Ne­vis Ra­dio teams up with smelter on chal­leng­ing mast site move

The Oban Times - - News -

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.

Pho­to­graph: Iain Ferguson The Write Im­age. F31 ne­vis ra­dio move 01 IF

Left to right: Si­mon Ab­ber­ley, Brian King, Rosie Flannigan and John Weller.

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