Community radio

26 September 2019

Community radio stations provide a new voice for hundreds of local communities across the UK. Fuelled by the hard work and enthusiasm of volunteers, they reflect a diverse mix of cultures and interests and provide a rich mix of mostly locally-produced content.

Community radio stations typically cover a small geographical area with a coverage radius of up to 5km, and are run on a not-for-profit basis. They can cater for whole communities or for different areas of interest - such as a particular ethnic group, age group or interest group. For example, you can listen to stations which cater for urban or experimental music, while others are aimed at younger people, religious communities or the Armed Forces and their families. They can also bring community benefits such as training and community news and discussion.

Guidance on volunteer input (PDF, 111.7 KB)

Many more people across the UK are now able to tune in and enjoy community radio, following work by Ofcom to extend coverage and improve reception.

Community radio stations are fuelled by the work and enthusiasm of volunteers. They reflect a wide range of cultures and interests, and provide a mix of locally-produced content including news, information and discussion.

During 2019, Ofcom agreed to improve the quality of the coverage of 63 community radio stations, and extend the coverage of 33, bringing the benefits of community radio to a wider audience than ever.

We are now processing applications for new community radio licences and expect to make awards to successful stations by the end of March 2020.

This will be the last round of community radio licensing on FM or AM for the foreseeable future, as we will shortly begin licensing new local digital radio stations that will use cutting-edge ‘small-scale DAB’ technology, pioneered by an Ofcom engineer. We expect to invite applications in 2020.

More information on our small-scale DAB consultation and our work to support community radio is available.

Community Radio Statement: update on our stated priorities (PDF, 197.3 KB)