Alfred, the Shaftesbury community radio project, has overcome its final hurdle in a quest to get on the air. Dorset Council has approved a planning application for a discreet aerial on Trinity Tower.
Planners considered the installation on the listed building to present ‘less than substantial harm’. Earlier in the month, Shaftesbury Town Council supported the aerial application.
Alfred is a not-for-profit community radio station with no paid staff and no fixed premises. Instead, interviews and features will be recorded on-location, at venues including the Arts Centre, the Abbey, Gold Hill Museum or in contributors’ businesses or homes. The service will be different to all existing radio stations currently available. Alfred will be all local with news, conversation and features devoted to the Shaftesbury area. The station won’t play any pop or commercial music.
Alfred will be broadcast 24-hours-a-day on FM. The Alfred Daily podcast will be one of the regular broadcasts repeated frequently each day. It means that people who don’t have internet access can keep in touch using a car or household radio.
Other programmes to feature on the FM service will include the North Dorset Nature Show – a weekly podcast made by Alfred volunteers, a Shaftesbury history programme and The Carnival Show, presented by twins Matt and Steve Appleby.
Earlier this summer, the National Lottery awarded just over £13,000 to pay for some of Alfred’s professional broadcasting and transmission equipment. The radio service will be receivable on FM across the Blackmore Vale into Wiltshire and Somerset, but all programmes will remain devoted to Shaftsbury and the villages of the SP7 postcode area, including Motcombe, Semley, The Donheads, Berwick, Compton, Fontmell and Melbury.
Alfred hasn’t been informed of its FM frequency yet. It’s hoped that broadcasts will start before Christmas.