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Struggling local radio station celebrates after ‘lifeline’ £5,000 grant

PUBLISHED: 08:43 16 July 2020 | UPDATED: 09:20 16 July 2020

Diss-based Park Radio has received a £5,000 grant after struggling during coronavirus lockdown. Picture: South Norfolk Council

Diss-based Park Radio has received a £5,000 grant after struggling during coronavirus lockdown. Picture: South Norfolk Council

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A local radio station is celebrating after a crucial cash injection helped prolong its survival.

Diss-based Park Radio went full-time in 2017. Picture: Diss Matters/Diss Town CouncilDiss-based Park Radio went full-time in 2017. Picture: Diss Matters/Diss Town Council

Park Radio, based in Diss, had been left fighting for its future when the dawn of the coronavirus crisis dried up the station’s revenue stream.

The station relies almost completely on advertising to pay its bills and license fees, but the nationwide lockdown left companies with little in the way of funds or urgency to pay for commercials.

An application was made to Ofcom for a slice of a ringfenced community radio fund worth £400,000, but Park Radio was unsuccessful in its bid for £10,000.

The broadcaster has, however, been approved for £5,000 from the Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund, designed to support businesses that are not eligible for other government grants.

Diss-based Park Radio has received a £5,000 grant after struggling during coronavirus lockdown. Picture: Diss Matters/Diss Town CouncilDiss-based Park Radio has received a £5,000 grant after struggling during coronavirus lockdown. Picture: Diss Matters/Diss Town Council

Station manager Chris Moyse said the funding has come as a welcome boost to Park Radio’s attempts to stay afloat.

“When the pandemic hit, our revenue fell through the floor because no-one was open and businesses had nothing to sell,” said Mr Moyse.

“We applied to Ofcom for a grant but any sensible radio station would have done the same, meaning we were up against 280 community stations from across the country.

“Running costs when we are fully functioning are about £2,000 per month, so this money gives us a real lifeline.”

Since lockdown began in March, Park Radio’s team of more than 40 volunteers have been working and broadcasting from home, with live shows all day and recorded programmes in the evenings and on weekends.

The gradual easing of restrictions has seen advertising revenue pick up in recent weeks, but the station is still seeking financial backing.

Applications for a second wave of government funding open on July 21, and Mr Moyse says south Norfolk and mid Suffolk’s radio lynchpin will again stake its claim.

He added: “There has been growing pressure on the government and they have now said ‘we understand you are key workers and you are lifting the spirits of communities’.

“A lot of listeners realised there was a risk we might not be able to continue and we were inundated with supportive messages.

“The truth is we don’t know what the future holds. We’re not being greedy – we just want to carry on providing a service.”


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