Isles FM appeals for emergency funds and votes for Trads awards

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Cash-strapped radio station Isles FM is hoping someone will come forward very soon with financial aid so it can stay on the air.

The Stornoway-based station, which is run entirely by volunteers, needs a £5,000 cash injection in the next two weeks for the licence which will allow it to keep broadcasting for the next 12 years.

The cash crisis, which is caused in part by so many other worthwhile causes leading to a drop in fundraising activity as well as the cost of running repairs, comes as the station, which has only volunteer presenters and management, is shortlisted for a prestigious music industry award.

Station managing director David Morrison confirmed they need to fire up the public about their urgent need for assistance as they have only a fortnight to raise the £5,000.

He said: “The licence is for another 12 years and is a major hurdle for us to overcome to ensure we progress and develop things for the future.

“We tried a couple of appeal nights but there is so much on just now with other national appeals for good causes. We backed off last weekend because of Children in Need, which raises a phenomenal amount locally. Then there was also the Shoebox Appeal and this week, there’s Band Aid 30.

“But we are a local and voluntary non-profit group and we really do need urgent assistance. Without a licence, Isles FM, who are viewed as a vital communications medium in the islands, cannot continue broadcasting, and that would be a tragedy for our community. This is, now, the community’s opportunity to get behind the station, and ensure its long term future.

“We have not done any serious appeals since our Isles FM Day nearly 10 years ago and all the monies raised then helped get us to the fantastic building we now have on Seaforth Road. We now need your help to secure our future.”

Next year is Isles FM’s 21st anniversary and the station faces challenges with further serious fundraising throughout 2015 to ensure they can upgrade their broadcasting equipment at the Eitshal mast in Achmore and complete the work at the Seaforth Road studios.

David said: “We are looking at funding grants to help but we had technical problems at Eitshal which have seen us off air a lot over the past six months. That has eaten into our cash reserves. We have never needed public assistance before with previous licence applications, but this time we really do.”

The station’s cash crisis comes as Isles FM has made it onto the shortlist for the MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards being held in Inverness next month, a huge accolade for a small local station.

Votes from the public will help the station compete in the Media Award category.

The public have until Friday 28th November to cast their vote for Isles FM. You can vote via before that date.

“We do need everyone to vote - that’s important - but it’s a shame after getting to the awards shortlist that the station’s future is under a cloud because of the licence fee costs.

“If we can get this immediate funding issue out of the way, it will allow us to focus on the equipment upgrades then onto the final piece of the jigsaw which is improvement of the broadcast signal from the Butt to Rodel and beyond,” said David Morrison.