Chaine FM abandons plans to launch full-time Larne community radio station

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Chaine FM’s owner, Larne Community Media, has abandoned plans to launch a full-time community radio station for the Larne area.

Chaine FM was awarded a full-time Community Radio license in June 2013.

The station, which had operated six Christmas radio stations, was due to launch by June 2015 covering Larne town and outlying areas such as Ballycarry, Carnlough and Glenarm.

However, the station’s directors have now returned their license to media regulator Ofcomm, after being unable to either fund start-up costs for a full-time station or to guarantee the sustainability of the station.

Efforts to obtain capital grant funding to pay for the station’s start-up costs such as the transmitter network have proven unsuccessful.

Additionally, the original business plan for the not-for-profit station involved grant assistance in funding the annual running costs. Due to spending cuts, this assistance is no longer available.

The station’s management said that under current rules, Community Radio stations cannot raise more than 50 per cent of income from advertising and sponsorship, creating a major shortfall which could not be filled.

A spokesman for the station commented: “It is very disappointing to the directors of Larne Community Media, as well as the volunteers at Chaine FM, that our full-time station is not going to be possible, especially after the many years of hard work to get so far.

“However, we have been left in an impossible situation by the funding situation. It would have been irresponsible to proceed in the circumstances.”

“We would like to place on record our thanks to our past Christmas advertisers along with the many community groups and elected representatives who have supported our endeavours to date.”

Larne Community Media is now exploring the future role of Chaine FM in serving the Larne Community and invites suggestions from the public in this regard.

To get In touch with the station, email andrewsgar@gmail.com or call 07740 433590.