Radio boo-boo: station was on waves too long

A COMMUNITY radio station in Sheffield kept on broadcasting for eight months after losing its licence when its parent company was dissolved.

Burngreave Community Radio Limited was dissolved by Companies House for failing to submit accounts in January.

But the volunteers who run the station did not realise the company had ceased to exist and continued broadcasting on the station’s FM frequency until told to stop by industry regulator Ofcom.

A spokesman for Ofcom said: “After finding out the company had been dissolved, we emailed the station on September 22 asking them to cease broadcasting.

“Once a licence-holding company is officially dissolved, the licence automatically ceases to exist.

“This is because there is no legal entity remaining to hold the licence.

“The station did not inform us that the licence-holding company had been dissolved, but when it was drawn to our attention we asked the station to cease transmissions on 103.1 MHz immediately.”

Burngreave Community Radio was set up in 2008 with funding from businesses in the area.

It is based at Sorby House, Spital Hill.

Matloub Hussain Ali Khan, one of the DJs and volunteers running the station, said: “An error was made. We were supposed to submit our returns to Companies House in January but found them really complicated to deal with and because we are all volunteers rather than accountants or lawyers we did not know what paperwork they needed.

“We did not receive any further letters so carried on broadcasting, but we stopped broadcasting on FM once contacted by Ofcom, although we are still broadcasting online through our website.”

Mr Khan said the station, which has several thousand listeners in Sheffield plus more abroad, had been unhappy with its FM frequency, as it is close to Hallam FM’s Rotherham frequency and listeners often had difficulty tuning in.

In a statement the station added: “Burngreave Community Radio were unaware the decision made to wind up their company and restructure as a community organisation would affect their licence.

“Members were genuinely shocked when informed of this situation by Ofcom.

“To gain a new licence, the station has to reapply to Ofcom. Burngreave Community Radio and its members have agreed to apply for another licence - this will be in a different name yet to be discussed and agreed by members and anyone interested in getting involved at different levels of the new company.

“Burngreave Community Radio are positively using this transitional period to re-locate the transmitter to improve the quality of the previous reception and to ensure the local areas that could not pick up the radio station before can do so in future.

“Also, there are plans to re-brand, including a new logo and a more interactive media website with a ‘listen again’ feature.

“Burngreave Community Radio management would like to apologise to everyone but especially those people that listened on 103.1 FM in their cars and at home on their stereos, for any inconvenience caused.

“The station is continuing as usual to present its timetable of varied programmes, delivered by a committed and dedicated team of DJs, live on the links that can be found on the website.”