A COMMUNITY radio station is set to go on making airwaves after being granted a five-year licence extension.
Swindon 105.5, based at the Bentley Centre, in Stratton Road, received the news on Friday that industry regulator OFCOM would allow it to go on broadcasting until March 2018, to the delight of its staff and volunteers.
The station, which has between 120 and 130 volunteers at any one time, has just reached the end of its initial five-year license after it began in 2008 and now manager Shirley Ludford is looking forward to reaching out even further into the community.
She said Swindon 105.5, which had 60,000 online listeners last year, was all set to move its transmitter from the County Ground to the David Murray John building, enabling it to reach even more listeners such as those in the valley of Penhill.
On the license extension, she said: “Everyone is absolutely delighted and it really reflects all the hard work all the staff and volunteers have put into the station.
“I had to submit an application about six to nine months ago and OFCOM spent some time listening to what we do and must have thought we do a good job and have potential for the future.
“Where we are a not-for-profit station they look at our funding and we have been quite creative at fundraising, so they believe be we are sustainable and are delivering our aims, which we set out in our application.
“In fact, we are overdelivering on everything. One of our initiatives, which the Adver covered, was the project with ex-offenders and we have had a good response to that.
“Our latest ones is the £10,000 Heritage Lottery grant for us to make 20 programmes about the historic buildings of Swindon with schools, individuals and community groups.
“It’s great that OFCOM is supporting community radio and that it obviously appreciates what we do.”
The youngest volunteer at the station is aged just 10, while the oldest is 72. Shirley said 105.5 was committed to representing the whole community, which is why they have been pressing for two years to move their transmitter to the tallest tower in town.
They will be holding the station’s annual party to celebrate the extension and raise funds for the transmitter on April 12 featuring local DJs and music – tickets cost £5 and are available from the station on 01793 611555 from today.