The team behind Beyond Radio, a project aiming to bring community radio back to Lancaster and Morecambe, have launched a crowdfunding appeal to raise £6500 to get it off the ground.
The aim is to open new FM and web radio project for Lancaster and Morecambe, bringing the local area a new, unique, community owned radio station, with a studio in Lancaster.
"Community Radio is a brilliant way of getting people talking at a local level," says a team spokesperson. "It’s a great outlet for the promotion of local music and material that wouldn’t otherwise get radio airplay. It’s a fabulous resource for the exploration of the issues that effect local people, giving everyone an equal chance to express their views, criticisms and support.
"Community Radio is often the only way that ordinary people with little or no experience of the broadcast media can find a way into broadcasting and we will be offering people the opportunity to do just that."
The crowd funding launch has been prompted after the team got the opportunity to build a studio in one of two possible venues.
"We met with a number of organisation this week who we feel could help us move forward with the space at Lancaster railway station as we consider developing our studio there," says Duncan Moore, CEO of Proper Community Media (Lancaster) Ltd, and one of the people instrumental in developing Lancaster's previous community radio station, Diversity FM.
"This was very positive and we are awaiting some feedback but it is looking like this could now become a real possibility in the near future. We have some planning consent hoops to jump through but we've now begun this process. It does depend on funding though.
"We've also made contact with a local pub owner who is sympathetic and says there is potential space available to us at one of his venues and we are just waiting to meet up to look at the space and get more details about this."
The chance of studio space means the Beyond Radio project, which has hosted several fund raising events, has come to a crossroads with regards to committing to launch.
"We need to bring in funding before we commit to expenditure in relation to the station launch," says Duncan in an appeal on the group's Facebook page. "We have some funding in the bank but nowhere near what we nee to take us up to launch and beyond. We have launched a crowdfunding site in order to try and get wider public funding.
"Community Radio is perfect for our district. We have a wonderfully diverse population and an exceptional cultural output for such a small geographic area. Beyond Radio, as a community led and community serving resource, will be the ideal platform through which to celebrate the area’s broad diversity and cultural mix.
"But it goes further than that. We want to support other organisations in our district in the voluntary and charity sectors who are also in the business of helping people. We wish to give them a louder voice in the community, a new way of getting their information out there and helping make a difference to people’s lives."
The team are ready to go with the project and are confident they have the expertise and the enthusiasm - now all they need is some funding to get them to the next stage.
"We are committed long-term in keeping this project running and have been awarded a five-year FM broadcast licence from Ofcom on the strength of our business planning and our desire to bring this station to our district. It will take a lot of time and effort, not only from the board responsible for delivering the project, but for the many volunteers who will give up their time to run the station. As a not for profit company, there are no shareholders and no-one will be paid to work on the project, this is being done because we are passionate about what community radio can do for both individuals and the communities they live in.
"The station needs to get on air in order to attract the financial support through small scale targeted local advertising and grant funding which will sustain it in the future.
"It's a catch 22 situation.Without the start up funding we can't do what we need to to bring in the longer term funding. Our constitution doesn't allow the station to operate in financial deficit and so income through advertising and sponsorship and support from the community through our fundraising activities, from supportive businesses and other organisations is our only way of staying on air with a meaningful and relevant service.
"The £6,500 requested will cover the running costs of the station for the first 12 months.
"We hope you will support Beyond Radio as it plans to do just that, go Beyond radio."
• Check out the crowdfunding page at http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/beyond-radio-community-radio-station/
• Beyond Radio Web Site: http://www.beyondradio.co.uk