Penzance Council Funding for Local Radio Station Coast FM

29th September 2020 in Council News, Grants

Penzance Council approved a £972 grant for Coast FM during the lockdown to enable them to increase their on-air presence and start planning for future outdoor events.

Concerned by the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic on vulnerable people living in the parish of Penzance, we redirected our Social Action Fund to support a range of community initiatives and projects to help and support local residents.

During the Coronavirus lockdown, Coast FM provided updates throughout the week, including information about the local support available, mental health assistance, and food deliveries. The station has also focused on helping to lessen the feeling of isolation for many local residents.

Coast FM originated from Penwith Community Radio, which was started back in 2005 by Chris Goninan and the Penwith 50+ Forum as pre-recorded podcasts. The station moved on to broadcast live on the internet on 1 May 2009, with almost 22,000 hits on their website in the following days.

By 2012, Ofcom announced that Penwith Community Radio had successfully secured a full FM licence. The station officially started broadcasting as Penwith Radio on 96.5 and 97.2 FM on 14 August 2014.

Following announcements that Penwith Radio was to re-brand as Coast FM, the first programme of the new-look station officially launched on 5 November 2016. The station’s aim is “to be the most entertaining and locally-relevant offering on the radio dial” said Nick Dent, Technical Director. The rebrand was a chance to “re-focus on being the radio station of choice for radio listeners in West Cornwall.”

This new funding from Penzance Council enabled the station to buy new equipment for their regular volunteer broadcasters who had been unable to host their shows from home during the lockdown.

Many volunteers did not have the appropriate equipment at home and were unable to access the station’s studio in central Penzance due to restrictions imposed on all non-essential travel and social distancing.

This difficulty in accessing equipment meant that many regular shows have not been aired to the station’s loyal listeners since the lockdown began in March.

“Coast FM is a fantastic local news service, which does vital work – keeping the people of Penzance informed of the local issues which matter to them”

Councillor William Elliot

“This grant gave their workforce the support that they needed to carry on doing, and even enhance, the great work that they do every day.

“As a Town Council it is our duty and priority to support these community assets, and we hope that this grant has made a difference to Coast FM and to all their volunteers.”

Coast FM Manager Dave Pascoe welcomed the funding and the support it has given the station: “the grant money has enabled us to strengthen our output from home during the Covid pandemic, providing our presenters the opportunity of maintaining our service to the community giving relevant and important information to our listeners and entertaining them during periods of lockdown and self-isolation.

Volunteer Coast FM presenter, Nik Sanderson, broadcasting from home

Presenter Neill Maguire added “the home studio set up made it possible to go from one or two shows a week to as many as 5-6 a week. This meant that during self-isolation and lockdown I have been able to help keep Coast FM broadcasting to our listeners with entertainment and important Covid -19 information.

“This meant that I also could isolate at home and stay as safe as possible. Without the studio equipment, I would not have been on air and the station would have struggled to get presenters keeping our service going.”

The station is currently in the final stages of adapting some of their equipment into an inclusive and compact outside broadcast kit to develop its coverage of local events in the area (subject to Covid restrictions).

They hope to extend opportunities to broadcast even further with the additional equipment and are always keen to see applications from potential new volunteers (email [email protected] for more information).

Coast FM broadcasts seven days a week and covers community issues, culture and specialist music programmes.

Run by the community, for the community.

You can tune in on 96.5 or 97.2FM, listen online on the Coast FM website, or download the Coast FM App on the App Store or Google Play.

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