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Community Radio

What is a Community Radio Station?

Community Radio stations are not-for profit media organisations, owned, operated and influenced by the communities they serve and enable individuals, groups and communities to tell their own stories, share experiences and become creators and contributors of broadcast media. Community Radio stations offer content that is not always provided by the larger commercial or public broadcasters and adds greatly to the diversity of media available to the population.

Community Radio is one three models of radio broadcast in operation around the world; the other two being public broadcast and commercial radio and can trace its origins in the UK back to the 1950s and the BBC’s initial experiments with local radio and the emergence of pirate radio stations throughout the 1960s and 70s.

The first official Community Radio stations were licensed to broadcast on a cable system in 1978, one of the first being Radio Thamesmead in South East London, using the Rediffusion cable system. The 1980 and 90s saw a boom in new Community Radio licences being awarded for new stations across the country.

During the early 00s, the Radio Authority conducted experiments to move stations to an FM broadcast platform and in 2005, began to issue FM broadcast licenses to Community Radio stations. Today, there are over 200 Community Radio stations broadcasting across the UK.

In many parts of the world, Community Radio serves a vital role as a vehicle for the voluntary sector, aid agencies, NGOs and government where in some parts of the Third World, it is the only media available and thus a key tool to convey healthcare information and wellbeing advice.

For more information about Community Radio, click here.

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