diverse audiences with content ranging from religion,
experimental music to RnB.”
“We are delighted that interest from those wishing to run such stations
for their own communities remains high.”
Those connected to and working within the sector:
WCR’s (Wolverhampton) Zac Morris, 31, a former soldier currently seeking
“Before I joined WCR I had no knowledge of all the technical aspects
involved in radio.
“Now I can operate a studio, take interviews and I was broadcasting live
on-air after receiving my training.”
Ian Wallace, Director of Gaydio based in Manchester, which is preparing
to launch said:
“There’s a real excitement in Manchester’s gay community about the
launch of Gaydio.
“As well as working with a great team of people we will also be reaching
out to those people who do not currently have a lot of contact with the
LGBT community, which can only be a win–win for everyone in Manchester.”
Jonathan Bellamy who runs Cross Rhythms FM, a Christian radio station
based in Stoke, said:
“We have been thrilled at how well we have been received by local
Christians but also by those without a faith. In particular, our unique
music playlist mix of rock, pop, hip hop and R&B by Christian artists
has proved a real hit.
“Our community focussed programming has included features on Media
Action for Mental Health, Safer Cities Partnership, ADSiS (Alcohol and
Drug Services in Staffordshire) and many, many others.”
Mark Page, who produces programming for a number of Army stations, said:
“Army audiences and their families, as well as civilians who live in the
local area really value our output.
“Listeners of Community Radio with a military focus regularly hear from
our boys and girls deployed in war zones - it is such a great feeling to
know our programming gives such comfort to those who tune in and that it
also provides real links with those outside bases.”
The full report can be found here:
NOTES FOR EDITORS
1. Community Radio stations are different to local commercial radio
stations; they are not-for-profit and must deliver social gain. They
were created with the Community Radio Order 2004
2. Each community radio station that has been broadcasting for more than
a year is required to complete an annual report.
3. For the period May 07 – Apr 08 Ofcom received reports from 67 stations.
4. A full list of community radio stations can be found here: