It has been with great difficulty that we have had to email the presenters and everyone involved with Severn FM to inform them that we are going to have to close the faders for the last time. Being a community project, the financial sustainability was always a challenge, but we have finally got to the stage that we just can not continue to operate. Personally it has been an upsetting decision, but a responsible one – however that doesn’t make it any easier.
I find with community projects that you put your heart and soul into them, in many ways more than a paid job, because you are getting something different out of them, which makes it all the harder when you have to make decisions like this. However, we were keen that if we are closing down, it is done in the right way and hopefully maintain the crucial elements such that if we can resurrect the project in the future then it could be done, rather than simply taking it all to bits. The streaming service will stay on Air, so you will still be able to tune in and listen to content, but the ability to go into the studio and produce a show will now not be available.
Personally I would like to thank everyone involved, from presenters, to people and organisations who have donated time and money and t the listeners, who tune in, not only from the local community, but as far as USA and India.
The last show will be on Saturday morning and will be the Breakfast show, which is appropriate because it was the first show to go out. Hopefully we will have the other presenters down to say goodbye and so do tune in and join in our celebration of what we have achieved over the past 18 months.
The statement below is one that has been officially issued by the Board:
The Board of South Gloucestershire Media CIC, the community interest company that currently operates Severn FM has had to make the really difficult decision to cease operation by the end of the month.
For the past 18 months, Severn FM has provided community programming for the whole of Gloucester and beyond, broadcasting a wide range of shows from the very popular New Country Show to the infamous Severn Bore breakfast Show, but this Saturday, will see the final live show being broadcast from the studios in Pound Lane. The final show will be the same one that started the whole project off, the Breakfast show, before the technical equipment is dismantled and returned to its owners.
Andy Clarke, who originally setup the project in June 2011 and is the MD of South Gloucester Media CIC, along with the other Directors, Barry Kirby, Andrew James and Caro Kingsnorth were understandably saddened to see the end of the project. Andy said “we have all invested a lot of time, energy, emotion and effort into creating a great station, however, we have had to be objective about the current situation and have had to make a very difficult decision but one that never-the-less needed to be made”.
The Station, operating under a not-for-profit Community Interest (CIC) model, business plan was underpinned by the revenue generation from local advertisers along with donation and grants. The current economic climate has made it impossible to continue with this plan and this, coupled with the lack of flexibility within OFCOM to look at sustainable FM delivery, despite the clear local demand, therefore restricting the ways in which people listen to the content, has resulted in the project “running out of money with no plan to generate revenue”.
The Board explored a number of different ways to generate enough funding, but couldn’t find a sustainable way of continuing, and has made the difficult decision to manage the project to conclusion with the necessary controls in place.
The internet radio will still keep broadcasting pre-recorded shows from Andy’s own offices which is how Severn FM was born, in the hope that when the next round of Community Radio Licences comes up in 2014, that the project may be resurrected.
The website will be available as well so you’ll still be able to listen to all of the shows we’ve broadcast to date. The Board would like to thank everyone who has supported the station over the past 18 months from volunteers, presenters and of course our listeners. Everyone who came into contact with the station always came away with a really positive experience.
So do tune in to the final show on Saturday morning 8 to 10am and celebrate what has proved to be over the past 18 months, a fantastic educational, enlightening radio station that has been “Daring to be different”!