Perthshire Advertiser

Appeal to keep radio station on the air

- MELANIE BONN

Perthshire-based radio station Heartland FM has launched a crowdfundi­ng campaign to raise £25,000 in a move to try and save the community broadcaste­r.

Pitlochry’s hospitalit­y industry, the backbone of Heartland’s advertisin­g revenue, has suffered badly from COVID-19 and the knock-on has endangered the sustainabi­lity of the radio station.

The appeal - www.crowdfunde­r.co.uk/ heartland - is open until Thursday, January 14 and is an emergency measure to protect the future of the UK’s oldest community owned station.

Beginning in 1992, Heartland FM has grown from a hobbyist ‘evening only’ output to a profession­al 24/7 multimedia operation.

Hundreds of local volunteers have helped contribute over the years.

Heartland FM is a charity and listeners are often surprised to learn the station does not receive license or subscripti­on fees, or any regular public funding.

Ordinarily, the station manages to cover much of its annual operationa­l costs through advertisin­g by local businesses and organisati­ons.

But with hospitalit­y having had a particular­ly difficult time during the pandemic and other businesses very cautious about what the future might hold, these businesses have understand­ably been reluctant to commit to any sort of promotion.

Station manager Alistair Smith said: “Ultimately we want to be here for the businesses when our economy begins to recover and here for the community too who rely on us for a variety of different reasons.”

The crowdfundi­ng target is £25,000. It will be used to help retain the team who have all taken a significan­t cut in fees and to ensure their existing broadcasti­ng kit is maintained.

The station’s monthly outgoings include mast rental, software license and utilities.

Chairman Graham Huggins has been leading the team at Heartland for five years. He said: “We are a comprehens­ive operation with a fantastic team.

“We find ourselves trying to operate in an area that contains many of the sectors that have been hardest hit which has destroyed the income streams we used to have.

“We remain optimistic that we can see ourselves through this terrible time with the generous help from fans of the station and the community we serve.”

Heartland FM broadcasts throughout Highland Perthshire on 97.5 FM and online at www.heartland.scot

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 ??  ?? Flashback Happier times at the 2019 Christmas party for Heartland FM staff and volunteers
Flashback Happier times at the 2019 Christmas party for Heartland FM staff and volunteers

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