Chaine FM has abandoned longstanding plans to launch a full-time community radio station for the Larne area, due to a lack of funding.
The station was due to launch by June of this year, covering Larne town and borough, after being awarded a full-time community radio licence.
However, under current rules, community radio stations cannot raise more than 50 per cent of income from advertising and sponsorship, creating a major shortfall.
The licence has been returned to Ofcom, but station director Gary Andrews told the Times that Chaine is now considering going online, and hopes to continue hosting its successful Christmas radio programming.
He said: “Funding was the big thing we would have been looking to draw down, but budgets have been slashed completely. We are looking at options including going online, which would probably have lower costs and everyone has access to a smartphone now.”
Social media users reacted with disappointment to the news. Ann Marshall commented: “It was a great local radio station, sad indeed.” Rachael Ringland asked: “Will it still run at Christmas? Definitely wasn’t the same this year without it!”
Mr Andrews revealed: “We are still discussing the Christmas show. The big issue is manpower and the amount of time it takes up, and we are staffed by volunteers.
“We hope to find our way forward in a sustainable way. We are community-focused and not-for-profit, so our whole ethos is about giving something back to Larne in a responsible way.”
Gary said the station had received widespread public support since last week’s announcement. He vowed that its mission would remain the same: “We will be focused on community groups and the good news stories of Larne,” he said.
Chaine FM is inviting suggestions on the station’s future at email@example.com or 07740433590.