Nevis Radio teams up with smelter on challenging mast site move
NEVIS Radio has completed the monumental challenge of moving one of its four transmission sites.
In a bid to become more sustainable, the Lochaber radio station entered into a joint project with GFG Alliance, the new owners of the aluminium smelter in Fort William and associated hydro power stations, to relocate the transmission site.
The main transmission site responsible for the signal in Fort William and the surrounding area was located at Treslaig, across Loch Linnhe from the town.
But with expensive rent and difficult access to the site for maintenance, there was limited opportunities to expand the signal. So Nevis Radio approached what is now GFG Alliance about relocating from the Treslaig site to the surge chamber above the waterpipes on their property.
The move has been several years in planning, as it required a huge amount of planning and co- operation from engineers, volunteers and staff at both sites to make sure disruptions in the signal were kept to a minimum whilst one mast was turned off and the new one started transmitting.
Simon Abberley, sustainability and development manager at Nevis Radio said: ‘ We hope this is a start of a great relationship between Nevis Radio and Liberty. The move has made the signal in Kinlochleven and Glencoe stronger and, for the first time, we are reaching some areas in Locheilside area which is great news. A big thanks for everyone’s patience.’
John Weller, chairman at Nevis Radio, said a question mark was hanging over the station’s future sustainability without the move.
‘Our biggest expenditure after staff wages are mast site rental fees.
‘It is a complicated and expensive task to move sites as it has to be approved by broadcasting regulator Ofcom which has to agree to every step of the transition including who we use as an engineer, what riggers we use and what equipment is installed. Ofcom eventually visit and carry out site tests before giving the green light for us to broadcast from that location.’
Brian King, managing director of Lochaber operations for Liberty British Aluminium and its sister GFG company SIMEC Lochaber Power, said: ‘ We recognise the value of Nevis Radio to the local community and are pleased to help sustain the service and extend it to new listeners. This is a long-term partnership with the station which mirrors our long-term commitment to the local community.’
Since the transmitter move, there are on-going engineering works to address the temporary poor service being experienced in some parts of the broadcasting area due to geographical landscape.
These works are costly for an organisation such as Nevis Radio so if you would like to provide any support for this project, contact Simon Abberley on 01397 70000.
Left to right: Simon Abberley, Brian King, Rosie Flannigan and John Weller.