Kirkcaldy MP backs campaign to safeguard the future of community radio stations
In a letter to the Secretary of State for digital, culture, media and sport, Mr Hanvey has called for a community radio support package to protect the future of local radio stations, such as Kirkcaldy’s K107fm, during the coronavirus pandemic.
The letter has been signed by twenty-five MPs from across the chamber, including John Nicolson who is the SNP’s spokesperson for culture, media and sport, and by the former shadow chancellor, John McDonnell MP.
In the letter, Mr Hanvey points out that the coronavirus pandemic has put community radio stations at risk of permanent closure due to the impact on finances, staff and volunteers.
Many community radio stations rely on advertising revenue to survive and with the majority of local businesses and projects forced to close and reduce overheads, this revenue has all but disappeared overnight.
Mr Hanvey, who is also MP for Cowdenbeath, said: “During these difficult times, local radio stations like K107fm play a crucial role in connecting people with local support services.
“People trust the local voices that make up local radio. This makes these stations the perfect platform to send out information about the coronavirus pandemic.
“Plus, so many of us enjoy their entertaining, local-focused programmes while we’re all stuck at home.
“Whilst it was good to see the emergency measures announced by the Chancellor to support charities and social enterprises, these are unlikely to provide the support most community radio stations need to survive this crisis.
“That’s why I’m backing the Community Media Association’s call for a specific support package for community radio stations.”
The town MP's comments have been welcomed by Kirkcaldy’s community radio station, K107, which has swapped its studios for living rooms to continue broadcasting during the lockdown.
In a statement on its Facebook page, it said: “K107fm is engaging with the COVID19 crisis and we are doing everything we can to broadcast critical news, advice, and information to the local community at this time of need.
“However, this crisis has generated massive financial and demand pressures on the community media sector at extremely short notice.
“Trading revenues are falling and external events have been cancelled resulting in immediate cash flow problems for many stations like us.
“Many community radio groups have little to no cash reserves to get them through an extended period of disruption and may even have to close down.
“Without substantial financial assistance from the government, the community radio sector’s capacity to respond to the crisis (for example, by continuing broadcasting) will be drastically diminished.
“The Community Media Association has asked the Government to implement a number of key policy demands to help keep community radio stations operating.
“We are delighted to have the support of our local MP (Neale Hanvey MP) at K107fm and further cross-party support for the community radio sector from a number of other MP's. #SaveCommunityRadio”
While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you. In order for us to continue to provide high quality and trusted local news on this free-to-read site, I am asking you - wherever possible and providing it is safe for you to do so - to also please purchase a copy of our newspapers; the Fife Free Press, Fife Herald, St Andrews Citizen, East Fife Mail and Glenrothes Gazette.
Inevitably falling advertising revenues will start to have an impact on local newspapers and the way we continue to work during this period of uncertainty.
The support of our readers has never been more important as we try to make sure that we keep you connected with your community during this time. But being your eyes and ears comes at a price. We need your support more than ever to buy our newspapers during this crisis.
Our team of trusted reporters are working incredibly hard behind the scenes - from kitchen tables and spare bedrooms - to look at how we can do this, and your continued support of our newspapers across Fife will help to protect their viability in the days and weeks ahead.
For more details on our subscription offers please visit email [email protected] or call us on 0330 4033004
Allan Crow, Editor, Fife Free Press