St Neots preparing to bid for its own radio station


ST NEOTS is to bid once again to have its own full time radio station.

Tony Gillham, of Black Cat Radio, a long-time campaigner for a station to serve St Neots and surrounding villages, has teamed up with the new town council to re-launch the town’s bid for a full-time licence.

It was two years to the day yesterday (Tuesday) that Huntingdon Community Radio was chosen over St Neots by the communications regulator Ofcom to receive a community broadcasters’ licence in Huntingdonshire.

However, Ofcom has announced a third wave of licences will be issued across the country with applications for the Eastern of England likely to open in the second half of 2013.

Mr Gillham, who is also a presenter on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire, is hopeful that Black Cat Radio will be successfuil this time and gain a licence that would allow broadcasts to a 5km radius of the town.

“We were obviously disappointed after being overlooked last time – down but not out,” Mr Gillham told The Hunts Post. “We re-grouped, and we’re now waiting for Ofcom to invite us to apply again.

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“We want to bring this radio station to the area and have so many people who are keen to get involved.”

Black Cat Radio, established in 2007, is already a part-time broadcaster on the internet.

Mr Gillham said that as a not-for-profit radio station, Black Cat would need �98,000 a year to operate, half of which would come from advertising and the remainder from grants and donations.

Both Mr Gillham and Councillor Barry Chapman, who has championed the idea since 2009, are keen to start the ball rolling so that when Ofcom opens applications again, Black Cat is ready to go.

Cllr Chapman said: “A radio station for St Neots is a superb idea. It’s another step towards revitalising the town and promoting local businesses.

“We look forward to working with Tony, finding a permanent home for Black Cat Radio in St Neots and helping to facilitate the new station in any way we can.”

Mr Gillham added: “St Neots has been left out for too long because it’s on the edge of a lot of service areas. Our message to the people of the town is that Black Cat Radio is alive and well.

“We have more test broadcasts planned for later this year and look forward to providing a radio station that the town deserves.”