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March 21, 2012

Tuning into radio

Our recent spotlight on community owned media and in particular local tv, prompted others to point out that Scotland’s burgeoning network of community radio stations is also attracting some unexpected interest.  Scottish Government has just carried out some long overdue research into the impact and benefits that community radio stations provide. The final report includes a number of proposals to improve the way that this aspect of community media can be supported in the future.


Monday, March 5, 2012

Executive Summary of “We are Community Builders, Part of The Fabric”: A Review of Community Radio

This Scottish Government report provides an overview of community radio in the UK and abroad. It also outlines findings from research into community radio provision in Scotland specifically.

Scotland has an active community radio infrastructure which primarily uses volunteers to deliver hours of specialist programming to local people across the country. This research was commissioned by the Broadcasting and Creative Industries Policy Team to provide an overview of community radio generally but also to focus on the Scottish sector specifically. The research is intended to assist policy development in support of such services in Scotland.

Although there is a surprising breadth of writing about community radio in Britain and abroad, very little was written about community radio in Scotland. Whilst there is evidence pointing towards the overall benefits of community radio, much of this is anecdotal. There is also a lack of systematic data on listener numbers, profiles and outcomes. The literature review and primary research on community radio in Scotland do, however, suggest that the benefits for volunteers are far reaching. 

Scottish station managers and volunteers also highlighted funding, spectrum coverage, training provision, sector profile, management and governance arrangements, the lack of listener data, and volunteer involvement in decision making as possible areas for improvement. Improving collaboration between community radio and the arts was also identified as an important opportunity, particularly in relation to potential funding revenue, training and shared creative endeavour. 

This review highlights a number of issues of relevance to wider discussions about how best to guide and support community radio provision in Scotland.