VOLUNTEERS at Lochaber’s local radio station are celebrating this week after the station successfully gained a new “community” licence from government regulator Ofcom.
It is hoped the new status, achieved almost a year after its application was lodged, will give the station a much more secure future.
Award-winning Nevis Radio, which was established in 1996, has gone from strength to strength over the years, growing from a seasonal “Ski Radio” station to covering the whole of Lochaber and the Small Isles with a range of entertainment programmes.
The station, based on the Ben Nevis Estate in Fort William, also provides an important local source of emergency information on road accidents and shutdowns, weather details and school closures.
Due to changes in UK broadcasting legislation, Nevis Radio was issued with a Commercial Radio licence, putting it on the same footing as large Independent Local Radio (ILR) stations such as those based in large cities with highly paid presenters, whereas almost everyone on Nevis Radio is a volunteer.
While the original company ‘Nevis Community Radio Limited’ continued as a not-for-profit community enterprise, the designation ILR immediately cut off the bulk of potential funders such as charitable organisations or trusts, who were unable to fund a commercial radio station.
The Ofcom announcement came last Thursday and has delighted everyone connected with the station which over the years has been recognised at national and regional awards ceremonies, with awards for programmes and individual presenters.
Nevis Radio chairman Iain Ferguson, who co-ordinated the exhausting Ofcom application process, told the Lochaber News: “I am delighted that Ofcom have granted Nevis Radio community status, which I hope will be a great help in raising funds to keep us operating.
(Source: Lochaber News, UK)