Author Archives: Steve Buckley

Lord Puttnam backs broadcasters’ campaign

Support Community Radio! Sign the Petition! Click Here!Lord David Puttnam has pledged his “.. absolute support..” to a campaign by community radio stations in Sheffield and across the country who are pressing the government for access to adequate and reliable funds.

Community radio, acclaimed by industry regulator Ofcom as a “broadcasting success story”, is under constant fear of closure, according to Professor Anthony Everitt, author of the 2003 report, New Voices, whose recommendations formed the basis for government legislation.

The Community Radio Order 2004 is currently under review as are the funding arrangements for public service broadcasting content outside the BBC. Funding for community radio has not kept pace with growth in the number of services. The Community Radio Fund was set up in 2005, with £500,000 per annum when there were only 14 community radio licensees. Today there are around 150 community radio services on air, while the Fund has not grown in size.

Everitt, in a letter to the Department for Culture Media and Sport, says the sector is “hobbled by its poverty”, and has called on government to implement the recommendations of his report to provide (matched) grant aid of £30,000 per year per station towards core operating costs. Everitt says “this is a modest expenditure when the benefits community radio can confer are taken into account”, and it is needed “to place community radio on a sound financial footing”.

Community broadcasters have called on government, in an open letter to the Prime Minister, to implement the funding recommendations of the Everitt report to ensure the sustainability and development of community radio. And a petition to the Prime Minister, calling for increased funding for the sector, is also gathering momentum with over 1700 signatures already confirmed.

Lord David Puttnam assured the community radio sector:  “…the weight of public support and technological history are with you…”

Sangita Basudev, Chief Executive of Sheffield Live! 93.2 FM welcomed Lord Puttnam’s support and said: “Community radio stations around the country have demonstrated their effectiveness in giving voice to and involving local people from diverse communities. But the growth of the sector needs to be matched by increased investment in line with the recommendations of the Everitt report.”

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Sheffield MPs back community radio campaign

Support Community Radio! Sign the Petition! Click Here!Sheffield MPs are getting behind a campaign for community radio to get a fair share of government funding arrangements for broadcasting. The campaign, launched in July to mark the fifth anniversary of community radio legislation, is led by Sheffield Live! 93.2 FM and by local community broadcasters throughout the UK.

Since legislation was passed, in 2004, more than 200 community radio services have been licensed and around 150 are on air, creating around 400 jobs, involving over 10,000 volunteers, and serving a potential audience of more than 10 million people.

But despite the widely acknowledged success of community radio, stations like Sheffield Live! 93.2 FM are economically precarious with no core funding support. A Community Radio Fund, set up in 2004, has not been increased despite the rapid growth in the number of community radio stations. There is now less than £500,000 per annum to distribute to 150 not-for-profit stations.

Lib Dem Leader and Sheffield Hallam MP, Nick Clegg, who recently visited Sheffield Live! 93.2 FM city centre studios, said: “I am happy to lend my support to your campaign and have written to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport on your behalf”.

Sheffield’s Labour MPs have also voiced their support. Sheffield Attercliffe MP, Clive Betts said he is “happy to support the campaign”. Sheffield Heeley MP Meg Munn, Sheffield Hillsborough MP Angela Smith, Sheffield Central MP Richard Caborn and Sheffield Brightside MP David Blunkett have also confirmed they have written to the Government Minister responsible and are awaiting a response.

Sangita Basudev, Chief Executive of Sheffield Live! 93.2 FM said: “We are delighted our local MPs are with us on this issue. We have over 200 volunteers involved in Sheffield Live! 93.2 FM, but it is a day to day challenge making ends meet in the current economic climate. The Community Radio Fund should support our core operating expenses, but with 150 community radio stations on the air there is just not enough to go round.”

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Community Radio Online Petition

Support Community Radio! Sign the Petition! Click Here!On 20 July 2009, in an Open Letter to the Prime Minister, community radio leaders, media scholars and experts, including 60 community radio stations, called for a fair settlement for community radio including a sizeable increase in the Community Radio Fund.

Now you can add your voice to their call.

A petition has been launched, backed by community radio stations including Sheffield Live! and calling on the Prime Minister “to support the sustainability and growth of community radio by substantially increasing the resources of the Community Radio Fund.”

Support Community Radio!

Sign the petition!

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