"One Subject One Link" - November/December 2010

Analysis & comment on topics in the radio media

"Daylight Robbery"


The true cost of running an RSL

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 that gets people talking by filling the huge gap that’s been vacated by ILR

Some stations go on to become fully fledged Community Stations, many sadly losing their magic as time goes by

Others content themselves by being fresh each season adding extra texture with their local buzz

Licensed by Ofcom, almost without exception they are non-profit making with costs met from sponsorship and a small amount of local advertising, both proving increasingly difficult to come by

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 urban

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, ComProd, News, Travel, Website, Streaming, perhaps a link transmitter which also requires licensing

On top there are day-to-day costs such as printing, unexpected repairs

Typically the ballpark figure for a mere 28 days on-air these days comes close to a whopping £10.000

Ofcom & the music organisation fees are ‘daylight robbery’ for small stations, which provide an essential mix to the radio spectrum

We were once proud sea Pirates all for the sake of providing more listener choice, sadly things for the have gone full circle, there’s more bland radio, and what little innovations left is being unfairly squeezed

Pirate DJ newspaper clipping

You can easy understand why the land Pirates proliferate and some even flourish under the present rules

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