Community Radio licensing in Scotland

Ofcom, the UK broadcasting and telecoms regulator has responsibility for awarding Community Radio Licences, a relatively new type of low-cost local radio licence in accordance with the requirements of Section 104(1) of the Broadcasting Act 1990 (as modified by the Community Radio Order 2004).

The Community Radio Order 2004, enshrined within the Communication Act 2003 has provided the means for Ofcom to license Community Radio in the UK. This was laid before H.M. Parliament on 15 June 2004 and was approved by Parliament and became law on 20 July 2004.

Ofcom then invited applications for licences to provide Community Radio services in most parts of the United Kingdom. These licences are offered for the provision of services on either the FM (VHF) waveband or AM (Medium Wave) waveband.

In Scotland, the first Ofcom licensed Community Radio station was Awaz FM serving the Asian population of Glasgow and launched with a Community Licence on 1 January 2006. Awaz FM was previously part of a trial pilot community service under the former Radio Authority. The first new start-up Community station in Scotland was Revival FM based in Cumbernauld, North Lanarkshire which launched on 3 September 2006 with a Christian perspective, pictured below.

The majority of stations in the first round of licenses came on-air towards the end of March 2007 which include Sunny Govan Radio (Glasgow) and Black Diamond FM in Midlothian and in the second round of licenced stations launched from January 2008 (Celtic Music Radio 1530AM) until December 2009 (Dunoon Community Radio).

Community radio is a new type of radio service. Unlike traditional commercial local stations, they broadcast to smaller areas and they focus on a specific community or on a range of listeners inside their broadcast area. The stationís job is to benefit communities rather than make a profit.

A community radio station's programmes will reflect the needs and interests of its audience. But rather than "talk at" its community, the station should become a central part of it. This means creating direct links with its listeners, offering training opportunities and making sure that members of the community can take part in how the station is run.

This map shows the spread of stations across Scotland.