Leicester Community Radio launches bid for five-year FM licence

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A community radio station based at the city council’s African Caribbean Centre (ACC) is hoping that a month of broadcasting on the FM airwaves during the city’s Black History Month celebrations will lead to bigger things.

Leicester Community Radio – which is run by more than 20 local volunteers – was awarded an FM licence to broadcast during Black History Month, which ends this Saturday (October 28).

Now the team is hoping they will be able to reach out on FM again in 2018, after submitting a bid for a five-year licence this week.

The volunteers have provided an internet-based radio station from the ACC, for seven days a week for the past two years. The city council’s neighbourhood services division has supported them in applying for the FM licence, which has enabled the station to broadcast a mix of talk, interviews, chat shows and a wide range of music on 87.7 FM from 6am to midnight every day throughout Black History Month.

Station manager Des Belle said: “We’ve had great feedback over the past month from people who are glad to find something alternative being offered. We’re hoping that the experience we’ve obtained over Black History Month will put us in a good position to get a five-year licence, which would be great for the centre and for the city.”

The city council’s neighbourhoods services division paid for the licence, which they hope will help to promote the centre and the activities on offer there.

Asst city mayor for neighbourhood services Cllr Kirk Master said: “The station is already a great asset to the centre, and the FM licence granted for Black History Month has enabled them to give a much higher profile to the centre and to the local community. Obtaining a five-year licence would be a great achievement for them”.

The team should know if their application has been successful early next year.

In the meantime they will be holding a 2nd Birthday Bash for the station at the African Caribbean Centre on Saturday November 4. Tickets cost £10 for the event which will also be raising funds to help families in Barbuda – recently devastated by Hurricane Irma.

Leicester has been marking the 30th anniversary of Black History Month (BHM) with a varied programme of music, poetry, comedy, literature readings, film and theatre. The events recognise the contribution made by Leicester’s African and African Caribbean communities to the cultural heritage of the city.

The final weekend of activities includes a Soul and Motown Night featuring Bizzi Dixon at 2Funky Music Café, Braunstone Gate; and a Canteen: Soul Food night, offering amazing Soul food, DJs and street dancers at LCB Depot, Rutland Street. Both events take place on Friday October 27.

There’s also a final chance to see the Lost Legends Exhibition at Newarke Houses Museum and Gardens. Running until Tuesday October 31, the exhibition recognises people who have contributed to the development of Black history though arts, culture, sports and education.

BHM Leicester is organised by local diversity-led arts charity, Serendipity, on behalf of Leicester City Council, which provides funding.