From 7th August 2021 LCR will no longer be broadcasting on 107.5FM. Our low power 1449AM transmitter will remain on air (unfortunately not covering the same area as our 107.5FM transmitter) and we will continue online (we apologise that not all listeners can receive us online).
Throughout the past 15 months of being on 107.5FM, we have attempted to negotiate with Ofcom to make our temporary license permanent as we feel the benefits it is bringing to the community are clear for anyone to see.
By Ofcom’s own research there is no other commercial, community or BBC station catering for our audience and that radio is the most trusted media source, essential in these times of uncertainty.
A number of public authorities clearly believe our service is required for quite some time yet. Our local MPs, elected mayor and others have written to Ofcom and DCMS in the strongest possible terms advocating for continuation of our FM service.
We have engaged with Ofcom democratically using all reasonable routes available to us, including over half the responses to the Ofcom annual plan being in support of LCR being issued a full-time FM license.
Ofcom has the power to issue FM licenses in exceptional circumstances, entirely at their discretion. They have clearly indicated they are not prepared to use these powers they already have to issue LCR with a full time FM license.
Ofcom has stated that they consider our FM license to be a temporary adaptation for a temporary event, namely COVID. They see the only value of our service as providing companionship for those isolating at home and with the final stage of lockdown easing on 19th July 2021 Ofcom believes there will be no further purpose for the service, ignoring our work as a trusted media source for an otherwise unserved audience in key areas such as vaccination take up.
Even if our temporary COVID FM license was to be extended, it is unsustainable. We have paid around £18,000 in license fees to date to keep the service on air. We are not allowed to carry advertising but have a license obligation to carry COVID messaging for local authorities.
If we were to receive money from the local authorities then this would breach our license. To date therefore the majority of this £18,000 has come from private donors as this is the only funding source available to us meeting Ofcom’s restrictions.
Typically community radio stations would pay around £800 per year in Ofcom license fees and would not have such funding restrictions.
Oliver Dowden and John Whittingdale, Secretary and Minister of State for DCMS have told LCR that they see no further use for FM and that we should go off air until around Autumn 2022 when we can go on “small scale DAB” (SSDAB) which will allow us to broadcast to DAB+ radios only across an area less than half that of our current FM license, leaving key areas such as Beaumont Leys, Braunstone, Hamilton, Blaby and Oadby unserved.
Ofcom has stated the only way which they will consider LCR to remain on FM is if an act of parliament is passed creating a legal obligation for them to issue LCR with an FM license.
Currently they have no such legal obligation and believe that to issue LCR with a FM license will delay the rollout of SSDAB, which they are currently tasked with by DCMS.
We have put a petition on this site, we ask you please to sign it. We ask you to keep an eye on our Facebook page for updates. We also ask you to contact any MPs and if you feel passionate about this cause to take any other reasonable legal steps you feel could help.
We thank you for your support and on 1st August 2021, our 1449AM service will resume broadcasting LCR1 instead of the LCR2 service that it currently broadcasts with both stations still will be available online.