"One Subject One Link" - May 2018

Analysis & comment on topics in the radio media

"The true cost of running a small radio station"


Short-term radio stations are set up to primarily for truly local events and activities; they promote festivals, sport, and the community and generally add a feel good factor to get people talking contenting themselves by being fresh each season adding extra texture and their unique local buzz

Some stations go on to become fully fledged Community Stations filling the huge gap that’s been vacated by ILR, sadly many losing their magic as time goes by

Licensed by Ofcom, almost without exception these stations are non-profit making with running met from sponsorship and a small amount of local advertising, both increasingly difficult to get

The overall costs though take some believing; Ofcom charge a £400 non-returnable application fee and £1,960.00 for an average FM licence issued at a restricted power decided by them, usually 15-Watts FM max

Composite music fees: PRS/PPL/MCPS come in at a staggering £2,450.00

By and large volunteers wholly man the stations, but on top of these crippling fees there’s ‘Turn-Key’ broadcast equipment, Commercial Production, Streaming, Website, News, Travel, perhaps a link transmitter licence, and day-to-day costs. Typically the ballpark figure for a mere 28 days on-air is these days close on a whopping £10.000

Ofcom & the music organisation fees are pretty much ‘daylight robbery’ for these small stations, which I think make an essential mix to the radio spectrum

There were once proud sea Pirates making more listener choice, sadly things for the have gone full circle, there’s more bland radio, and what little innovation's left is being unfairly squeezed to death

You can easy understand why the land Pirates proliferate and some even flourish under the present rules, do I hear Ofcom run shy of some of them!

Malcolm McDonald - Sandgate, Kent animated-pirate-image-0012

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