Community radio fight for better funding backed by MP

July 30, 2009 12:18 PM
David Howarth at 209radio stall

David Howarth visited the 209radio stall at Mill Road Winter Fair

Cambridge's Community Radio Station, 209radio on 105 FM, is backed by the city's MP David Howarth as it joins a mass lobby of Prime Minister Gordon Brown in a bid to get increased funding.

Station Manager Karl Hartland, his volunteers and staff are supporting the national protest which will also target the broadcasting watchdog, Ofcom and the Department for Culture Media and Sport.

The protest has been organised on the 5th anniversary of the passing of the Community Radio Order by the House of Lords and as the government carries out a review of the sector.

Mr Howarth, who is an avid supporter of 209radio, said: "These radio stations have proved across the country that they are a valuable part of the communities they serve and it is time this was recognised through the grant process.

"Some of these stations are struggling to survive and it would be a great loss to their communities if they were forced to close because they have not been able to get the level of grant aid they deserve."

Last year, 150 licensed community radio stations shared a fund of just £500,000

The protest has been organised by Sheffield Live! radio station director, Steve Buckley, who formerly worked on Cambridge Community Radio.

Protesters have collected signatures to an open letter to Prime Minister Gordon Brown, highlighting the funding situation and calling for more coherent inter-departmental thinking with regard to the sector, its work and its sustainability.

Mr Hartland said: "This is a fitting time to look back on the Community Radio sector's many successes and, in light of the current review, to make as much impact as we can to address current issues.

"Not least of these is the inadequate scale of the Community Radio Fund, a grant scheme that should be very much larger than it is at this stage five years on."

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