Isles FM fighting for survival after £6k ultimatum

Isles FM: Facing closure after license demand. Picture: Contributed

Isles FM: Facing closure after license demand. Picture: Contributed

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AN island radio station is fighting for its life after being told it needs to raise £6,000 by Friday to stay on air.

Highlands and Islands Labour MSPs Rhoda Grant and David Stewart have called on the public in the Western Isles to get behind their community radio station, Isles FM.

A local radio station in Orkney has already closed this year, and Isles FM is just hours away from the same fate.

The community radio station, which is run entirely by volunteers, needs to raise £6,000 before Friday for a licence to stay on air.

The station, which has been serving the community for 20 years, had to let Ofcom know by today if it was able to apply for a new licence.

The deadline has now been extended to Friday and the station still has £2,000 to secure between now and then to safeguard its future.

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After a flush of donations, Isles FM managing director David Morrison said he was ‘hopeful, but not certain’ that the total could be reached.

The station remains open until 10am on Friday morning for pledged money to be delivered, and for new donations to be made.

Mrs Grant, who will be in Stornoway later this week, said: “I know the station’s volunteers have been working hard to raise the money they need for the licence and have been supported well by local businesses, individual listeners and local musicians and I would encourage everyone to dig deep to keep this station going.

“It is such a valuable community asset and would be a huge blow to the islands’ communities if it was unable to continue.”

Mrs Grant’s colleague, David Stewart, said: “Community radio stations are vital not just for pleasure for the masses but they offer company for many elderly people or people living alone and are a huge help to the communities they serve in keeping everyone updated with school closures, road closures, community events and the like.

“I really hope the community rallies behind the dedicated volunteers at Isles FM and saves the day.”

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