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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.”

For further information follow this link

Nick Clegg backs community radio campaign

Lib Dem Leader and Sheffield Hallam MP, Nick Clegg, has pledged his backing to a joint campaign launched by Sheffield Live! 93.2 FM and other community radio stations for a substantial increase in the Community Radio Fund. The government-backed Fund has not grown in size since it was set up in 2005, while the number of community radio stations has increased from 14 to more than 150 on air.

Clegg said, in a letter: “I remember our discussion at Sheffield Live and have seen the letter sent to Gordon Brown on your website. I am happy to lend my support to your campaign.”

Sangita Basudev, Chief Executive of Sheffield Live! 93.2 FM said: “We are delighted to have Nick Clegg’s support. We have written to all of Sheffield’s MPs asking them to get behind the campaign and to ensure a fair settlement for community radio in the current government review.”

The Community Radio Fund is described by Steve Buckley, Director of Sheffield Live! 93.2FM as “.. woefully inadequate” and he’s heading a plea for a fair share of Government funding arrangements for public service broadcasting. Buckley says the new sector is in a precarious situation: “Six stations have failed to launch, three have handed back their licences. Others are at high risk. This is not only a result of the recession but is also a direct consequence of a failure in government policy to ensure funding arrangements keep pace with development.”

You can read read more about the campaign by following this link