Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Volunteers Face Pounds 250k Ofcom Fine; Power to Transmitter Turned Off

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Volunteers Face Pounds 250k Ofcom Fine; Power to Transmitter Turned Off

Article excerpt

COMMUNITY radio volunteers could face a fine of up to quarter of a million pounds for being in breach of their licence after their transmitter was turned off without warning.

Elswick-based NE1 FM were broadcasting using equipment based in the attic of the Gardners Arms, Carr Hill, Gateshead, but the pub was sold and the power turned off without informing the volunteers.

Managers immediately applied to move the transmitter to the Gateshead Council owned Elgin Centre nearby, but Ofcom could take up to six months to approve it. And, while still streaming their shows over the internet, every day that the station is off the airwaves it is in breach of its licence.

Heather Johnson, 33, a member of the organisation's managing committee, said that would rob the hundred or so volunteers, who include elderly and disabled people, of "a vital part of their life".

"Ofcom told us there's a few courses of action they could take," she said. "They could fine us up to pounds 250,000, or halve the length of the new licence we've just been granted or even take our whole licence away. …

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