Thursday, April 8, 2021

News: New digital radio licence for Rotherham awarded


Shefcast Digital, a consortium of community media organisations has been awarded the licence to establish the new digital audio broadcasting (DAB) service for Sheffield and Rotherham, it was announced by Ofcom, the communications regulator.

Community radio stations Link FM, Redroad FM and Sheffield Live! have joined forces with community benefit society, Sheffield Community Media, to develop the new DAB network. The joint venture, Shefcast Digital, has been set up as a social enterprise and is supported by Sheffield-based media development agency, CM Solutions, and by the national Community Media Association.

At the end of 2020, Ofcom announced that bids had been received from Media Arts and Culture Limited, Shefcast Digital Limited and Sheffield & Rotherham DAB Limited.

Shefcast Digital promises to bring around 25 new local, community and specialist radio services to digital radio audience. Heads of terms are in place for prospective service providers including RB1 Radio and Rother Radio, the online stations that sprang up after Bauer Media merged a number of local radio stations that it had acquired, including Rother FM.

Steve Buckley, chair of the locally-led and community-owned Shefcast Digital said: “We are delighted Ofcom has selected our community-led consortium for this first competitively awarded Small-Scale DAB licence. Shefcast Digital promises to bring more than 20 new digital radio services to listeners in Sheffield and Rotherham, increasing choice and catering for a diversity of interests.”

Trevor Grossett of Rotherham’s Redroad FM said: “We are delighted with this news of the licence being awarded to our consortium and are looking forward to joining the the new DAB platform.”

Bill Best of the national Community Media Association said: “The CMA welcomes the award of the Sheffield and Rotherham DAB licence to Shefcast Digital. Local and community ownership of this new tier of DAB services is the best guarantee for local content and social value.”

With a band of volunteers, Redroad is a not-for-profit company limited by guarantee which provides a youth radio station for south Rotherham. Based at Kiveton Park, it began its full time radio service in 2010.

Shefcast Digital website

Images: Shefcast Digital


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