HISTORY

 

Fact:  We are the only radio station aimed at English speaking people over 35 in Leicester that has any meaningful local content

The concept of a local radio station for Leicester isn't new. Back in the 1960's it was felt that all UK radio stations should be run by the BBC, and BBC Radio Leicester was the UK's first modern local radio station.

In the 1970's this changed somewhat, and "Independent Local Radio" was born. However Leicester was deemed to not be a "viable" area for such a station as they were to be self-funding using expensive equipment and it was felt that Leicester was, frankly, too deprived to sustain such a service due to lack of advertisers and strong competition from BBC Radio Leicester.

In the early 1980's eventually we got a "ILR" station called "Centre Radio". Saddled with crippling debts due to the hugely expensive equipment and purpose-built studios they were forced to use, it struggled along until just a few years after it's launch it entered into receivership.

Radio Trent, Nottingham's ILR station launched in an early ILR batch in the 1970's, had always had it's eye on expansion into Leicester. They therefore were the only viable proposition for taking on the failed Leicester local radio franchise (which had been very embarrassing to the IBA), and so they launched "Leicester Sound", with considerable dispensations to reduce the local radio obligations.

Since Leicester Sound was launched, it has lurched along, progressively removing it's local obligations. Eventually in 2011 it became Capital East Midlands, with no meaningful local content.

Leicester Sound had never entirely satisfied local listeners' demands. Unlicensed stations in Leicester came and went - Radio Nova, Radio Veronica and Radio King were three big names in the 1980's whilst Fresh FM was the big name in the 1990's for Leicester.

 

Towards the end of the 1990's enforcement started to become far more active in Leicester and opportunities began to obtain legitimate licenses. Various stations were proposed, "The Wall" was one major attempt, but attempts continued with various other applications - "Peace Community Radio", "Sunflower FM", "1L", "Radio Festival", "Leicestershire Community Talk Radio".

Various proposals have been made over the years throughout the various licensing rounds. People have come and gone from the project, it has split, rejoined, split and rejoined again. Many different names for the station have been proposed to fit in with whatever criteria are within the licensing round at the time.

Today we are in a position where numerous license applications have been turned down with one basic common theme - "lack of sustainability" in whatever wording is chosen at the time.

We currently broadcast over 60 hours per week of live programming online and on 1449AM, more than most other radio stations in Leicester. We go from strength to strength, building upon our online success but never losing sight of a goal for a "proper" FM license.

We have been operating an online-only service since 2015 which is becoming increasingly popular and currently Leicester Community Radio produces around 60 hours per week of LIVE programming online and on 1449 AM (medium-wave).

Imagine how much more we could achieve with a full-term high quality, FM license - the demand and support certainly are there. However as time moves on, people accept smartphones more and listening habits change with smartphones, Alexas and the suchlike becoming increasingly common, perhaps we don't even need a FM license at all?

©2018 Leicestershire Community Talk Radio

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